Mauritius: Biharis, Creole Cuisine & Tropical Paradise

During my travels, I have met a fair share of people from various ethnic backgrounds. Now if you look for polar opposites among human beings; you can’t get better than a combo of French and Biharis (people from the state of Bihar in northern India). So, when I went to Mauritius I couldn’t believe my eyes. There they were; Biharis and

So, when I went to Mauritius I couldn’t believe my eyes. There they were; Biharis and French talking to each other in casual French and giggling at each other’s jokes. I must have stared at such scenes at least thrice a day, pinching myself harder everyday. Needless to say, I had a sore left wrist and right thumb! Need to work on my pinching habits I guess!

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Biharis and French in France, India & Mauritius

The French built its first harbour at Port Louis, named after the ruling king Louis XV and it became the capital of Mauritius. Trade on the island thrived; Mauritius could supply enough sugar and rum to the surrounding islands and visiting vessels. From this strategic position in the Indian Ocean, the French attacked English vessels on their way to and from India. Slowly they got in British came with Indians in tow to work in the sugarcane fields.

Anyway, let’s talk about the paradise bit. Yes, the beaches are as amazing as they seem on the photos. The Creole cuisine is pretty good for most palates. Only tiny downside is the unpredictable weather. Summer (November to May) is the best time, but it’s still a ‘go any-time of the year’ destination for the most part.

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The waters are consistently Turquoise almost everywhere. The more east you travel, the shallower reefs get, the better the corals are and better the diving is. But anywhere works fine, if you just want to chill on a beach with a beer or a Pinacolada.

  1. Ile aux Cerfs Island: It’s actually a private island and now thrives on touristic paraphernalia. But the waters are crystal and have various activities for everyone.harris-wilson-gabriel-island (4)
  2. The “Black River Gorges” National park: Its is located in the hilly south-western part of Mauritius. The park extends over an area of 6,754 hectares. With the help of the guides, you will discover Mauritius’ natural heritage in this unique area which is also the location of one of the rarest forests in the world. It harbors about 311 species of native and endemic flowering plants and 9 species of birds, which are found only in Mauritius.black-river-gorges-national
  3. Flic-en-Flac: This once sleepy town is now caught up in the tourist boom. But it’s still pretty rustic and worth a day’s visit surely. You wanna buy a souvenir? this is the place.Picture7
  4. Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth: The seven coloured earth is a natural phenomenon and a tourist attraction. The colours evolved through conversion of basaltic lava to clay minerals. It is a relatively small area of sand dunes comprising sand of seven distinct colours (red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow). You can see a few giant tortoises at the adjacent conservatory as well.DSC00143DSC00148
  5. Ganga Talao: It is a crater amidst mountains in an isolated region.  It is linked to the mighty Ganges river in India. According to Hindu mythology, the God Shiva and his wife Parvati were flying around the earth. God Shiva was balancing the sacred river on his head to prevent the earth from floodings. Shiva saw a beautiful island, Mauritius and decided to land, but accidentally spilled a few drops into the crater, creating a small lake. And this is how the sacred lake, Ganga Talao, emerged and became home to the biggest annual pilgrimage of Hindus outside of India.DSC00091

Now the heading to that section doesn’t really make sense as grading one beach over another is quite meaningless. All the beaches are fantastic.

What I Read: content

‘The Prospector’ and English translation of French novel tells the story of young Alexis L’Etang. He enjoys an idyllic existence with his parents and beloved sister: sampling the pleasures of privilege, exploring the constellations and tropical flora, and dreaming of treasure buried long ago by the legendary Unknown Corsair. But with his father’s death, Alexis must leave his childhood paradise and enter the harsh world of privation and shame. Years later, Alexis has become obsessed with the idea of finding a treasure and, through it, the lost magic and opulence of his youth. (Amazon)

What I Saw: MV5BYmJiODhmYzItYmQzMi00NjJmLTg1MzktMGI4YTNlOGMwMzY5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg3ODE1MjE@._V1_UY268_CR31,0,182,268_AL__QL50Lonbraz Kann’ A semi-French-English-Creole movie about workers in sugarcane fields in Mauritius. It portrays their lives and how they change when a mill shuts down. (IMDB)

The biggest thing that stood out for me in this tropical paradise is that Mauritius has such a diverse population. There is no “official religion” in Mauritius. Hindus, Tamils, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and others from all over the globe live in harmony. Pretty rare these days!

Another typical facet of Mauritian life is the ‘Sundowner’. It is the name given to a drink, often a local cocktail, taken at sunset? This is an exquisite opportunity to prolong your day on the beach and finish up a day spent lazing on the white sands of Mauritius’ immaculate beaches. Very fitting for such a paradise!

Oh and their music.  Mauritian Séga is a style of music and also a dance form that originates from African people brought to Mauritius. Various emotions impregnate the Creole songs. Wearing long, colorful dresses, women dance barefoot swinging their hips and the rest of their bodies to the rhythm of the music. Take a look here for a sample.

Creole Cuisine: A mixed of African, Indian and European cuisines influenced and embellished the Creole cuisine is a wonderful and succulent delicacy. Do try the Rougail. It is essentially a tomato-based dish, with incredibly rich flavors thanks to the combination of spices used. Since this recipe is passed down from generation to generation, there are quite a few variations of spice combinations: onions, garlic, ginger, thyme, chilies, cilantro/coriander, spring onions, curry leaves, etc. The point is, feel free to adapt your rougaille recipe and really make it your own. Every restaurant serves it differently. Only constant is the yumminess!

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45 thoughts on “Mauritius: Biharis, Creole Cuisine & Tropical Paradise

  1. I had to laugh about your comic strip and the interesting situations colonialism still get us in. I always read about the Mauritian resorts and beaches only, so this is a refreshing post about so many other things I didn’t know about. Would love to check out the Black River Gorge National Park, and can’t believe Ganga Talao’s connection with India.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have some major destination envy right now. The beaches always look perfect but I wasn’t aware of the seven colored earth and am ALWAYS a fan of turtles!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, Mauritus sounds so interesting – I had no idea there was such diversity in the people and religions there. The beaches do look really amazing and I love the names of the town – Flic-en-Flac is just so much fun to say!

    I could definitely go for some Rougail and a Sundowner while watching the sunset on one of these perfect beaches!

    It’s safe to say that Mauritus is now on my bucket list!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hahahahaha. I had to show this post to my French friend so I would get the comic strip! Well done on that!

    I must admit, I did not know Mauritius before until I knew my former trainer who’s actually from there. Since then, I’ve been wanting to go there. What a small but vibrant island.

    And the Creole Cuisine sounds like something that would really make me drool. What about the climate there? When’s the best time to visit?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mauritius looks like a place that has something for everyone. I love that all the beaches have the turquoise colored waters which are a delight to look at. The national park is a great alternative for hikers and travelers who like to do some activities when they are on vacation. I would love to try the Creole cuisine, I don’t think I have ever had anything similar to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve been scrolling through your site just looking at the pictures for a while now! You give me such wanderlust. I’d love to visit some of these wonderful places. Mauritius looks gorgeous.

    Ami xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh how heavenly! We went to Mauritius when I was pregnant with my eldest, I was so excited to see your post as I hoped it would bring back memories which it did! We visited the paradise island and went snorkelling in the crystal waters, and went to Chamarel. There is an excellent Rummery near there too where we had lunch and went Rum tasting – which I had to pass on of course but I was told it tasted good!

    Liked by 2 people

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