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Chamarel - Seven coloured earth in the south west region of the island

The presence of the seven coloured earth at Chamarel is a wonder and a mystery of mother nature. The island is of  volcanic origin and some presence of minerals have been noted. The  seven coloured earth are found in layers of different colours in  forms of sand  dunes of different colours like. Red , Brown ,yellow , orange, violet, dark brown, ochre, tinge of red mixed with other colours, pink, grey and other colours that change upon the reflection of light.. In this region, coffee beans, bananas, palm and pine apples are grown..

 Chamarel and Alexandra Falls

On the way to Chamarel seven coloured earth- on passing the sugarcane fields, crops and other plantation and before reaching there, one can see the Chamarel  as well as the Alexandra Falls. Chamarel- seven coloured earth  and its falls


The Bougainvilla  is a plant with bracts which creeps and have multi coloured flowers.They grow throughout the year. The colours are mainly  red, white, violet, orange and pink

Flower Alpinia red Allamanda Tecoma Aloe

Alpinia purpurata red ginger   Agave americana Agave americana Alpinia red - Photo La Vanille Crocodile Park  The  leaves of the aloe plant is used to make strings and jute bags.

Allamanda Tecoma Cathartica Tecoma stans golden trumpet is  a creeping breed with yellow flowers in the form of trumpet which grows all the year round.In Mauritius this plant is found on the road sides and the flowers are used as offerings during ceremonies and prayers..

Callistemon lanceolatus Plant  Flower Canna Generalis


L'Aventure du Sucre Sugar Adventure Beau Plan Pamplemousses North of Mauritius
L'Aventure du Sucre  in Mauritius is an extinct sugar mill, then known as Beau Plan sugar factory and now converted into a museum showing the different stages of the sugar industry till to date. It is situated in the north of the island at Beau Plan - 300m from the botanical garden of Pamplemouses,which has its origin in 1736, by the then French governor Mahé de la Bourdonnais  who started its residence and named it" The domaine de Mon Plaisir". It was then further developed by Pierre Poivre, in 1767 a botanist who was  helped by an indian indentured labourer, Rama. In 1775 the huge water lilies, its water ways and canals joining the river Céré was created by Nicolas Céré.

The aventure du sucre is an ideal spot to discover the history of the sugar industry and the by products derived from the sugarcane like sugarcane juice, un refined sugar, white sugar, sugary products, lolly pops, sweets, fruit paste, rum and alcohol based products. The end products from the sugar extraction is used as fertiliser in the sugarcane fields,whilst bagasse is burnt in combustion chambers and boilers to make electricity which is finally fed to the main electricity grid. Molasses are used in the distillation process to make local rum.

Mon Loisir Sugar Estate Usine Sucrière de Mon Loisir Rivière du Rempart
This factory reminds me of my childhood when during the school holidays, I went  with a village elderly man,bail gari Heetun, to deliver the sugarcane to the Mon Loisir sugar  factory after it was harvested and loaded in an ox cart.We had loaded the sugarcane in the cart manually and then took the direction to Mon Loisir sugar factory.I was my own master then, in  control of the ox along with the load of sugarcane in the cart from my residence Gokoola to Mon Loisir-over a distance of 4-5 km.The adventure and experience was undeniably great  with lots of fun .My joys knew no bound and but alas !It was short lived,only to be reprimanded and punished in the evening by my father who had come to know of my act as a cart driver from a lorry driver who whispered in the ears of my father when they met each other in the evening over a drink,made from sugarcane, in the local shop of my hilarious adventure of a 16-17 year old.
Sugar cane Mauritius
Sugarcane flowering announcing the arrival of the  harvest season. The Mauritian economy is based on agriculture, textile industries, tourism, off-shore banking, cyber island and the free port. Sugar cane was the main revenue provider of Mauritius. Sugar was exported mainly to Europe.Un fortunately with the arrival of beetroot industry, the production  and exportation of sugar has greatly decreased despite the fact that there is no comparison between the taste of these two types of sugar.

With the rise in the price of crude oil in the world market, our sincere wish is that Mauritius should start to produce ethanol derived from the by product of the sugar industry like in Brazil and be self sufficient. This would allow the Mauritian  Folks to raise their standard of living and be less dependent on  the outside world for replenishing in fuel .

On the tea plantation road towards -Bois Chéri et Corson
Tea cultivation-(Chai- garma garma chai- tea- hot hot tea. Tea is well known for its different virtues and remains the most ancient drinks and widely consumed in the world after water. It is grown in the cool and humid high lands and plateaus of Curepipe, Nouvelle France, Grand Bassin and Bois Cheri. The picking up of tea leaves is done manually  and painstakingly by choosing only the new buds - two leaves and one  bud are plucked. To facilitate the picking of tea leaves the plants are kept at a height of around one metre. The two well known brands are  Corson and Bois Chéri. Do not miss a guided tour of Bois Chéri tea for  an illustration of the processes involved, tasting  and to discover the history of tea in Mauritius.

Today you can find your preferred tea as the companies have adapted themselves by proposing different varieties of tea like natural tea ,vanilla flavoured , Black label, Golden Pekoe, menthol, coco, Bergamot, Cardamoms, Chocolate Earl Grey, honey,caramel and  exotic fruit. The  CORSON tea factory proposes a  range of tea with fruit - taste of pine apple, citrus, litchis, kiwi , banana , granadilla , mangoes etc. The other two  main resources of Mauritius are  Tourism  and Tea.Tea of Mauritius derives its origin from Sri Lanka-Ceylon and India.

Culture de Tabac
Seeds are sown in beds. The cultivation of tobacco is the main activity of a few tobacco growers in Mauritius.If you are passing by Gokoola,  Piton, stop by to say hello to my brother Bouboul JHEELAN,a tobacco grower from father to son. He shall be glad to  shed some light and share his experience with you in this field over a cup of tea.

The seedlings are sown in tobacco beds made by digging and lifting up the ground. It is watered daily.Then the young plants are uprooted and transplanted by putting them inside round balls made of cow or lamb dung. Then after they are planted in the soil  and watered often. The harvest starts after two months when the leaves are matured by observing a change in texture and colour. Two to four yellow leaves from the bottom are  plucked  by hands.

The tobacco stem and its leaves are very  fragile and the quality of the harvest depends mainly on the atmospheric conditions prevailing and  worms which seem to like the leaves and eat up most of it if they are not sprayed with insecticides now and again. It is harvested bi annually but the leaves with good quality are obtained in the second half of the year from November to January as the weather is hotter. Then after the leaves are tied in  sticks (baguettes), taken to a barn and hanged onto horizontal poles  known as stalls, to be flue cured by a heater  propelled with diesel or by burning wood as in the olden days. This step takes at least a week before the tobacco is fully dried, by undergoing several processes whereby the leaves are allowed to turn yellow at the first instance by regulating the temperature, then de humidifying to draw out the excess moisture from the leaves and then putting the colour known as fixage by supplying air from vents and increasing the temperature gradually to a set limit, before finally drying up the leaves.

After the leaves are flue cured, they are untied from the sticks and sorted out into different grades by a grader based on the colour of the leaf. Those that have retained the yellow colour have a higher market value.They are then  finally weighed and sent to the tobacco board. They in return  finally send them to the cigarette manufacturing factories to turn out into different brands  of cigarettes.

Pumpkin Squash Marrows of Mauritius
Like the  chou chou, the pumpkin or patty pan is also a creeping plant and the leaves along with the tender stems are used for daily kitchen use. It can be turned into nice delicacies by cooking them with or without spice, oil or used to make "  bouillon or to garnish the plates".
Le Piment Carri - Piment Cari Carry


This is a type of chilies known as piment carri  and are slightly bigger than the normal chilies and less pungent too. In Mauritius, the inhabitants sliced them into two and fry them with some salt in oil. It can be eaten with any meal, rice or bread and it gives an added taste to the tongue .Drenched in chickpea flour, it turns out great and can be eaten just like that and are sold by hawkers everywhere by the roadside in any corners of the island.
Squash and patty pan  Shallots or spring onions and garlic chives
Spring onions or shallots and garlic chives are widely used in the preparation of Chinese dishes or fried noodles. It can be found equally in tomato rougaille or chutney.
Pickle  Zasar Jasar Achard Anchaar Zansard of vegetables -
Pickle of cabbage, carrots and French beans

cabbage, green beans and carrots are grated finely and put in boiling water with some salt added inside just for few minutes and then sun dried to get rid of the moisture. They are then mixed with a paste, previously made of  fresh garlic, green chilies, onions, oil, turmeric and mustard seeds. It can be eaten just like that with plain bread or as an extra  with any meals.

 Pickle Anchaar  Zasar Jasar Achard of vegetables
The Chutney de tomatoes, apple or hog plums, coconut or finely crushed  mango  with spices. Green bananas  deep fried in oil with some salt and added spices of garlic, red chilies, mustard  and turmeric turn pout to be a mouth watering delights. It is better than the fried ones sold in the shops. Chilly bites and samoosas in the form of triangle have vegetable or minced  meat stuffed inside..


Holi  or Holika - The festival of colours
Back to1835,after the abolition of slavery by the British in the commonwealth states ,the then French barons, who owned the sugar estates were left with no other option than to turn to  British Indian Empire, for  Indian migrant workers to toil their sugar cane fields with false and egoistic promises  made to them that they are going to a land booming with  gold mines and that on turning stones from the fields you` l l find  gold -I quote" Zameen ke pathar oulatne se, sona nikal ta hai" what a bull shit to believe and these ignorant and illiterate people, albeit taken for a ride and  though fed up of living in dire poverty, clinged with  hopes to improve their lot and  living conditions of their folks, out of whom some were my ancestors .They got carried with the dream of becoming rich overnight and thus came in search for gold just to get rid of the poverty in which they were living. Then after followed the migration and the coolies as they were known, came along with their cultures out of which this is one of the most cherished and long for festival.Holi is an ancient festival of India and was originally known as 'Holika'.  Holi was celebrated with more pomp in the Eastern part of India,from where most of the migration occurred.
It is said that Holi existed several centuries before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is believed to have changed over the years. Earlier it was a special rite performed by married women for the happiness and well-being of their families and the full moon was worshiped.
So when, its time for Holi, please don't hold yourself back. Enjoy  the festival  by participating with full enthusiasm and gaiety  in the month of  March .

 But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit in which it is played ,whether in families, friends, neighbours as it sees no caste ,creed or religion. I quote again " Rang barse bheege chunar wali rang barse-oh rang barse bheege chunar wali rang barse", Oh thy colour - Soak the blouse and veil of thee ladies" and behold the sight!
Cavadee Le Thaï Poosam Cavedee
This festival is celebrated in the month of Thai- which is the month of January or February  and when there is the day of the star Poosam during the full moon ,whence the name thaï poosam cavadee.. The thai poosam cavadee  is celebrated by people of Tamil origin in the honour of their lord Murugga or Mourouga or  Mourougan who had destroyed the demon  Asuran Tharakasuran with the blessings of his parents the almighty Shiva  and Parvati.It is celebrated by piercing the body with needles and the tongue and  cheeks by pins.The backs of many devotees are spiked with hooks, often with lemon attached and milk is put in a small  bowl  known as a somboo. The devotees, in a trance and in penitence, walk while carrying the cavadee, ( an arc of wood, metal or plastic symbolizing the sacred mountains, and covered with flowers and at the base at each end there is attached the somboo). The arc is laid down in the temple at the feet of the statue of a divinity. The Thaipoosam cavadee is a ceremony about the purification from evil. It originates from South India and  is deep-rooted in the tradition of the Tamilians.

It is a big sacrifice as the purification process of the soul starts and span over a period of ten days by fasting. A strict vegetarian diet should be maintained and  sexual pleasures should be refrain from. Cleanliness is observed through out the whole period. The houses are kept clean or else there is a guilt feeling of being sanctioned by the god.On the day of the festival, they get up early and the devotees go to the nearby river to take a dip and carry their cavadee on their shoulders. They are in a trance and no longer feel the pain from the needles, hooks and pins inserted in the body: the cheeks, tongue, back and the feet. They find an extra innermost strength to pull additional weights  by hands and back.

The walk on fire or  walk on steps of sharp knives is very spectacular.


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Last modified: 08/15/08