Sometimes known as Ganga Talao, the crater lake of Grand Bassin is the island’s largest natural lake. Surrounded by lush greenery, it was a favourite hunting ground in colonial times, and is now the most sacred site on the island for Mauritian Hindus. An impressive 10m-high statue of Shiva guards the entrance to candy coloured temples, while surrounding the lake are small concrete altars that are lit with burning incense and draped with offerings of flowers, fruit and coconut at weekends and religious celebrations. A multilane highway has now been built to accommodate the throngs of traditionally dressed worshippers who gather here for festivals, and a second gaudily impressive statue is due to be unveiled in 2015. The largest festival, Maha Shivaratree, is the most important Hindu festival outside India. Try to time your visit during a festival if you can, or take the peaceful one-hour stroll around the lake and climb the steps to the Hanumanji temple for a great view.

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