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Friday, 04 January 2013 15:00

Poste de Flacq – Ghunowa’s Temple - A gem in the East

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Poste de Flacq is a fairly large village in the district of Flacq in the east of Mauritius. It has a mixed population of around 12,000 inhabitants.
They live in peace and perfect harmony, a factor that helps convey a favourable message to tourists and outsiders for the latter pay much heed to it. The tourists appreciate the smile and the bonhomie displayed by the villagers and they like visiting the place.

It is growing in importance and is developing at a rapid pace so as to keep pace touch with the other villages in the vicinity. Most of the inhabitants are engaged in fishing, sugar plantation vegetables and flowers cultivation. Many have moved up the social ladder through education and have found good jobs both in the public and private sectors.

Poste de Flacq has a piece of history. It was the region being exploited by the Dutch who called the village ‘HararemVoor de sleep’ which means sleep harbour. The north of it was known as Walwis Hoeck that is translated as Whale Point. It enjoyed much importance during Dutch occupation.

There was a canal close to the limekiln and was used as harbour .This facilitated the conveyance of ebony trees from the forest to the harbour. The French for their part had set up a military post which has conferred upon it its present name. There was formerly a military cemetery that is now overgrown with bushes. There were two limekilns .One belonged to the Mamaron family. The village could also boast of a sugar factory and a slave prison. The old military office has now been converted into a post office and a forestry office. There was also a railway station that gave a lively atmosphere to the area.

People living in the neighbouring villages called at Poste de Flacq to catch the train for either Port Louis or any other destination of theirs. A very beautiful garden exists near the station. It is equipped with seats, children’s swings and other equipment for their entertainment. The elderly too take advantage of it to spend a nice time there, meeting friends, making new friends and other socialising activities. They take much delight in watching children play.

Poste de Flacq can be reached by taking the old Flacq road that rolls through several villages each beautiful in its own way, having a specificity of their own. The easiest and most enriching route drives through Pamplemousses and links Poste de Flacq on the east coast. The road bordered on both sides with tall and leafy trees, cascading with beautiful flame flowers especially in November and December, passes through vales and hills, planted with sugar cane and vegetables. The road passes in front of the Nicolière Lake, a waterlake and then climbs the lush green slope of the mountain. The air is fresh and cool. The sky is cloudy and the environment is wooded and covered with Chinese pine trees and easily recognisable papyrus whose bark is easily torn. The drive lands the visitor at Salazie. 

Then the drive speeds through very thrilling and tantalising landscape comprising forests, rivers, caves and a mountainous background and passing through   Bon Accueil and to Choisy via Poste de Flacq. This trip is simply fun and frolic for the eyes. From Salazie a superb view spreads as far as the eye can see. The sea in the distance with blue turquoise and emerald water and the flat littoral plains dark green with hamlets and villages scattered all over. Another route passes through Constance la Gaieté. It also displays superb and breathtaking views with rivers, bridges, huge trees and plains.

The village posts a community centre with a post office in front of it. It is modern, newly built. There are other important places close by, the fish market, the Government primary school. The kids’ corner is a sort of meeting place for all age groups as pointed out above. It provides plenty of fun to one and all. Shady trees, flowerbeds, swings and fascinating games get attention from all and afford them the opportunity to have a good time in the evening and during weekends. The village offers opportunities for walks, boating, cycling and long trekking along onion plantations and other green and luxuriant vegetation.. It really constitutes pleasant walking along the different streets and the gift shops and tourist boutiques, doing window shopping or admiring the different tourists diversely and exotically dressed.

The village boasts of two or three temples. There is the Kashinath Mandir that the first Indian immigrant had built. It still draws many devotees and visitors on festive occasions. However a recently constructed temple steals the show. It gives to the east a sort of glamour and importance dreams are made of.  A beautiful and amazing temple costing millions of rupees to the promoters, the Ghunowa family, has been built on Ile aux Goyaviers. Today it has developed into a major tourist attraction.

More than 100 tourists visit the temple daily. It is a private property belonging to the late Mr and Mrs  Lall Ghunowa of Poste de Flacq had invested millions of rupees in the construction of the temple. Known as the Hindu Shiv Sagar Mandir located on an islet offering a breathtaking view from the village and it naturalistically draws attention of Mauritian citizens and tourists. The site is an ideal place for devotees to offer prayers and worship. It is surrounded by 5-star hotels namely St Géran and Prince Maurice. The temple is like cherry on the cake for it lends something special to the area.

The Ghunowa couple deserve a vibrant tribute in that they had doted this region with a real gem. The statues inside are brand new and shiny that helps instill more devotion in the worshippers. The hotels, the blue emerald sea beyond create a lovely panorama. The Ghunowa brothers, too, need be praised for their unflinching effort to keep the temple clean and in good condition. Let it be said that the view of the landscape and the seascape is stunning and arresting. Other rich persons would do well emulating the Ghunowas who by their very philanthropic action leave footprints on the sands of time.

The Christians enjoy a peculiar type of life. They still carry on the tradition and the common practice of carrying their dead to the cemetery by boat.  Another worthwhile scene consists of observing women who with their hammer and baskets in hands collect oysters in the early morning. It is also important in as much as it links the other beaches of Flacq.
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