Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kovil Montagne, Mauritius

Name : Kovil Montagne (Sri Siva Subramanya Thirukovil)

Location :

Kovil Montagne is located on the Corps de Garde mountain in Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius

History :

The Murthi inside the shrine was first installed by Shri VelaMurugan, a pious devotee of Lord Muruga, who spent all his earnings in buying a plot of land on the mountain to build a shrine.  

The Siva Subramanya Thirukovil, dedicated to Lord Muruga, inspired and built around more than a century ago by an indentured labourer from India, has today become a pilgrimage site for Mauritian people of all creeds. The temple is managed by the Hindoo Tamulall Siva Soopramanien Benevolent Society, founded one century ago. The society also administrates the Mariamman Temple at Berthaud, Quatre Bornes since 1946.

The story of the Siva Subramanya Kovil(founded circa 1897), on the slopes of the Corps de Garde mountain starts with Velamurugan(1852- 1913), a humble and pious Indian immigrant, who landed on Mauritian shores in 1884. He was a typical example of a true ‘Bhaktan’ (Devotee) in search of the divine through the grace of Muruga.

In 1887, Velamurugan’s contract ends and he settles down in ‘La Louise’ Quatre Bornes, more precisely the locality of La Source. He buys a piece of land, half acre in size for Rs 30 on the slopes of the Corps de Garde mountain. The notary act is signed later in 1904 and is registered under the name ‘La Societe Religieuse Hindoue Seva Soopramanien’.

Rebuilding :

Today, after more than a century, the size of the yard of the Siva Subramanya Kovil is of 3 acres. Over the years, the temple started attracting more and more devotees and several miracles are said to have occurred.

At the onset of the year 2000, the society is preoccupied by erosion problems at the base of the Kovil. Experts are consulted in the view of finding adequate solutions to the problem. Following several recommendations and suggestions from the various experts consulted, the society decides to pull down the existing Kovil structure and build a new one.

On the 27th of May 2001, after the Sittirai Cavadee, the works started. Laying of the foundation stone was carried out on the 2nd July 2001 by the Swami Balasubramanya Sarma from the Hindu Maha Jana Sangham..

The new temple is rebuilt on the same site and the same Original Muruga statue has been installed at the same original spot. The Mahamandapam(the kovil hall) is enlarged and the space around the Kovil has been conceived for optimal use.

The new temple is a typical example of South Indian temple architecture. The Kovil has been built in strict consultation of the various scriptures(Shastras and Agamas) and texts related to Temple building and architecture.

Description :

The Temple has separate mandapams dedicated to dieties of Hindu religion. The website gives a guided tour about the visit to the temple :

Ganesha Mandapam
A visit to the Siva Subramanya Thirukovil starts with worship at the Ganesha Mandapam under a banyan tree on the right side immediately after entering the Kovil yard. This small Ganesha shrine is very popular, with many people usually rushing in quickly before work or activities. It is particularly crowded during festival days. Recounts of the intensity of worshipping Lord Ganesha here are many.

Mariamman Mandapam
Leaving the Ganesha Shrine and moving into the inner yard, one finds several Mandapams starting with the Mariamman Mandapam on the far left. Mariamman worship is often synonymous with Murugan worship. Maybe because of the strong associations of these two deities with the Tamil Hindus or South Indian Hindus in general. The Mariamman shrine also serves as a place where devotees gather before staring a procession during the Theemeedhi at the Mariamman temple at Berthaud.

Krishna Mandapam
Moving from the Mariamman shrine, we find a Mandapam dedicated to Krishna. During the month of ‘Purattasi’ (Sept-Oct), the ‘Govinden’ festival is celebrated on each Saturday at this shrine; culminating in a spectacular whole night prayer on the last Saturday.

Hanuman Mandapam
Next to the Krishna shrine is a big statue of Hanuman or Anjaneya- the famous god from the Ramayana.

Idumban Mandapam
Idumban is said to be the closest devotee of Muruga. Belonging to the Asura race, Idumban was asked by sage Agastya to bring to him two mountains by name Sivagiri and Shaktigiri. As an obedient student, Idumban immediately set out for the task. He took a gigantic rod, tied two hanging supports to each end and placed one mountain on each. As he was about to lift them, he noticed that they had become terribly heavy and he was unable to lift the support- not even by an inch. He tried and tried in vain just before realizing that Lord Muruga was standing on the hills. In huge humility he bowed at the feet of the lord. Idumban is said to be the first one to have carried the Cavadee. Thus there is nothing surprising about the fact that an Idumban shrine is found just where the stairs leading to the Kovil start. All devotees pay their respects and worship at the shrine before climbing the stairs.

Munishwaran Mandapam
While climbing the stairs towards the Kovil, we can find a Munishwara Mandapam on the left. The big statue is commanding and true to the deity. Munishwaran is the god who protects the compound. Munishwaran worship dates back to very ancient times.

Siva Subramanya Sannidhi
Finally, at the top we reach the Kovil- the Siva Subramanya Shrine.

Festivals :

The main festival of the temple is the Sittrai Cavadee. Falling in April/May on the Chitra Pownami day. It is the first temple to have celebrated this festival in Mauritius and as such is known 'Kavadi Montagne' around the island. The festival attracts a large crowd during the ten day prayers. Other festivals celebrated are, Thaipusam Cavadee, Panguni Uttiram, Maha Shivaratree, Skanda Shasti, Ganesh Chaturthi, Anna Abhiskekam, Kartigai Deepam and monthly celebrations such as Kartikai and so on.

Daily Prayer Timings :

Morning Prayers : Paal Abishekam and Pujai 05:30 to 06:30

Evening Prayers : Pujai 17:30 except for Tuesdays at 16:30

Sunday Morning  : Special Abishekam 08:00 followed by special prayer  from 08:30 to 09:00

Monthly Kartigai : From 18:00 to 19:30

Websites :

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