It was not farthest from God but in Mauritius we were nearest to church yet reached there on the last day. It is Cap Malheruex church or Notre Dame de l Auxiliatrice chapel. We were supposed to go there on on day 1. In a tour like this, when you have a lot to cover, the itinerary gets felixible to make the best of the schedule. Instead of the first day, we jumped out of our vehicle on the last day and though it was a quick 15 minutes tour, the experience was worth sharing and so were the pictures.
Location of Cap Malhereux church Mauritius or Notre-dame Auxiliatrice Chapel
This Roman Catholic church is located near the Grand Bay, adjacent to the small fishing village of Cap Malhereux. The famous Red roof was a sight to behold against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. The public beach adjacent to this church is a popular one and frequented by many.
A little bit of history of Notre-dame Auxiliatrice Chapel
The Cap Malheruex means the unfortunate cape and there are several stories behind the naming. As the history goes, many ships in the past have sunk here. Hence, the ‘unfortunate’ name. For some, this chapel was found in 1938 and some say, the history goes further back. It’s also said that this is the place where the British first landed in Mauritius in 1810. The French then started calling this place Cape of Misfortune. The characteristic red roof can be seen from far and it is visually stunning.
Unfortunately for us, we only had 15 mins time in our hand to explore this place of historical significance. Notre dame Auxilliatrice Chapel is a scenic beauty and around evening was perhaps, the best time to reach there. We got a beautiful light on the chapel and the red roof was shining. The main entrance door to the church was open and rows of silent prayer benches inside looked majestic with the light and shadow of the light seeping through the window. Greenery all around and some flowering plants around a giant tree and a cross at a far distance against the backdrop of the blue sea and azzure sky makes you want to stay back for a while. A local said that the mass which happens on Saturdays and Sundays is very popular and tourists attend too along with locals.
One can walk down to the sea from behind the church and I was reminded of another city where I grew up. The Basilica of Holy Rosary or the Bandel church in West bengal is one of the oldest churches in India and dedicated to Mother Mary. That too is situated on the banks of Hooghly river. I have vivid memories of my childhood there where I would walk up to the banks of the river while playing on the grounds of the church. The particular red roof also reminded me of Greece and Mykonos in particular. When I travelled to Mykonos, I was fascinated by the red roof churches and chapels there and stopped almost every five minutes to click a picture. Let’s share that story another day.
Cap Malhereux church Mauritius is not the only church around
A strong French and British past can only mean that the island has a strong presence of Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. Indenture labour system brought in the presence of mosques and temples too. Christianity is the second most practiced religion after Hinduism in this island. In case you are interested in Churches, their history and architecture of yesteryears, then there are few more which you cannot miss. Personally, I have always been equally fascinated by a church, a mosque and temple again and perhaps, it has to do with my childhood. For any tourist visiting Bandel, the most popular tourist attraction places was Bandel church as much as Hooghly Imambara Mosque which was completed in 1861 and the clock tower, which hosts sun dial clock. In Mauritius, few other churches to look forward to are – Saint Therese church in Curepipe, Notre Dame de la visitation located on the Royal Road, Notre Dame Des Anges located in Mahebourg city, Chapel and shrine of Marie Reine de la paix, which is situated on a hill top in Portg Louis and Cathedral St. Louis, one of the oldest churches in Mauritius.
Next time, from Cap Malhereux church Mauritius I will like to explore some of the mosques of the city just like I used to do while growing up in Bandel.
Do you know more churches in Mauritius which you would like to recommend? Let us know.
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