Quatre Bornes nicknamed ‘La ville des Fleurs’ (The city of Flowers) is one of the 5 towns over the Island. Living by its name, the center of the town is covered with beautiful trees and flowers. Quatre Bornes is mostly found in the Plaines Wilhems district and a small portion of the western part of the town is established in the Black River District. The specialty of this town is that it is the link to the four parts of the island that is the south, north, east and west.
Known for its versatility, the center has shopping malls, market, food courts, cinema, restaurants, hotels, hospital and several shops. It also has busy roadways, traffic jams to make it always crowded and a lively town. You can easily find a hotel (like: The Gold Crest Hotel or Palms Hotel) in this town if you like the busy lifestyle and easy access to many attractions and as well as shopping facilities.
The local market is found in the Centre of the city where on Wednesdays and Saturdays, it is a vegetable/fruits market but is converted into a clothing/crafts market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. You can find local products such as Hand Made Bags, wooden Craft, Local Souvenirs, Baskets, Hats, Pillows, Bed Sheets as well as clothes. Make sure you have some bargaining skills, it may prove beneficial to you in there. As part of the market, you do have also the food court with locally popular food and drinks like ‘Dholl Puri’ and ‘Alouda’. On business days, this part of the market is always crowded. Moreover, you can easily find a pub in the city, one of the popular one is Zoo Bar, it is found a few minutes’ walk from the Market and is a nice place to have fun and spend some quality time.
The bus station and taxi stand is found on the opposite of the Market across the main road. From there, you may easily hire a cab or catch up a bus to go to another town or even other villages. One such place may be Flic En Flac, one of the most popular beach across the coastal regions of the island. Since we are a multi-cultural country, the town also provides many different spiritual places like Mosques, Churches, Temples and Kovils. This spiritual rainbow shows a typical Mauritian town, where all these spiritual and sacred places are well respected across different cultural communities. ‘St Esprit College’ one of the oldest colleges around is also found in this part of the island. It proves its age by the walls made of stones rather than bricks. Considered as one of the elite schools of the country, it greatly enhances the reputation of this town.
Running away from the concrete
A few miles away from the center, more specifically, at the end border of the town, you will find yourself in places like ‘Bassin’ and ‘Palma’, where it’s the complete opposite, the nature and chirping of birds, the mountains, the sugarcane fields, and the fresh breeze.
You simply cannot stop admiring the view of the golden lining of the setting sun which is hidden by the clouds behind the mountain and the pale blue sky. The dusk is simply heavenly and really worth watching at least once in a lifetime. Down further the road, there is a river which adds to the beauty of this place. At times, you can see some special guests, running and climbing on branches and a bit afraid of visitors. Yes, you guessed it right, the monkeys. Nevertheless you can safely close your eyes and listen to the sound of the flowing water, moving of branches and leaves by the winds relieving you from all tension and stress.
The Tiring Steps
In this beautiful town itself, one of the spiritual places is named ‘Siva Subramanya Kovil’ (also known as ‘Kovil Montagne’ by Mauritians). It is found on the ‘Corps de Garde’ Mountain. At the foot of the mountain, there is a big yard reserved for special purposes like prayers or any Tamil festivals going on. A kind of peace or positive vibrations may invade you the minute you are at the foot of the stairs, at least it was my feelings. After climbing hundreds of staircases, you will discover the big picture of the town that is all the houses and a hill a few kilometers away. It summaries the beauty of the whole city and greatly defines the versatility of the city with greenery, mountains and all types buildings. Entering the temple following the traditions, you must absolutely leave your shoes outside, making me remember that there were some shoes at the foot of the mountain with some people preferring to climb the staircases barefoot. Some bit of history around this place is that the ‘Murthi’ (the Hindu name for idol) inside the shrine was first installed by ‘Shri VelaMurugan’, considered as a pious devotee of Lord Muruga, who spent all his life’s earnings in buying a plot of land on the mountain to build this shrine.
The ‘Siva Subramanya Thirukovil’, dedicated to ‘Lord Muruga’, which was built more than a century ago by the indentured labourer from India, has since become a famous pilgrimage site for the Hindu Community.
Entering the Temple
Inside the Kovil, you will hear the ‘mantras’ (the spiritual chanting) by priests and lamps lit all around. On Tamil Festivals like: ‘Cavadee’ or ‘Canjee’, you may see people make offering like fruits, sweets or even milk as part of their prayers. As part of the prayers you will be given small amounts of foods as offerings. The idols found in the Kovil are also greatly adorned with garlands made up of different colors (mostly yellow and white) of flowers. New pieces of clothes are also placed on the idol during such events.
On special events like ‘Canjee’, special prayers are said and a special offering is served among all devotees called ‘Canjee’, a vegan plate which consists of Curd Rice, vegetables, sweets. This offering depicts the different situations in life- sweet (good moments), sour (bad moments).
This is my birth town and obviously my roots are found here. But this is not the only reason that I would not swap this place at any cost. It may be a small town, but the way of living here, where different cultural sites are found really close to each other with every person respecting each other ethnic values, the buildings and the flora accommodating each other so peacefully, it is really where I will always belong to.