Thousands of devotees have descended on Grand Basin in northern Mauritius for the culmination of the Hindu festival, Maha Shivaratri.

The island nation draws one of the largest numbers of pilgrims for this popular annual festival.

They include South Africans.

The pilgrims braved the scorching sun and long queues to pray at the shrine in Grand Basin, considered by Hindus to be one of the most sacred energy spaces in the world.

A devotee shares her emotions around this once in a lifetime experience.

During the festival of Shivaratri the force is double the spiritual place becomes, you see what it is today now. Today, when we are here we feel like we are here with Shiva itself. Sacrificing and praying for him. Just to get his blessings for the whole family… this is really stunning, fantastic, a surreal experience for me, very spiritual. Uplifting. The scale they do this is on is so overwhelming for us. In my 60-years, this is the first time I’ve experienced so much of devotion.”