Maha Shivratree – the Great Night of Lord Shiva – was celebrated on Wednesday, 2nd of March by devotees worldwide. In Mauritius, the main event remains the pilgrimage of thousands of devotees towards Grand Bassin to collect holy water. On the day of Maha Shivratree, devotees offer the sacred water along with other offerings to Lord Shiva as they chant hymns and prayers in his praise. Strict spiritual discipline is to be observed all night till the last pahar of the Chaar Pahar Pooja.

To break our fast after the pooja, I flavoured the plain old semolina halwa with caramel. The recipe, taken from Adiraja Dasa’s The Hare Krishna Book of Vegeterian Cooking, is a decadent halwa that might be a lil too rich for some. I reduced the butter and sugar by 1/2 cup each but if you dnt have any health or waistline issues, feel free to use the original recipe described below.




2 3/4 cups milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups semolina

1/4 cup raisins

2 tsp grated orange rind

Juice of 1 orange


  • Put the milk to boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Then, melt the sugar slowly in a medium sized saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent it from burning.


  • As soon as the melted sugar turns light brown in colour, lower the heat and slowly add the hot milk.
  • The sugar will immediately crystalize. Break up some of the crystals, stir, and leave them to dissolve by putting the saucepan on a burner to simmer.


  • Wash first saucepan and melt butter in it over low heat. Fry semolina gently in butter, stirring for about 15 minutes, till lightly browned. Turn heat down to the lowest setting.
  • Add raisins, grated orange rind and juice to caramelized milk; then slowly pour mixture into the semolina.

  • Stir once or twice to break any lumps. Cover pan tightly and cook gently over the same low heat for several minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove the lid and stir the halwa a few times to fluff it up and to distrubute the raisins evenly.