Since the Indian population is the largest ethnic group in Mauritius, Hinduism is the most widely practised religion. There are more than 150 Hindu temples on the island and several Hindu sects. The most prominent sect is the Sanathanists, who worship a threefold deity: the Creator Brahma, the Protector Vishnu and the Destroyer Shiva. The Arya Samajists are a smaller sect; they worship a single god, Brahma. Tamil Hindus practise a special form of Hinduism, characterized by dramatic forms of worship.

Christianity was the first religion introduced on the island and now has the second largest number of followers. The first settlers belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. With the arrival of French in 1721, Roman Catholicism became the official religion. The English introduced Anglicanism in 1810. During the 19th century, Presbyterians, Methodists and people of other Protestant denominations also settled on the island. Today many churches are represented on the island, including the Seventh Day Adventists, The Assembly of God, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Swedenborgs.

The third-largest religious group is the Muslims. Most Muslim Mauritians are Sunni Muslims, but there are also some Shi'ite Muslims. Mauritian Muslims are somewhat different from Muslims in other countries because they honour Pirs (Muslim saints), such as Abdul Kader Jilani, Jamal Shah and Bibi Amina. These were Muslim holy men, known as Walli Allah (friends of God), who lived on the island. Mauritian Muslims pray to them and leave offerings at their graves. Although most Chinese Mauritians have converted to Christianity, a few Chinese Mauritians are Buddhist, and there are several Buddhist pagodas on the island. Some Buddhists have shrines in their houses, where they present offerings in honour of their ancestors.

Mauritians respect the religions of others and may participate in the practices of more than one religion. For example, Chinese Mauritians may attend services at a Christian church, but also go to the pagoda. Tamils may make offerings of bananas at Christian churches.

   Did you know?
A burial site in Bambous is shared by Muslims and Jews. In 1940, about 1,500 Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis in East Europe took a boat to the Indian Ocean, hoping to reach Palestine via the Red Sea. They were stopped at Mauritius, and the British placed them in a detention camp. Those who died on the island were buried in a Muslim cemetery.