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Maldives

The Maldives, known to the locals in their native language (Dhivehi) as Dhivehi Raajje, are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 natural coral atolls in the Indian Ocean. The 26 natural atolls or atholhu in Dhivehi — the source of the English word, of the Maldives  are not single islands, but giant ringlike coral formations hundreds of kilometres wide that have fragmented into several islands, sand banks and lagoons. They lie south-southwest of India and west of Sri Lanka. None of the coral islands measures more than 1.8 metres above sea level.

Only 192 islands are inhabited by its 300,000 inhabitants. The rest of the islands remain virgin islands except for more than 100 islands that have been developed for the top end of the tourist market.

With its abundant sea life and sandy beaches, The Maldives is portrayed by travel companies as a tropical paradise. Maldives was for the most part unknown to tourists until the early 1970s.

The economy revolves around tourism, and fisheries.Tourism accounts for 28% of the GDP. Over 90% of the state government income comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes.

 

PEOPLE

Maldivians are esteemed around the World for their hospitality and affability towards their guests. Currently the population of the Maldives is 341,256. Additionally close to 60000 registered foreigners reside in the country.

Maldivians share a similar cultural heritage, history, ancestry, homeland, language and religion. These common factors are the reason for the unity and harmony prevailing in the alluring islands.

Maldivian ancestral roots can be traced back to Sinhala’s of Sri Lanka, Marathi’s and Guajarati’s of India, Arabs, Malays and Northern African dispositions. Accordingly, Maldivians emerged from a mixed race, which has enriched the culture and history of the country.

Presently Maldivians are adherents of the Sunni School of Islam. Maldivians embraced Islam in 1153 AD and since then the religion has played a key role in shaping the Maldivian society. Some of the famous landmarks in the country have been greatly influenced by Islamic architecture.

Before converting to Islam, the Maldivians were known to practice Buddhism and ancient paganism. Ancient Buddhist ruins are preserved in the country and antique Buddhist artefacts are displayed in the National Museum in Male’.

Traditionally whenever guests visit a local island, the islanders will welcome them by serving a fresh coconut drink. This tradition has continued to this day and do not be surprised if your resort offers a beautifully decorated coconut drink when you reach your destination!

 

CULTURE

The customs and social behavior of the Maldivians have been greatly influenced by the Indians, Sri Lankans, Arabs and North Africans who visited the Maldives while traversing through the trading routes of the central Indian Ocean. The Maldivian culture is rich and vibrant due to the infusion of various other cultural elements.

Though Maldives was culturally influenced by other traditions, Maldivians have built and preserved an exclusive cultural identity.

Accordingly the Maldivians converse using a language of their own; In 1153 AD Maldivians converted to Islam and the religion has transformed and introduced new fundamentals to the Maldivian culture.

Folklore : Maldivians inherited a treasure trunk of ancient mythology and folklore that was passed orally through generations. These myths cover fascinating stories on various aspects of island life. Since the islands are surrounded by sea, most folktales depict fearful sea demons and spirits that haunt the islanders.

Life in Islands : Traditionally the island communities were very close-knit. This togetherness is still prevailing in the small island societies. Accordingly men will be mainly engaged in fishery, carpentry and toddy tapping. Women were mainly engaged in household duties and raising families. Certain rituals and practices were followed in the islands on special occasions like weddings. Some of these rituals survive to this day. The advent of tourism in the 1970’s accelerated the modernisation process of the country. Today an increasing number of women hold crucial positions within the public and private sector. As a result of economic growth, dramatic lifestyle changes were introduced.

Music and Dance : The Maldives boasts of a rich culture of music and dance. Some of the cultural music and dances can trace their roots to distant continents. Resort islands organize cultural performances to entertain their guests regularly during which you can observe islanders performing traditional music and dance items. One of the most famous Maldivian cultural displays which involve singing and dancing is called the “Bodu Beru”. The Bodu Beru performers, numbering around 20 will be wearing traditional garb of sarongs and white sleeved shirts. Bodu Beru performance is guaranteed to make you sway along with the drumbeats. Other traditional music and dance items include; Dhandi Jehun, Langiri, Thaara and Gaa Odi Lava. Most of these items involve rhythmic music and dances using various cultural props. There are some cultural routines exclusively performed by Maldivian women. Bandiyaa jehun, Maafathi Neshun and Bolimalaafath Neshun. Some of these acts were designed to perform in the royal courts. Indian and Western music have also greatly influenced the musicians of the country. Frequently resorts host performances of local bands to enliven their guests.

Craftsmanship : Maldivians are known for being avid craftsmen. The intricate stone carvings found in the Friday Mosque in Male’ is a living example of Maldivian craftsmanship. The mastery and inventiveness of Maldivians can be seen in lacquer works, mat weaving, coir rope making and calligraphy. Traditional dresses and ornaments profess the artistry and creativeness of Maldivian artisans. Such exceptional works can be acquired by visitors as souvenirs. A visit to the Maldives not only guarantees the best vacation of your lifetime, but it also gives you exposure to a great cultural experience. 

 

MALE

Male’ is the capital city of the Maldives and the seat of the executive, legislature and judicial branches of the government of the Maldives. Male’ is also the financial and commercial capital of the country. Accordingly major government offices, banks and businesses are based on Male’.

Male’ city is one of the most densely populated cities of the world. Administratively neighbouring islands of Villingili and Hulhumale’ are considered as constituencies of Male’ City. Hulhumale’ is an artificially reclaimed island.

 

ACCESS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

You can reach the bustling capital of the Maldives via ferry boats operated round the clock between the airport island Hulhule’ and Male’ City. There are luxury and budget hotels  offering accommodation in the capital. Numerous classy guest houses have also opened up in neighbouring Hulhumale’ and Villingili islands reachable through ferry boats and speed launch transfers.

 

EXPERIENCE

A visit to Maldives is all about encountering those once-in-a-lifetime experiences in coming face to face with Nature’s most marvelous wonders and the Country’s most amazing attractions.

From breathtaking marine life to relishing the picture-perfect Island living, Maldives lets you experience a taste of Paradise.

Enjoy the most Maldives has to offer, besides enjoying the white sandy beaches of the islands there several other activities one can enjoy, including: Scuba Diving, Big game fishing, Water Sports, Picnics, Local culture, and Surfing

 

Connectivity

Although Maldives is spread in a north south direction in the middle of the Indian Ocean, today it is widely interconnected as well as connected to the world. There are nine regional airports, Maldivian,Trans Maldivian Airways and FlyMe operate to these airports and the seaplane services from all three airlines make almost all islands easily...

 

Of Interest

Notable places of interest are in Malé, and ruins of the Buddist era can be found spread amongst some of the islands. Malé excursions are regularly organisd by resorts and guest houses and in Malé make sure you visit the Hukuru Miskiiy and see the Munnaaru (minaret), Medhu Ziyaaraiy which is the tomb of Abul Barakaath Barbary credited for...

 

Getting Around

As Maldives consists of several islands sea transport is essential. Each resort has its speed boat service or sea plane service. There are ferry services available form the airport and also to the atolls from Malé. There are two main hospitals and both are in...

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