The Maldives is wonderful and enchanting in all possible ways!
This sovereign archipelagic nation positioned in the Indian Ocean is called "The Republic of the Maldives", geographically! It will not be unjust to say that this South Asian Island nation stands second to none when it comes to geography and amazingly intriguing topography.
Let us take a deep dive into the geography, people, culture, and the city of Malé.
The Geography of the Land
Geographically speaking, the Maldives has 26 natural atolls that house dual island chains. You would be interested to know that the English word “Atoll” is derived from a Maldivian word “Ahtolhu” The atolls have channels of various sizes in between them, which allow navigation. They also have around 1190 islands and sandbanks. The Maldives is located on top of a vast underwater mountain range and this pearl string like islands covers a land area of no less than 298 square kilometres. All the islands on the vista are enriched by lagoons and clear water and are protected by a reef structure which houses one of the most exclusive and spectacular underwater life. These 26 atolls are categorised in 20 administrative divisions to enable efficient management of the island regions.
The Wonderful Maldivian People
Maldivian folks, making a population of approximately 4 lakhs, are known around the world for their hospitality and affability towards people visiting from all over. There are also a number of foreigners registered as the residents of the nation, amounting close to 60,000. The entire nation-wide population shares a similar cultural heritage, history, ancestry, homeland, language and religion. Perhaps this is the reason for the unity and harmony prevailing in the alluring islands. The ancestral roots of Maldivians can be traced back to Sinhala’s of Sri Lanka, Marathis and Gujaratis of India, Arabs, Malays and Northern African dispositions. Thus, Maldivians emerged from a mixed race that enriched the culture and history of the country. Maldivians follow Islam, which they embraced in 1153 AD, and adhere to Sunni School of Thought. Religion plays a key role in Maldivian society. As tourists, you can witness that a number of popular landmarks are influenced by Islamic architecture. Before coming to Islam, Maldivians practised Buddhism and ancient paganism. Many ancient Buddhist ruins are preserved in the country and you can see some traditional antique Buddhist artefacts displayed in the National Museum in Male’.
Occupation of the Maldivians
Although most of the men are involved in the fishery as occupation, Maldivian men are also known for their artisanship. The intricate stone carvings found in the Friday Mosque in Male’ is a living example of Maldivian craft. The mastery and creativity of Maldivians can also be seen in lacquer works, mat weaving, coir rope making and calligraphy. Traditional dresses and ornaments are worn by men and women profess the artistry and vision of Maldivian artisans. Visitors can always acquire such artefacts while on a holiday in the Maldives.
Enchanting Culture and Society
The nation displays extremely hospitable culture and friendly society. Whenever you go visiting an island, you get a warm welcome in form of a fresh coconut water serving. The tradition of serving refreshing coconut water is intact and alive for ages. Do not be surprised if your resort offers a beautifully decorated coconut drink when you reach your destination! Going by the roots, the customs and social patterns of Maldivian people can be seen displaying shades of Indians, Sri Lankans, Arabs and North Africans who visited the Maldives while traversing through the trading routes of the central Indian Ocean. Therefore, the Maldivian culture is rich and vivacious due to a meaningful amalgamation of various other cultural elements. Yet, the Maldivians hold a unique identity, which they built on their own and have preserved for years now. Maldivians inherited a treasure trunk of ancient mythology and folklore, passed orally through generations. These mythological tales cover fascinating stories on various aspects of island life. Since the intriguing sea surrounds the islands, most folktales depict fearful sea demons and spirits that haunt the Islanders. Maldivians also boast a rich culture of music and dance. Traditional dance and music performances can be witnessed when resort islands organize cultural performances to entertain their guests. Bodu Beru is a popular Maldivian culture that involves singing and dancing in joy. The performers wear traditional garb of sarongs and white sleeved shirt. These performances are a treat as they transport you to a different era altogether. Other traditional music and dance traditions include; Dhandi Jehun, Langiri, Thaara, Gaa Odi Lava, Bandiyaa jehun, Maafathi Neshun and Bolimalaafath Neshun, especially performed by women.
The capital city of the Maldives holds all the executive, legislature and judicial branches of the government. It is also the financial and commercial capital of the country, housing the major government offices, banks and businesses are based on Male’. Known as one of the most densely populated cities of the world; Male considers the administratively neighbouring islands of Villingili and Hulhumale’ as its constituencies. Although, Hulhumale’ is an artificially reclaimed island. While on a holiday in the Maldives; you can reach Male via ferryboats that operate round the clock between the airport island Hulhule’ and Male’ City. There are several luxury and budget hotels offering comfortable accommodation to the tourists. A number of modern guest houses are also operating in neighbouring Hulhumale’ and Villingili islands. You can reach both islands through ferryboats and speed launch transfers. A visit to the Maldives is not only the most beautiful holiday of your lifetime; it also brings great exposure to rich art, culture and heritage.