Maldives has deep blue seas, turquoise reefs, white sandy beaches and palm trees. It is also a place full of character, where its people have long spent their days languishing in the very essence of idyll living. While it is the perfect place to sit on a beach and watch a sunset with a cocktail balanced on your hand, it is also a geographical marvel, knowing that there are thousands of fish swimming around the vivid corals just a few feet away from where you sit.
|Major industries:||Tourism and Fishing|
|Currency:||Rufiyaa (USD 1 = MRF 15.42)|
|Government Working hours:||8:00 am to 3:00 pm Sunday to Thursday|
|Bank hours:||9:00am to 03:00 pm Sunday to Thursdays|
The Maldives lies in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator. The country is made up of 1,192 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls, spread over 90,000 square kilometers. These atolls structures are formed upon a sharp ridge rising from the ocean, making way for their secluded uniqueness. Each atoll in the Maldives is made of a coral reef encircling a lagoon, with deep channels dividing the reef ring. A string of islands take their places among this atoll ring; each island has its own reef encircling the island lagoon. The reefs of the islands, alive with countless types of underwater creatures and vibrant corals, protect the islands from wind and wave action of the surrounding vast oceans. This unique structure of reefs and channels makes navigation almost impossible for the passer-by without sufficient information about these waters. Ninety-nine percent of the Maldives is made up of sea. The people of the islands are widely dispersed across the atolls, with about 200 inhabited islands. About 90 islands are developed as tourist resort and the rest are uninhabited or used for agriculture and other livelihood purposes.
The Maldivian President who dived underwater with his cabinet has givena new light to the association between Maldives and ‘environment’. The worldnow knows how dependent the Maldives is on its natural environment.
The environment has a direct affect on all facets of a Maldivian’s life.The islands are protected by thousands of reefs that need to be alive for this unique archipelago to exist in future. The corals on our reefs need its countlessinhabitants to feed on them for the corals to re-grow. Locals need the fish in the water for livelihood and they depend on the beauty of its reefs and islands to sustain our tourism industry. Most importantly, the Maldives needs its citizens and visitors to take care of its wonderful natural environment in order to survive as one of the most magical places on earth.
The weather in the Maldives is usually picture perfect: sunlit days, breezy nights, balmy mornings, and iridescent sunsets. The temperature hardly ever changes - which makes packing for your holiday an easy task (see what to pack). With the average temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, the sun is a constant on most days, shining through treetops, creating lacy patterns on your feet, healing cold-bones with its warmth. Throughout the day, the sun will make itself known, ensuring that it will be remembered and missed, like an old friend, as you pack up your suitcases to leave.
Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November.
For Maldivians, who love a good story, it is somehow fitting that the early history of the country is enshrined in myth and legend. There is the story of the Rannamaari, a tale about a sea monster than demands a virgin sacrifice every full moon, until a brave man from Morocco, Mr Abdul Barakaath-Ul Barbary decides to confront the monster and prohibit him from coming into the Maldives. There is the story of Bodu Thakurufaanu, renowned for its length, who saved the Maldives from Portuguese Invaders. These stories, while very much anecdotal, are based on the real facts that form the history of the country. Written accounts portray a Maldives whose people have traveled far and wide, adventurers whose geographical isolation had not limited the boundaries of their world. Maldives today remains very much like it had then – small, but not lacking; isolated, but not invisible.
The islands of Maldives appear in-between the trading route of the Indian Ocean. Thus settlers, and visitors from neighbouring regions and around the world have come in contact with the islands for as long as history has been recorded. Such is the to-and-fro flow of people and their cultures, that a marked effect has been left in the Maldivian people, the language, beliefs, arts, and attitudes.
The looks of the Maldivian people may differ from one atoll to the other, attributing to the genes passed on by South and Southeast Asians, Africans, and Arabians. The language, Dhivehi, differs in dialect in some regions in the south of Maldives, possibly due to the secluded nature and subsistent ways of island life. Maldivian beliefs have been very much based around religion and superstition, often used together in matters of significance but given separate positions in society. In matters of faith, Islam dominates, but influence of the supernatural still continues to play a major role in most island communities, possibly giving credit to the folklores and Buddhist traditions of the islands’ first settlers before conversion to Islam in 1153 AD.