Over view of Maldives beaches
The Maldives has always and will always remain a unique destination for the fun loving tourist seeking an exotic holiday. Over a 1190 tiny islands are grouped into natural atolls that are protected by surrounding coral reefs. The islands are of pure white coral sand and are low-lying, the highest point on any given island being no more than a meter and a half above sea level! Buddhism arrived here in 300 BC and was the main religion till 1153 AD when Islam started having an influence on the Royal family followed by conversions. Today, a common language (Dhivehi) and religion (Islam) have been two blessings that unite the people into a cohesive and peaceful society. Pride is taken in tradition though not at the expense of liberal and enlightened compassionate thinking.

Activities

Cruising
Cruising in the Maldives is called a 'safari'! Cruising vessels specially commissioned to cater to the needs of guests come in all shapes and sizes. Your itinerary on one would often include stopping over for varying lengths of time at favorite diving, snorkeling or fishing points, in addition to visits to various islands.

 

Island hopping
This is another way of fitting in a lot into one package. This entails a visit by boat to one or more fishing villages in addition to visiting one or more uninhabited islands.

Attractions Of Male'
During your stay in the Maldives, you must visit Male', the capital of the Maldives. Male' is roughly two square kilometers of land. There is no natural source of even potable water. Despite this, Male' manages to be reasonably green, peaceful and even graceful in its charm. Male' would certainly count as one of the smallest capitals in the world. A third of the country's population, about 75,000 live on this island. The old bazaar area still houses the country's hub of wholesale and retail trade, 0ther lanes are so narrow that a single vehicle would find it difficult to navigate through, especially with its throngs of busy people. The capital has several fascinating sights that offer an interesting glimpse into the history and culture of this great country which most people mistakenly identify only as a top class Water sport destination of fairy tale resorts.

Huskuru Miskiiy
Built in the 17th century the Huskuru Miskiiy or Friday Mosque served the population of Male' as their main mosque for almost four centuries. Built in 1656 the mosque is a masterpiece of coral carving and traditional workmanship - probably the best display of coral carving anywhere in the world. The walls of the mosque are hewn together with blocks of filigree-carved coral blocks. Heavy wooden doors slide open to the inner sanctums with lamp hangings of wood and panels intricately carved with Arabic writings. The area surrounding the mosque is a cemetery with a legion of intricately carved coral headstones.

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Mulee-aage
Right in front of the Hukuru Miskiiy is Mulee-aage, a palace built in 1906 by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III. The palace with its wrought iron gates and fretwork friezes on its roof edges and well-kept garden was intended for his son, but the Sultan was deposed before this could be done.

The National Museum
The National Museum is housed in an Edwardian colonial-style building of three storeys, with an amazing collection inside. A variety of artifacts from times past would give an idea of the unique and rich culture and history of this island nation. A visit to the museum gives an instant insight to the wealth of history most visitors never suspect existed.

The Islamic Centre
The Islamic Centre is the most vivid architectural landmark of Male'. The spectacular golden dome in all its majesty dominates the skyline. Completed in 1984, the Centre consists of a mosque big enough for 5000 people, an Islamic library, conference hall, classrooms and offices.

The Male' Fish Market: The main commercial area of Male' is located on the northern waterfront of Male'. This area is the main hub of trade and is a hive of activity through out the day. The waterfront and the by-lanes in the area are crowded with shops stocked with a variety of goods. Also in the area are the Male' Fish Market and the Local Market selling a range of local produce. While some 'dhonis' from all corners of the country unload dried fish, fresh fruits and vegetables from the atolls others are seen loading everything from foodstuffs to construction materials. The pace increases in mid-afternoon as fishing 'dhonis' start returning with their day's catch. The catch, mainly tuna are carried across the road into the open-sided market and laid out on the tiled floors. As fast as the fish are brought in they are bought and taken away by men from all walks of life. The market is kept scrupulously clean, washed down each day and disinfected.

Photo-flights
If you want to enjoy an especially wonderful view of the country, try an air excursion by a seaplane. A glimpse of these wonderful islands from the air is an unforgettable sight.

Water Sports
The resorts in the Maldives offer a wide variety of watersports. All resorts offer diving and snorkelling. Some have professional windsurf schools with qualified instructors offering multi-lingual certified courses, while others provide the basics needed for the windsurf enthusiast. Windsurf schools or watersports centres in the resorts are often equipped with one or more catamarans and a few kayaks or canoes. There are some resorts that offer only non-motorised watersports as a rule, to avoid disturbing the peace. However many of the resorts offer you the chance of testing your skills to the limits, at water-skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, body surfing, knee boarding and fun with banana riding and ringo riding. Further, many provide romantic sunset sailing or adventurous excursions, in catamarans or small 'dhonis'.

Windsurfing
The large lagoons that surround most of the islands are ideal for windsurfing. Large lagoons with waist deep water for hundreds of meters with soft sandy bottoms and the protective barrier provided by the house reef, offer ideal, safe conditions for windsurfing, especially for beginners. Almost all resorts have windsurf schools or water sports centres where you could get instructions and lessons and even get an international certificate. Some schools are equipped with a variety of boards and sails to suit different levels of windsurfers. All windsurf schools and watersports centres without exception, have the basic equipment for windsurfing, and in most cases one or more catamarans and a few canoes.

Snorkeling
A trip to the Maldives will never be complete without donning a mask and a pair of fins and experiencing the beauty that sustains these tiny islands. Each island offers a beautiful house-reef that you could snorkel in everyday. Those resorts with far out reefs have boats that take snorkellers to the reef. Mask and fins can be rented from the dive schools if you need them. Snorkeling in the incredibly clear waters here would open a new world for you under water. What lies under the water is a veritable wonder of nature. The variety and abundance of colorful fish in the reefs surrounding the islands and the atolls would fill you with amazement and disbelief !

Water Skiing
Many resorts have their own speedboats and water skis for rent on an hourly or daily basis. Some even have instructors available to give you lessons. Prices vary from resort to resort.

Parasailing
Most of the bigger resorts offer the excitement and fun of parasailing. Some offer instruction for beginners. Parasailing is ideal for those adventurous enough to try it. In addition to the excitement of being high up over the islands, it gives you a fantastic aerial view of your resort and the surroundings.

Fishing
Almost all the resorts offer fishing, with night fishing being the most popular. A unique Maldivian sport, night fishing provides a quiet, relaxing time under the stars, out at sea, rocking gently to the waves, in addition to the excitement of fishing. In night fishing, the boat is anchored at a reef just before sunset. Lines are tethered with hooks and sinkers and dropped over board. The favorite catch is the red snapper. Many resorts also organize morning fishing and big game fishing. Morning fishing, like big-game fishing involves trolling outside the atoll, usually along the outer atoll reef.

Diving in Maldives
Maldives: Scattered across the equator in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the gem like islands of the Maldives depict the rare vision of a tropical paradise. Palm fringed islands with sparkling white beaches, turquoise lagoons, clear warm waters and coral reef teeming with abundant varieties of marine flora and fauna, continue to fascinate visitors, as it has fascinated others in the past, for thousands of years. Marco polo referred to the Maldives as the '..... Flower of the Indies', and Ibn Batuta called her in his chronicles 'one of the wonders of the world'

 

 
   
 
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