Welcome to the Maldives, where sands are white as the smiles of the locals, where fish swim happily in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, where the weather is a dream, and the deep rays of the sun wait to engulf you their arms. In ancient times, the shores of the Maldives welcomed lost travellers. Still welcoming, these shores remain, providing a tranquil haven for visitors.
Republic of the Maldives is a sovereign archipelagic nation positioned in the Indian Ocean. Notably the South Asian Island nation has no counterpart in the entire world in terms of its unique geography and topography. The Maldives encompass more than 99 % of the sea and less than 1 % of the land. The 99 % of the sea is home to one of the most diverse marine treasures of the world. Less than 1 % of the land is a masterpiece in natural landscaping. The Maldives comprises of 26 natural atolls consisting of dual island chains. Incidentally the Maldivian language has the distinct pleasure of contributing to the English word “atoll”, which was derived from the Maldivian word “atholhu”. There are channels of various sizes between the atolls used for navigation. For efficient administrative functioning, the 26 natural atolls are categorised into 20 administrative divisions. Particularly the island nation is located in a strategic area with access to major international sea routes in the Indian Ocean.
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!
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.
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.
The national language of the Maldives is called Dhivehi. There are varying dialects of Dhivehilanguage, especially in the southern parts of the country. However, formal Dhivehi is used in all the official and written communications. Similarly Dhivehi is spoken in the Indian administered territory of Minicoy.
fahdkjThe ratification of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives on 7th August 2008 ushered in a new democratic era. Under the new constitution great emphasis is placed on upholding the doctrines of rule of law and separation of powers. The executive power is exercised by the government led by the president. Incumbent President of the Republic of Maldives is His Excellency Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The current president was elected for a five year term through a general election held on November 2013. Presently the Maldives have a unicameral legislature empowered with supreme legislative authority. The legislative branch is called the People’s Majlis. Members of the parliament are elected through a general election held in various electorates. Currently there are 85 sitting members, elected for a five year term. Furthermore the Speaker of the parliament is Honourable Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed.