Maldives is known worldwide as a perfect destination for honeymooners and beach lovers. However, it is much more than just an island destination. The rich cultural heritage of the island has been preserved well over the years by its locals and this gives you the chance to explore some of the cultural delights while holidaying in this island country located in the Indian Ocean.
Among them are the heritage sites, island villages, and markets that offer some attractive handicrafts. The agricultural activities have also helped the locals in growing top-quality spices, fruits, and vegetables. While enjoying your Maldives holidays, there are many things you can do to have some memorable moments:
Go island hopping
As the island country is made up of more than 1,000 islands, you can explore some of them by taking any of the ferries. Islands that are quite far from the capital city of Male can be visited with the help of domestic flights. In recent times, trips between the islands of Maldives have been made easier with the presence of 10 domestic airports. Most of the resorts located in this island nation offer guided tours to some of the islands, and if you are staying in one of them, your island-hopping tour would be a memorable experience.
Shop for local handicrafts
Many of the household items are made by the local craftsmen using locally sourced materials. Upon visiting any of the local markets, you’ll get some fascinating items, such as food covers and mats made from reeds and domestic implements prepared using coconut shells. The coconut tree is a major source of material used in creating some excellent handicrafts. You can also buy wood and stone carvings. Most of the patterns used in the carvings are symmetrical and follow Islamic traditions. Other items worth buying from the local markets include the Maldivian traditional dress and mat woven by using screwpine leaves.
Visit the heritage sites
You can find most of the heritage sites in Male. Among them is a mosque known as Hukuru Miskiiy or Friday Mosque, which was constructed in the 17th century and is surrounded by tombs made from coral stone. Located near this mosque is a shrine painted in blue and white shades called ‘Medhu Ziyaarath’. This memorial is of Abu Barakat Yoosuf Al-Barbari, who converted Maldives to Islam in the 12th century. You can also visit the tomb of Mohamed Thakurufaanu, who became a Sultan after defeating the Portuguese by leading a band of seaborne guerrillas.
Watch some cultural performances
Some of the resorts arrange the performances of dancers coming from the neighbouring islands for their guests or visitors arriving in LiveAboard boats. The music used for dancing has African, Arabian, and Asian influences. Such dances and music are also taught to the schoolchildren for preserving the traditional rhythms and dancing styles. Many of these dances involve movements of batons or sticks and are great fun to watch. You’ll also be delighted to watch ‘Dhandi Jehun’. It is quite an energetic dance and involves about 30 individuals who make various moves in total coordination with each other.