The Republic of Maldives is a small nation of around 2,70,000 people. The country comprises some 1192 tiny islands stretched out across the equator in a vertical strip, of which 200 are inhabited today.Traditionally a fishing and trading people, the Maldivians have a history,culture and language all of their own.
The idea of developing
Maldives unspoilt, palm- fringed tropical islands with dazzling white beaches and brilliant turquoise lagoons as a tourist destination began in 1972. Eighty Seven resorts of various standards and tastes have since been built, each on its own uninhabited island and surrounded by one of the best preserved marine environments anywhere in the world.
Tourism development is very well planned and regulated with great attention paid to its sensitive nature. The environmental policy of ecological sustainable tourism development is regarded as an example to the world. As a result, the tourism industry has been enormously successful.
Recent years have been characterized by modernization and a very high rate of economic growth, most notably in Male, the capital city which is fully open to visitors.Some island communities close to tourist resorts are accessible for short visits.
Resort Island, specially built for tourists,are all-inclusive, each coming as a self-sufficient entity in terms of facilities offered and the abounding natural beauty. A few hotels and guest houses are available in Male.
The existence of the Maldives was well known from around 2000 BC and it was situated in the then trading routes of several ancient maritime’s such as Egyptians, Romans, Mesopotamia’s and Indus Valley traders. The people of this time who lived in the Maldives were known as Redin- a legendary sun-worshipping people.
The second wave of settlers probably arrived from Sri Lanka and southern
India around 500 BC and were Buddhists. The conversion to Islam took place in the mid - 12th century under the influence of Arab traders and the country has remained Muslim ever since.
In the sixteenth century, there was a short occupation by the Portuguese. When the British took possession of in 1796, the Maldives maintained good relations with them, although neither the Dutch not the British established a colonial administration. When Ceylon gained independence in 1948, a defence pact was signed which gave the British control of foreign affairs but not the right to interfere internally, and also facilities on, Addu Atoll in the south of the country, for the British forces to defend the islands and the Commonwealth. In 1965, when the Maldives became a member of the United nations and ceased to be responsible for their defence, recognized the islands as a completely sovereign and independent state.
Charles Darwin was the first to put forward the theory that atolls can develop from coral growth that has built up around the edges of a submerged volcanic peak.The Maldives is part of a submerged volcanic mountain range which extends from the Lakshadweep Islands near India to well south of the equator. Over hundreds of thousands of years, corals buildup sinks back into the ocean. Coral are a living colony of polyps, tiny tentacled creatures that feed on plankton. These polyps excrete limestone skeletons which build up as rock-like aggregation and new polyps attach themselves in successive layers to the skeletions. Thus only the outer layer of a coral is alive.
ENTRY INTO THE MALDIVES
Most visitors to the Maldives travel by air. On arrival at Male International Airport,visitors receive a one month tourist visa free of charge. All visitors arriving from a yellow fever infested area require a certificate of inoculation. ( Note:It is illegal for visitors to bring in any illicit drugs, alcohol, pornography,pork, firearm and dangerous animals.)
Prices in resorts are in US dollars, although all major forms of currency and credit cards are accepted.
A very friendly and hospitable people; ideal weather all the year round, except for the two monsoon periods experienced in June, July, November and December when ir gets a bit soggy; An easy -going simple lifestyle; Crystal clear waters in azure lagoons; Snow-white beaches of coral sands; Breathtaking underwater beauty with colourful corals and exotic marine life; The combination of all these and more makes the Maldives a unique destination for tourists.
BEACH RESORT ISLANDS
A beach resort is a world of its own. It is a self- contained island ringed with shallow clear turquoise water, which in turn is surrounded by a coral reef teeming with marine life. Most of the rooms are situated a few meters away from the beach under the shade of tall coconut palms. Some resorts do have over-water bungalows too.
Every resort has a fully- equipped diving school with PADI or other internationally certified instructors. Water sports such as windsurfing, catamaran sailing,water-skiing , banana riding are widely available. The archipelago with its open high seas and windy ambience produces enough waves to challenge the highs of every diehard surfer.
No matter which resort you stay at, you have access to international telephone and facsimile services, also Internet facilities in some resorts. Some of the high class resorts offer international convention facilities as well.
Not to miss, is a full-day excursion to different islands where barbecue lunch is usually served in the shade of coconut palms just off the beach. Equally enjoyable is a snorkelling trip to nearby reefs where multi -coloured fishes are in abundance. That is not the end! A fishing trip at night will be an unforgettable memory.