Sometimes the presumed “obvious” can be misleading, and delving deep into a place can reveal remarkable opportunities, and so Maldives – beyond the beaches present with some stunning tourist interests. Pristine white sand beaches, palm fringed islands and turquoise blue expanse of the Indian Ocean would be the first (and maybe the only) thing that comes to mind when one thinks about Maldives. But I am here to tell you about a different Maldives, buzzing with innumerable experiences, Maldives – beyond the beaches. After all, how many of us would know that Maldives before the 12th century was a Buddhist regime! There are a plethora of things to see and do in Maldives other than vegetating on fine white sand.
Getting There: Air India and Spicejet have direct flights to Male from Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. Flights from any other city in India have to be via one of these airports.
Best Time to Visit: December to April
Visa: The country follows a Visa on arrival policy provided the tourists have valid passports, proof of accommodation and return tickets
Things to know: Tourists are not supposed to carry idols, alcohol, pork meat or any other religious paraphernalia other than Islam, to Maldives. Tourists are frisked judiciously at the airport while entering and leaving the country.
The capital city of Male doesn’t really show any signs of a 1400 year old Buddhist past. Although 35 mosques can be found in this seemingly expeditiously built colourful settlement.
The National Museum
The National Museum is a structure made up of steel and glass, and is a gift from China under a bilateral agreement, and was completed recently in 2010.
The Friday Mosque
n the 12th century A.D., Abu al Barakat visited Maldives which was then a Buddhist regime. He convinced the Sultan to embrace Islam and the rest is history. The mosque is supposedly built on a Buddhist temple.
The beauty of Maldives is best experienced with its sunset cruises, as the stunning hues of the sky come alive during this time.
Dating back to 11th century, it is the traditional dance form of Maldives. Performed by a group of 15 or more, it consists of one lead singer and lots of drums apart from variety of thumping instruments.
Get away from the coastlines, and explore the islands of Maldives. Maldives on backpacker’s budget was unheard of a few years ago, as it was always meant to cater to luxury travel.