Characterized by a line of ancient coral reefs that grew up all along the sides of the prehistoric volcanoes, Maldives is a South Asian county situated in the Indian Ocean. The magnificent sight of around 1190 coral reef islands, grouped in a twin chain of 26 atolls spread over an expanse of 90000 square kilometers, allure thousands of visitors to it every year.
The most amazing feature of these coral reefs are that they are all live and located on the top of a submarine ridge that suddenly rises from the Indian Ocean and in direction from north to south.
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The atolls and islands of Maldives are something to be really cultivated too. They are so small in size that they cannot support rivers, only small lakes and marshes are found instead. There are no big mountains, instead one can find sand dunes there which are of average height of eight feet above sea level. The prominent among them are the NW coast of Hithadhoo in Addu Atoll, which is also called the Seenu Atoll. There are both inhabited and uninhabited islands in the Maldives, all of which are a part of the atolls. The numbers of the inhabited islands are approximately five to ten, while those of the uninhabited are as many as nearly twenty to sixty. Each atoll has a number of islands in them. But there are a few atolls too which have a single island, such as the Equatorial Channel that has only one island, the Fuvahmulah, surrounded by lofty beaches of living corals.
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There is a wide difference between the vegetation of the inhabited and the uninhabited islands. Those which are inhabited by the indigenous people have vegetation and plantation like small groves and orchards of banana, taro, citrus fruits, papaya, etc. along with breadfruit trees, coconut palms. On the contrary the uninhabited islands mostly consist of the bushes of wild plants like magu, boshi, kandu, kuredi etc., along with a few scattered coconut trees.
Thus vegetation is very limited and agriculture in an extensive nature is not possible since the soil is highly alkaline and deficit in nitrogen, potash and ion that hinders the healthy growth of plants. But the island of Fuvammulah is distinctly different from the other islands and encourages the growth of oranges and pineapples. The reason behind it is that the height of this island is much higher than that of the other islands. This prevents the ground water from mixing with that of the sea water and thus becoming too alkaline. But another thing that is casting its dark spell and gradually leading to shrinkage of agricultural land is the growing population that is increasing pressure on land and the arable agricultural land is being victimized as a result.
Some worth visiting places
The climate and geography of Maldives makes it one of the most famous tourist spot in the South Eastern Asia, offering some of the well known spots. A list of some of these is given here, which you must see and enjoy while you are touring in the Maldives.
Male Fish Market
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It is the main commercial centre in Maldives, located to the west of Republic Square. The most frequented and the liveliest place in Maldives. It is a place selling fresh catches from the ocean. In the evening everyday, small boats called “dhoni” sail into this place with loads of fishes caught from the sea. These are sold to the locals and the tourists visiting this place.
The Gan on the Seenu or the Addu Atoll
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If you are eager to have a taste of the original Maldives culture, then you must make it a point to visit the Gan on the Seenu. It is also known as Addu Atoll by the tourists and the localites. It can also be referred to as historical site that gives evidences of the World War II as it was once the base camp of the British Navy and the Air Force. This place presents water touring, road tours in the form of hiking and biking and adventure sports options for the tourist along with a beautiful picturesque ambience, characterized by live coral reefs and exquisite fishes in the oceans.
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The Islamic Center is marked for its exuberant architectural art. The three storey building, marked by the presence of Masjid-al-Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu-al-A’z’am, the biggest mosque in Maldives, has a provision for accommodating 5000 pilgrims from all over the world. The inner wall of the mosque is exclusively decorated with intricate architecture in the form of wood carvings and Arabic calligraphy. It also has a well equipped library having a huge collection of Islamic books and sermons. The most striking part of it is the dome at the top of the mosque, which is made of gold.
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A three storey heritage building, situated in the Sultan’s Park of Maldives, National Museum exhibits the valuables, possessions and the belongings of the sultan of this place. Not only the interior of the building, but the whole surrounding, together, add up to the attraction of the museum. Thus, the twenty mosques around the main structure with their intricate coral carvings and traditional workmanship, is a must see for the tourists. Among these mosques one can also find the oldest 17th century mosque named Hukuru Miski. In front of this mosque is the palace of the sultan of Maldives, Sultan Mohammad Shamsudden III, which is marked for its delicate craftsmanship, architecture and coral carvings. It was built in 1906 and is known as Mulee-aage. Surrounding this area the cemetery with beautifully carved coral headstones are also fascinating to watch.
Artificial beach at Maldives
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Though the nature has blessed Maldives with natural beach and the ocean, but the tourists are not fortunate enough to enjoy water sports there since all the natural beaches are preoccupied for commercial activities. Keeping this point in view artificial beach has been build in the recent times to enable them freak out and o stroll lazily by the seaside in the late afternoon or the evening or swim and engage in water sports. To entertain the tourists further, carnivals, concerts, live music shows and parades are also held here.