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Facts About Maldives

Regional Population: 349,106

Local Currency: MVR

Latitude: 3.2027780

Longitude: 73.2206800

Perilously close to sea level, Maldives, a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean southwest of India, consists of 1,190 coral islands, of which 200 are inhabited. According to legend, KoiMale, a Sinhalese prince was stranded with his wife in a lagoon and stayed as the first sultan to rule the country. From 1153 to 1887, the country was governed as an independent Islamic sultanate, becoming a British protectorate in 1887 until 1965. The sultanate returned briefly, but in 1968 the country became a republic and assumed its present name.

Resorts are located on 80 of the inhabited islands. White sandy beaches, crystal clear lagoons and underwater coral gardens provide the idyllic island experience. In the capital of Malé, the fish market and local market on the northern waterfront offer a range of fresh fish, local produce and homemade sweets amidst a hubbub of activity. On almost every inhabited island, Bodu Beru troupes, performing the most popular music and dance on Maldives, appear regularly at special functions and festivals.

If you want to visit Maldives, do it soon. Rising sea levels threaten to engulf the islands, the highest point of which is less than eight feet above sea level. Faced with the prospects of a home washed away, the country’s new president, Mohamed Nasheed, has considered putting aside a portion of tourism revenue to purchase a new residence for the Maldivian population of 370,000. Perhaps the proposal is a bit wild, but time may be running out for this island paradise.

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