Monday, November 9, 2009

The Maldives infact comprises 1190 islands, located along a 512 mile stretch....!!!

Island world of Maldives

By Srimal Fernando

The Maldives ,an equatorial nation situated in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean is a country with its own uniqueness. Though rising from a common plateau, the geography of the Maldives features diverse and exciting elements. The Maldives infact comprises 1190 islands, located along a 512 mile stretch.

The country is situated 500km from the Southern tip of both Sri Lanka and India. Male’ the capital of the Maldives is situated in the Kaafa. Atoll is a bustling affluent island which houses the intellectual elite as well as the seat of the government.

The People of the Maldives are unified by a common history. They are also united through a common language, Dhivehi. The language has its roots in Sanskrit. .

The countries first settlers were Ariyan immigrants from India who were believed to have colonized Sri Lanka around 500B.C. External nations influenced the Maldivian life significantly. In 1153 A.D the Persian and the Arab travellers converted the people of this Island nation from Buddhism to Islam. After the conversion of the first known king of the Malay dynasty, the rulers became known as Sultans. The Malay or Thimuge dynasty lasted for 235 years. Under the rule of 29 different Sultans the Hilali dynasty prevailed until the Maldives became a Republic.

The country gained its Independence from Britain in 1965. Since November 11, 2008 His Excellency the President, Mohamed Nasheed has been governing the country and overseeing its administration.

The population of Maldives presently stands at 298,842 (2006) scattered across the 199 inhabited islands .The economy of the country has grown at an annual rate of 7.5% GDP. The per capita income of Maldives increased from USD 377 in 1978 to USD $3,654 in 2008.

Expansion of the tourism sector in the Maldives continues to achieve spectacular gain, recording a figure of 8,380,000. foreign tourist arrivals in 2007. The country has made the optimum out of almost 100 island resorts covered with lush green vegetation and numerous palm trees with sandy beeches, shallow lagoons and reefs with multi colored fish to develop tourism to great heights.

Fishing is the traditional livelihood of the Maldivians. The fisheries industry in the Maldives plays a major role in the countries exports. The traditional boats used for fishing are called Dhoni .The fishing industry provides job opportunities to the vast majority of the Maldivian islanders.

Agriculture is another sector in the Maldives which has been recently growing in quality and quantity .The government has introduced a range of incentives to enable farmers to boost production and attract foreign direct investment to the Agriculture sector. Planting is done during the South west monsoon season .Coconut ,Banana ,Chilies ,Cucumbers and Papaya are the main agro based crops which are grown in the islands of the Maldives

The Maldives has passed 44 years of independence. The growth and achievements of the Maldives since independence are outstanding .The socio- economic background from Haa Atoll in the Northern tip of the Maldives, to Seenu Atoll at the Southern end is both vast and diverse. If one is to understand and experience the marvels of South Asia, the Maldives is surely not a place to be missed!