“A surreal land of blue lagoons and soft white sands.”
Formerly known as ‘King’s Island,’ the Maldives is a surreal land of blue lagoons and soft white sands awash in an ocean of teal and indigo. Its beguiling name means ‘garland of islands’ in Dhivehi, the local language. Although no one knows who first named this glittering archipelago that stretches north-to-south across the equator, explorers, traders and travellers have been coming here for centuries – each generation as enchanted as the last.
Very little has changed since ancient mariners first sailed these seas. Just one-sixth of the country’s 1,190 islands are inhabited – mostly peaceful fishing villages nestled among the palms. The Maldives today remains a necklace of soft sand atolls laid out on the shimmering azure waters of the Indian Ocean.
Maldivian culture is a distinctive blend of the different influences that have shaped the isles over the years – from African drumming to Oriental jewellery-work. Perhaps the most important element is ‘bodu beru,’ the huge drum (made of coconut wood and either goat hide or manta ray skin!) that gives its name to the hypnotically rhythmic traditional form of music and dance.