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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Things You Did Not Know About The Maldives (And You Should) - The kinks and quirks that highlight its beauty
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5 Things You Did Not Know About The Maldives (And You Should) - The kinks and quirks that highlight its beauty

Everyone knows about the clear waters and white sands of the Maldives, but if you really want to get to know a place you have to know its little quirks and eccentricities as well. Here are a few!

1

Built by an Exiled Prince

The first proper Kingdom in the Maldives came in the form of Sri Soorudasaruna Adeettiya, an exiled Indian Prince. The Prince established the Adeettiya Dynasty, also known as the Solar Dynasty, reportedly prior to 269 BC. Prince Adeettiya and the history of the Dynasty he established are little known, with much of the tale being mixed in legend. The Solar Dynasty is thought to have ended with the marriage of one of its queens to a prince of the Lunar Dynasty, which was the reigning dynasty of Kalinga, Prince Adeettiya's birth home, at the time.

2

A Cabinet Meeting Under Water

The Maldives is the lowest country in the world, rising only 1.5 metres above the water. Unfortunately, this means that while most other countries have a few more decades to adapt to climate change, the Maldives is in very real and immediate danger of its devastating effects. In an effort to bring his concerns and his plans to public attention, President Mohamed Nasheed of Maldives moved his cabinet meeting of October 2009 to the bottom of the ocean. He and 13 other officials of the Maldivian government donned scuba gear and strapped themselves on sunken desks on the ocean floor. The president also had several sustainability projects he wanted to bring to light, including plans on sustainable tourism and completely biodegradable resorts, as well as, ideas on how they can harvest all renewable energy on the island like water, solar and wind.

3

An Election Rigged, a Coconut Detained

The people of Maldives are intensely superstitious and even believe in black and white magic. So much so that in September of 2013, coconut was accused of rigging their election. Coconuts, in Maldivian culture, are thought to be a popular ingredient in black magic, so when police discovered one questionably placed outside a polling station, it was immediately detained and a white magician was called to investigate further. After an extensive search, the white magician declared the coconut untouched and free of curses and the case was closed.

4

Sailors of the Past

A holiday at a luxury hotel in Maldives will usually comprise of an encounter with a dhoni or two at one point or another. Dhonis are an integral part of Maldivian culture, history, and economy and are used by the hundreds on a daily basis for fishing, travelling and transporting goods – they have been a part of Maldivian life for centuries. While most forms of transport have evolved with time to imbibe modern technology, some dhoni's still, amazingly, remain a thing of the past. There are some Dhoni captains and crews who do not use GPS or even compasses, for that matter, to navigate – they travel expertly through labyrinthine coral reefs with nothing but the bow to guide the vessel and sometimes, on clear, starry nights, the constellations. Riding on a dhoni is actually something you can easily do when in the Maldives, and there's plenty of information online, especially on hotel sites like Velassaru Maldives.

5

The Harmonious Shark

The Whale Shark is the world's biggest fish, and like whales, they are an immensely peaceful species. They are slow, grow to about 12 metres in length and feed exclusively on plankton. Unfortunately, as is the fate of many large marine species, it is endangered. The Maldivian archipelago is one of the few places in the globe where the species can be seen throughout the year!

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