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Updated by Joanna James on Oct 12, 2020
Headline for Quick Facts About Maldivian Culture – There’s More to the Maldives than Beaches!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Quick Facts About Maldivian Culture – There’s More to the Maldives than Beaches!

The Maldives has inherited a rich culture over the years – a fact that might surprise most tourists. Indeed, as fantastic as the islands’ beaches are, its culture is just as amazing and worth looking into. Here’s a quick look at some of the important aspects of Maldivian culture.


Maldivian History

Despite the relative isolation and size of the Maldives, archaeological evidence indicates that people have inhabited the island for at least 3000 years! It is believed that the very first migrants arrived from the regions in the southern sub-continent like South Indian and Sri Lanka. Due to these arrivals, religions like Buddhism and Hinduism began to be practiced in the Maldives. Aside from these, there were several communities of pagan worshippers who worshipped the gods of the seas. Remnants of these cultures can still be seen in the form of ancient ruins and shrines to various deities. If you’re touring through the Maldives, places to visit don’t get much better than these ancient sacred sites


The Role of Islam

In the 12th century, Maldives was frequented by traders from the African continent. The traders brought their religion of Islam with them to the islands. Before long, Maldivians had embraced Islam and even today, most of the island’s populace are Muslims. As a result of this, there are certain things to be aware of if you are a first-time visitor to the Maldives. Essentially, activities like drinking in public are frowned upon and even prohibited at times. Additionally, if you’re planning to explore some of the more crowded towns here, you should try to dress conservatively – especially when visiting religious sites. Long pants and long-sleeved tops are generally a safe bet in this regard


The Language of the Islands

Dhivehi is the main language that’s spoken in the island, particularly in it the more centralised rural regions. The language has quite a few influences from neighbouring languages including Sinhalese, Old Sanskrit, and Arabic. The language also has its own script which is referred to as Thaana. It also comes in three major dialects and which version you’ll hear the most will depend on what island you’ll be staying at.


Heritage Sites and Landmarks

As alluded to earlier, there are plenty of heritage sites and historical landmarks dotted throughout the islands of the Maldives. These range from grand mosques to ornate temples dedicated to the Hindu Gods. Additionally, you can find several pagan ruins that pay homage to various elemental deities. Tours to these locations can be a great way to spend time in the Maldives. In fact, most major resorts – for example, the Adaaran Club Rannalhi – will include tours to some of these sites in their itinerary


Maldivian Cuisine

Maldivian cuisine is something you’ll grow to love the more time you spend here. Over the years, islanders have taken advantage of the natural abundance of coconuts and fish – these in turn have grown to become the basis for many signature Maldivian dishes. You’ll also run into an array of curries that have been accentuated with island spices. All of these amazing treats are sure to take your taste buds on a flavourful journey that you won’t soon forget.