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More than a 1000 beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean across the Equator .......
probably the most beautiful anywhere!   Perhaps the best way to see these tiny
coral islands and reefs is by cruising through them.Whilst some people prefer
to a sail  on a live-aboard safari yacht,  others love to be lazy and
lie on the white sandy beaches enjoying the sea and the sun.
With us you can do all of that and much more...
 Maldives,is an independent Republic. An international airport provides access, with regular
flights from Singapore and Sri Lanka, as well as a growing number of other countries. Modern telecommunications facilities keep the Maldives in contact with the rest of the world.
 Population : 238,000, growing at 3% per annum.
Language : Divehi, an indigenous language spoken only in the Maldives.
Most people in Male and tourist resorts speak English.
Religion : Islam. Maldives is perhaps the only country with a 100% Muslim population.
Islam was introduced around A.D.800, and the moderate form practised in Maldives
has remained virtually unchanged.
Principal industries : Fishing, tourism.
 No larger on the map than a few ink splashes by a busy cartographer, the Maldive Islands stretch
from the south western tip of India all the way to the Equator. One of the most attenuated countries in the world,
the 1,196 islands, in 26 distinct coral atolls, are spread over a total area of 90,000 square kilometres (about 36,000 square miles)
of the Indian Ocean, yet less than 0.5 percent of this is land. Some 200 of the islands are inhabited. Until the arrival of
tourism, fishing was the main occupation in this nation of seafarers, and the relaxed pace of life seems to have carried
over into the twentieth century. The graceful sailing dhonis of old may have given way to motorised versions,
but fishing with pole and line is still a common site throughout the islands.
The Maldives has the most beautiful tropical scenery, graceful coconut palms leaning over crystal-clear lagoons,
coral reefs promising great snorkelling and scuba diving, and lots of sunshine. In fact, all the ingredients that make
up the classic desert island. With the increasing pace of life in the modern world, it has become the ultimate
getaway for those who like sun, sand, sea and doing nothing ...the last Paradise.
The Maldives has gained a reputation as one of the best diving destinations in the world. And deservedly
so with  hundreds of breathtaking dive sites, a colourful and fascinating underwater world, perfect conditions
throughout the year and a visibility every photographer dreams of  "An Oasis in the Ocean" . Few places on earth quite
rival the Maldives' coral reefs in terms of beauty and variety. As one flies over the reefs, the aerial view presents
one huge abstract painting of bold green strokes against an infinite blue canvas. But seen from beneath the surface,
it is a living kaleidoscope of everchanging colours, patterns, shapes and textures that never fails to fascinate.
Indeed, the coral reefs of the Maldives have been rated some of the most impressive, with an endless
variety of marine life beyond our total imagination. The word "atoll", which describes the fringing
reef around a coral island, is Maldives' contribution to the English language.
As varied as the corals that grow on the reef are the thousands of marine creatures that live in and among them.
Like the corals, these highly diversified inhabitants have evolved to live in the oasis of this ocean, finding in it food and shelter. For the wide spectrum of animals, life on the reef is a precarious affair. The rule of the game is survival and nothing goes to waste. No feeding opportunity is ever over-looked. From the minute zooplankton to the largest of fish,
every species is part of an intricate food chain that makes up the reef eco-system.
The Call of the Sea
 Through the years, the dhoni has evolved to tackle treacherous coral reefs and the narrow channels
between the atolls with ease. Despite the onset of modernization, there have been few changes to her form,
a testament to the skill of the ancient shipwrights. Faithfully serving the sea-bound fishermen and travellers
through the generations, the dhoni has established herself as an inextricable part of Maldivian culture.
 Like their forefathers, the Maldivians still look to the sea for many of their needs, the most important being food.
Fishing remians the main occupation of the Maldives, and fish the main source of protein..
Traditional fishing practice makes use of a pole-and-line fishing method on a "masdhoni."
Schools of fish are located in the open sea with the help of sea-birds. Using tiny bait-fish, the bigger fish are
lured to the hooks after being driven into a feeding frenzy by the beating of the water.
Fishing for a livelihood is very much a team event and, on a good day, adept fishermen
can fill a dhoni in less than two hours.
MALE City of Contrast
A few minutes by boat from Hulule International Airport brings one to the capital city of Male (pronounced "Maa-Lay"). Approaching Male, the most eye-catching feature is the golden dome of the Islamic Centre,
a reflection of the prominence of Islam in the lives of the Maldivians. The city of Male is the centre of all trade,
commerce, administrative and governmental affairs in the Maldives. It is also a meeting place for
boats and people from all over the atolls and from the growing nuumber of tourist resorts.
 By any physical measure, Male is small, especially for a capital city, but with an area of approximately
1.8 square km and 60,000 people, the population density is amongst the highest in the world.
Add to this the thousands of islanders and tourists who come here daily, and the situation can get pretty tight.
A walk from one end of the island to the other takes about 20 minutes, which gives wonder to the hundreds of motor cars, pick-ups, lorries and motor-bikes that blast their way through the narrow streets at about 25km per hour.
For Map of Maldives
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