The Maldives consist of total 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls. There are 200 inhabited islands, 80 islands with tourist resorts. These islands are situated to the south-southwest of India. If you study the islands, these are not single islands but are countless islands which have fragmented forming a giant ring-like coral.
In the past, it was a Sultanate under Dutch and British protection but gained its independence from the British in 1965. In the year 1968, it became the republic. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom ruled this land fr many years. He was re-elected five times, and many believed that these elections were rigged which turned to violent riots in the year 2003 and 2004. But in the year 2008, free and fair elections were held here, and that was the election when Maumoon Abdul Gayoom lost to Mohamed Nasheed. Again in the year 2011, the government was unstable as most of the Nasheed’s allies had left his government and they were acting as anti-government. There were also several protests that were seen those days. Eventually, Nasheed resigned in 2012. In the year 2013, Gayoom’s half-brother Abdulla Yameen won the elections defeating Nasheed.
The devastating Tsunami of 26 December 2004 inflicted heavy damage to the country. About one-third of the population was affected by the Tsunami. 15000 people were homeless, and 62% of the total GDP was lost in that natural calamity. The internatio9nal community came to the rescue of these people living in temporary shelter. As of December 2010, there are about 1600 living on temporary shelter.
The population here is Sunni Muslims. They have mixed culture of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab. In the islands alcohol, pork and dogs are not allowed. Non-Muslim festivals are also not allowed to be observed in the islands. The weekends here are from Friday to Saturday, and all the government institution is closed during this two days.
The visa policies here are very flexible as you can easily get 30 days visa on arrival if you have your travel documents and proof of enough cash. You can also extend your visa to 90 days if you want. For more information, please visit the Department of Immigration and Emigration website. AS Maldives is an Islamic country, there are few things which are prohibited, and tourists need to know that these are restricted. Here are those things:
- Alcohol, Pork and pork by-products
- Religious articles other than Islamic ones
- Narcotics and psychotropic drugs Pornography
There are several ways by which you can get around Maldives. You can avail boats, sea planes, and yachts. At night you won’t find any air taxi or boats, and that is why if you arrive here at night you need to stay in some hotel for the night.