After spending two blissful days on our island, we decided to venture out. Our plans for a submarine ride were thwarted by an uncooperative weather, so we headed for the capital of Maldives, Male (pronounced “Ma-ley”) City.
This is the home for almost one-forth of the country’s total population of 700,000. It is the base for all the economic activities as well as a few places of historical interest.
As soon as we got off our speed boat, a few tour guides made a beeline for us. There’s really not much to see in Male City. All the main attractions are within a square block radius. But we were travelling with our kids and to avoid any dangerous encounters, we hired a guide to “show us around”.
Grand Friday Mosque is the most significant place of worship in the Maldives, with its splendid design and lofty proportions drawing a steady stream of visitors. A relic of the 17th century created by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar the mosque can accommodate 5,000 persons. Many other mosques, churches and temples of historic value are to be found in the Maldives.
Below is the Grand Friday Mosque. We did not wander in as we were not too sure about the protocol and we did not want to offend or get into trouble.
The National Museum Maldives is located in the Sultan Park, which was a part of the Sultan’s palace. It is basically a conversion of the old palace building and houses a collection of historical objects that depicts the history and cultural heritage of the country. We were not keen to go in.
A little further down the road, we found something more interesting – the final resting place of the Royal family.
The graveyard and tombstones were not so eerie during the day, in fact, it was a well kept and serene environment.
Male Fish Market is one of the major tourist attraction. It is here that “dhonis” from different parts of the country unload the dried fish, fresh fruits and vegetables collected from the various atolls. The fish market is relatively clean and washed each day. But it is wet, so do walk carefully.
And apparently they are big fans of bananas because the market has huge bunches of bananas for sale on the sunny island of Male City.
There is really not much to do on the mainland of Male City. After walking around for about an hour, we had seen pretty much all there was to see.
There were some shops but the products they were retailing were very expensive and there were not much variety. So, if you are thinking of doing some retail therapy, this is really not the place.
We found a quaint little restaurant called Seagull and sat down for a bit of lunch and dessert. It was clean and the portions of the food were large and quite appetising.
On our way back to the coast to catch our ride back to our resort island, we saw many Coast Guard naval ships docked at the port. I am not clear if they are to provide security to the city of Male or to ward off enemies.
The visit to Male City was a bit of a wash out. So, we returned to the islands where the warm sea and white beaches of the private islands beckon.
Read about our experience feeding stingrays in Maldives.
Till our next post, love yourself, love one another.