Showcasing the history, art and culture since 1952, the National Museum in Male, Maldives is an important site for those who want to experience more than the pristine beaches, white sand and colourful underwater life of this archipelago. The building that houses the museum also has an interesting history; it is part of the 17th century Sultan’s palace or the Maldivian Royal Palace. Unfortunately the rest of this beautiful building was burned out in a fire in 1968.
The new building of the museum is situated in Sultan’s Park and was gifted by China. Opened in 2012, this allows the old Sultan’s palace interiors to undergo renovation and showcase Maldivian architecture while becoming a tourist attraction in itself.
The museum has many artefacts from the pre-Islamic period of the Maldives, pieces that belonged to royalty including thrones, furniture, armour, arms and also coins. Costumes and shoes worn by royalty as well as ceremonial garbs with turbans, ornate belts and slippers are also part of the collection.
Key pieces on display are the coral stone head depicting Lord Buddha which is an 11th century artefact from the islands of Alifu Thoddoo, a wooden plank with engravings from Hukuru Miskiiy that dated back to the 13th century and Feyli Kolhu that was worn by a Sultan and showcases the remarkable weaving capabilities of ancient Maldivians.
In what was a sad incident, most of the museum’s pre-Islamic period displays were ruined during an attack in 2012. As there were mainly made of limestone and coral, resurrecting them was impossible since they had all been turned to powder. Among the notably damaged objects were a six faced coral statue, a 46cm tall bust of Buddha and many other coral and limestone statues. However, a visit to this site still offers a unique cultural insight that is sure to enthral visitors.
Accommodation in Maldives is something that tourists need not worry about considering the many star class options available. Staying true to an island philosophy many a Maldives resort can be found close to the beach. Anantara Dhigu Maldives, located in Dhigufinolhu Island, offers that true Maldivian hospitality and even has a coral adoption programme that works towards preserving this natural attraction.
Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+