This year, the small island nation of Maldives is celebrating its National Day on 18th of October, the first of Rabī’ al-Awwal. The occasion has once again brought flashbacks of the nation’s unity and reminded of those who fought for freedom and future of the country.
The National Day is widely observed to celebrate the victory of Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam over the Portuguese occupation in the year 1573. The Portugee took over the country in 1558. Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam along with his two brothers and companions led a local revolt when the Portuguese attempted to impose Christianity on the Muslim population. The attacks drove the Portuguese out of Maldives and ended fifteen years of colonial rule.
Due to the ongoing crisis, you might not be able to experience the colourful occasion like the previous years, where parades and route march lights up the streets of Malé and many of the islands. However, one of the best ways to take part in the National Day of Maldives is to explore the historical Utheemu Ganduvaru, birthplace and home of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu.
Utheemu Ganduvaru is a popular cultural attraction located in the small inhabited island of Utheemu in HA atoll. The 500 years old wooden palace has been very well maintained over the years and reflects on the lives of the affluent many years ago.
Along with the fascinating design of the building, visitors are likely to enjoy the beautiful beach of Utheem Island and warm hospitality. If you’re seeking luxury accommodation, Amra Palace Laamu, J Resort Alidhoo, JA Manafaru and The Barefoot Eco Hotel are some of the top picks.
However, the most interesting feature of the wooden palace is not the white curtains, antique lamps and swing beds. In fact, it is a small hole in the wooden wall. When you look through the hole, whatever you see is vertically reversed!
The Utheemu Ganduvaru is one of the most valuable historic assets of the country and is the proof of the excellent craftsmanship of locals.