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Utheemu Ganduvaru: Portal to Maldives’ national freedom



The Maldives, often celebrated for its sun-kissed beaches and turquoise waters, also offers a rich tapestry of history and culture waiting to be explored. Among the islands of Haa Alif Atoll lies Utheemu Island, home to Utheemu Ganduvaru, a historical treasure that invites travellers to delve into the storied past of the archipelago.

Utheemu Ganduvaru, the ancestral home of Muhammad Thakurufaanu, stands as a poignant reminder of the Maldives’ fight for independence. Thakurufaanu, revered as a national hero, led a successful campaign against Portuguese occupation in the 16th century. His childhood home, Utheemu Ganduvaru, offers a rare glimpse into the life and times of this legendary figure.

In 1558, the Portuguese invaded the Maldives, killing the Sultan in battle and establishing their rule. Muhammad Thakurufaanu and his brothers, Ali and Hassan, left for Minicoy to prepare a campaign to liberate their country. The boat they built, Kalhuohfummi, was crucial to their efforts. Thakurufaanu and his brothers fought the Portuguese for eight years, landing on different islands under cover of night to evade capture, and departing before daybreak. Eventually, they landed in Malé and defeated the Portuguese leadership in the capital. Freed from Portuguese rule, the people chose Muhammad Thakurufaanu as their Sultan.

Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu ruled the Maldives for 12 years until his death in 1585. He is remembered as a considerate and just ruler, concerned for the well-being of even the poorest citizens. He is also credited with establishing the country’s first formal military unit.

Back at Utheemu Island, visitors are immediately struck by the island’s tranquil beauty and its lush, green landscape. The journey to Utheemu Ganduvaru is a step back in time, where the echoes of history are palpable. The residence itself, a traditional wooden palace, is meticulously preserved, showcasing the architectural ingenuity and cultural richness of the period.

As you enter Utheemu Ganduvaru, the simplicity and elegance of the structure are apparent. Built from timber, the palace is a fine example of traditional Maldivian craftsmanship. The intricate woodwork, with its detailed carvings and polished surfaces, speaks volumes about the artisanship that flourished during Thakurufaanu’s time.

The main hall, with its open layout and cool, shaded interiors, offers a sense of serenity and reflection. It was within these walls that Thakurufaanu spent his formative years, and each room tells a story of his early life and the influences that shaped his destiny. The residence includes living quarters and storage spaces, all arranged in a manner that reflects the daily life of a prominent Maldivian family in the 16th century.

One of the most compelling aspects of Utheemu Ganduvaru is its connection to the larger narrative of Maldivian resistance against foreign rule. Guides at the site often recount tales of Thakurufaanu’s daring exploits and strategic brilliance. His knowledge of the archipelago’s intricate waterways and his leadership in naval battles are celebrated as key factors in the successful expulsion of the Portuguese in 1573.

Beyond its historical significance, Utheemu Ganduvaru offers visitors a deeper understanding of Maldivian culture and heritage. The site is a testament to the resilience and unity of the Maldivian people, embodying values that continue to inspire. For travellers, a visit to Utheemu Ganduvaru is an opportunity to connect with the soul of the Maldives, experiencing the essence of its history and the spirit of its people.

While on Utheemu Island, visitors can explore other points of interest, such as the island’s beaches and vibrant local community. Engaging with the locals offers additional insights into Maldivian traditions and hospitality, enriching the overall experience.

For those seeking a journey through time, Utheemu Ganduvaru in Haa Alif Atoll is a destination that should not be missed. It is a place where the past comes alive, where the legacy of a hero continues to resonate, and where the true essence of the Maldives can be discovered. As you walk through the halls of Utheemu Ganduvaru, you are not just a visitor; you are a part of a historical journey that defines the Maldivian identity.

So, when planning your next visit to the Maldives, venture beyond the beaches and dive into the rich history of these islands. Let Utheemu Ganduvaru be the highlight of your cultural exploration, offering a meaningful and memorable connection to the heart of Maldivian heritage.

Cover photo: Andreas Faessler


Earth, space camp adventures at COMO Maalifushi, COMO Cocoa Island this Summer



This summer, COMO Hotels and Resorts’ two Maldives properties are offering a unique and exciting line-up of activities designed to inspire and educate all ages. From an exhilarating Space Camp with astronaut-led adventures, to an immersive Earth Camp exploring the natural wonders at COMO Maalifushi, and the exploring the captivating universe under the ocean at COMO Cocoa Island.

Island Astronauts Return To Maldives: Space Camp at COMO Maalifushi

Join us for an unforgettable galactic quest from August 5th to 14th, 2024, at COMO Maalifushi, led by American astronaut Nicole Stott and space advisor Christina Korp. Inspiring for both children and adults, this Space Camp offers a unique blend of adventure and education through art, food, and movement.

Our immersive Space Camp features a fun-filled itinerary of complimentary space-themed island activities for ages up to, ensuring every moment is packed with excitement and learning. All camp activities are complimentary for children aged four to 16.

  • Postcards to Space: Participate in Nicole Stott’s “Postcards to Space” project by creating postcards with artwork and messages about your hopes and dreams. These postcards will be sent to space and returned to you with a “flown in space” stamp.
  • Spacesuit Art: Contribute to “Quilted,” a collaborative art project with children from around the world by adding your unique touch to a spacesuit.
  • Blast Off: Build your own rocket from recycled materials and launch it high into the sky for a thrilling blast off!
  • Protect Our Planet: Discover the impact of human activity on our planet from a space perspective, followed by a beach clean-up on a neighbouring island.
  • Galactic Gastronomy: Enjoy a stellar dinner under the stars, hosted by Nicole Stott. Hear about her adventures aboard the International Space Station while savouring a specially crafted menu.

Island Warriors: Earth Camp at COMO Maalifushi

From July to August 2024, younger guests can join us for a journey through the wonders of the natural world, on land and under the sea. Enjoy educational activities exploring everything from marine biology to traditional crafts, fun-filled fitness workshops, treasure hunts on our castaway island, and more.

Take advantage of our exclusive Family Getaway Offer when you book a stay of five nights or more for Space and Earth Camp. Adults will receive daily half board and complimentary full-board and seaplane transfers for two children (under the age of 12).

Universe Under The Ocean: COMO Cocoa Island

From August 16th to 17th, 2024, dive into the depths of the ocean with NASA astronaut and aquanaut Nicole Stott at COMO Cocoa Island. Experience the ocean through a guided reef dive, learn about the rigorous training astronauts undergo, and enjoy a specially curated menu shared beneath the stars.

Join us for these extraordinary experiences and let your imagination soar beyond the stars!

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Patina Maldives invites guests to embark on journey of artistry with Clay Studio partnership



Patina Maldives, renowned for its seamless blend of luxury, nature and artistic expression, has announced an exclusive collaboration with Clay Studio, the premier ceramics hub in the Maldives. The unique partnership brings a series of engaging and creative pottery experiences to guests of all ages, offering an enriching addition to their island stay.

Starting on 1 June, Patina Maldives invites guests to embark on a creative with Clay Studio, where they can explore the therapeutic and artistic world of ceramics. This collaboration offers a variety of immersive pottery classes that cater to both novice and experienced artisans.

Wheel Throwing Experience Taster Class

Guests can discover the soothing rhythm of shaping and molding clay in this engaging session. Perfect for unwinding and tapping into their artistic side, this class offers a hands-on introduction to the art of wheel throwing.

Hand Building Experience Taster Class

Participants will enjoy the intimate and expressive art of hand-building pottery. This class provides greater creative freedom, allowing them to craft intricate, personal designs that reflect their unique artistic vision.

Paint A Pot

Guests can unleash their creativity by transforming pre-made clay items into unique masterpieces. This session invites participants to paint their imagination onto cups, trinket dishes, and more.

Kids Clay Studio

Designed for young artists, this class nurtures creativity and imagination through fun, hands-on activities. Children develop fine motor skills and sensory awareness as they create their own unique pieces.

Couple Wheel Throwing Date

Couples can experience a romantic and unique activity in a private setting. This special session offers personalised instruction, making it memorable and intimate experience.

Guests can also enjoy personalised attention and exclusive guidance through private sessions. Ideal for families or couples seeking a bespoke experience, private classes are tailored to meet individual interest and skill levels.

Patina Maldives honours itself on offering extraordinary experiences that blend art, nature, community and connection. This collaboration with Clay Studio is a testament to the resort’s commitment to providing guests with sophisticated and fresh experiences that reveal new layers of possibility and inspiration.

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Kitesurfing kites: A comprehensive guide for beginners



Kitesurfing, also known as kiteboarding, is an exhilarating water sport that combines aspects of surfing, windsurfing, and paragliding. Central to this activity is the kitesurfing kite, a specialized piece of equipment designed to harness wind power and propel the rider across the water. The evolution of kitesurfing kites has been marked by innovation and technological advancements, making them more efficient, safer, and more accessible to a broader range of enthusiasts. This article delves into the various types of kitesurfing kites, their features, and how to choose the right kite for your needs.

Types of Kitesurfing Kites

There are several types of kitesurfing kites, each with its unique characteristics and suited for different styles of riding and conditions. The most common types include:

  • Inflatable Kites: These kites feature inflatable bladders that give them structure and buoyancy. They are the most popular type of kitesurfing kites and come in various shapes, including C-kites, Bow kites, and Hybrid kites.
    • C-Kites: Known for their predictable power delivery and responsiveness, C-kites are favored by advanced riders and those performing freestyle tricks. They have a distinctive curved shape that provides excellent control but can be challenging for beginners.
    • Bow Kites: These kites have a flatter profile and more extensive depower range, making them safer and more user-friendly. They are ideal for beginners and those looking for a versatile kite suitable for various conditions.
    • Hybrid Kites: Combining elements of both C-kites and Bow kites, hybrid kites offer a balance of performance and ease of use. They are popular among intermediate riders who want to progress in their skills without sacrificing control.
  • Foil Kites: Unlike inflatable kites, foil kites have no rigid frame. They rely on a series of cells that fill with air to maintain their shape. Foil kites are known for their efficiency in light wind conditions and are often used in racing and long-distance kitesurfing.
  • Delta Kites: Characterized by their triangular shape, Delta kites provide excellent lift and stability. They are easy to relaunch from the water and are suitable for a wide range of skill levels.

Key Features of Kitesurfing Kites

Modern kitesurfing kites come with various features designed to enhance performance, safety, and ease of use. Some of the critical features to consider include:

  • Depower System: A crucial safety feature that allows the rider to reduce the kite’s power quickly. This system is vital for handling strong winds and performing controlled maneuvers.
  • Bar and Lines: The control bar and lines are used to steer the kite and adjust its power. The length and configuration of the lines can affect the kite’s responsiveness and performance.
  • Relaunchability: The ease with which a kite can be relaunched from the water is essential, especially for beginners. Kites with good relaunchability can save time and effort during a session.
  • Wind Range: The wind range of a kite refers to the range of wind speeds it can handle effectively. A broader wind range means more versatility and fewer kites needed for different conditions.

Choosing the Right Kite

Selecting the right kitesurfing kite depends on various factors, including your skill level, riding style, and typical wind conditions. Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice:

  • Skill Level: Beginners should opt for kites with good depower, relaunchability, and stability. Bow and Delta kites are excellent choices for novice riders.
  • Riding Style: Freestyle riders may prefer C-kites for their quick response and control, while those interested in wave riding might choose a kite with a stable drift.
  • Wind Conditions: Consider the typical wind conditions in your area. Light wind areas may benefit from foil kites, while high-wind regions might require kites with robust depower systems.

Kitesurfing kites are the heart of the sport, and understanding their types, features, and how to choose the right one can significantly enhance your kitesurfing experience. Whether you’re a beginner looking to dip your toes into the water or an advanced rider seeking the next adrenaline rush, the right kite can make all the difference.

This informative article on kitesurfing kites was originally submitted by kitesurfing equipment supplier S2AS.

Visit Surface2Air Sports website to find more about kitesurfing equipment and accessories.

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