During my visit to Kulhudhufushi I got my uncle to arrange a trip to the island of Utheemu , which was about 30 minute speedboat ride from Kulhudufushi. The island was the home of Mohamed Thakurufaan a local freedom fighter , who saved the country from the hands of Portuguese and later become the ruler of the country.
Maldives maybe small but it still has pieces of history left for us to discover. Between 1558-1573 Maldives was under the Portuguese rule and was saved by a man named Mohamed Thakurufaan ,who later became the ruler of Maldives. His story is legend, how he built his boat Kalhu ohfummi and went along with his two brothers and a few men organized a what they say a "popular revolt" against the Portuguese and finally gained control of the the country from the hands of the Portuguese. The day Mohamed Thakurufaan gained control over Maldives is now marked as National Day.
His home in Utheemu has been a made into a memorial place by the local government and has kept his home well preserved except for a few renovations to the roof and some of the walls of the home. Its a place locals visit and also to tourists , who are curious to learn about history of Maldives. The place is closed during week ends and public holidays. There is an entrance ticket at the office section and you have to wait for your guide at the gate of the palace or gaduvaru before you are ushered in. A guided tour is given inside, although we weren't allowed to take photos inside the home to prevent further damage to the preserved items.
We went off on a beautiful Sunday morning ( Sundays are working days in Maldives, as weekend is Friday and Saturdays) , and had a rather awkward landing as there is no jetty for getting down the boat. From one side of the island, its the soft sand , from the other end there are some rather large rocks ,which made it a lot easier to go down than a good leap onto the sandy shore.
|Heading off to see the Ganduvaru|
|A local in traditional clothes (libaas and kandiki) sweeping the road using a iloshifathi|
The island was very peaceful and quite, with few people, who were very proud of their heritage with national coloured flags around the island and banners. Because there were a few groups of locals waiting to enter the place, we had to wait for our turn to get in, so headed off to check out the Kaani gas ( a large Sea trumpet tree ) which is said to have grown from a piece of stick that Mohamed Thakurufaan had stuck on the ground to fix his weaving loom .
The kids still couldnt resist and got their feet wet in the water before we headed off to enter the home or palace ( ganduvaru) as it was known among the locals.
There were several interesting things inside, one being that a door that was hastily shut by one of the ladies of the house had refused to budge even today. Another where the reflection from outside, that falls on a curtain inside is seen upside down, unfortunately I couldnt take any photos, so you have to see for your self some day. The floor was covered with superfine sand. Most of the house was made of wood, although the roof was changed later, the original roof was made of thatched palm tree leaves.
|The front door into the home of Mohamed thakurufaan|
There was even a large hall where they held gatherings, prayer meetings and dinners.
|The great hall with a water well outside.|
The islanders have even made a children's playground ,so there was entertainment for the kids after a short history lesson. Since it was a hot day and since there was some time left before heading back to Kulhudhufushi, we headed off to find a place to grab a drink. The locals were helpful and showed us the way to an open cafe' .
|Wandering about the island|
It was great day, and I felt proud that we had great heroes and to see how simply they lived in those days, even now, one thing I noticed in the islands that I have visited, was life is so peaceful and less hectic compared to the chaotic roads in Male' city.