Lhaviyani Atoll, also known as Faadhippolhu Atoll, is a Maldives administrative division. It is located in the northern Maldives and consists of 54 islands, five of which are inhabited, with a population of over 12,000 people.
Maafilaafushi, one of the inhabited islands of Lhaviyani Atoll, has a unique history. It was resettled in the 1980s to alleviate the scarcity of land in Malé, the Maldives’ capital city. Maafilaafushi, on the other hand, was once the capital of the separatist Kingdom of Boduthiladhunmathi. In the 16th century, Mohamed Rannabadeyri Thakuru, with the assistance of Adhi Raja of Cannanore, attacked Male’ and attempted to overthrow Sultan Ibrahim III (1585-1609). They were unable to take control of the capital Male’, so they fled to Faadhippolhu, where Mohamed Rannabadeyri ruled the Maldives’ northern atolls until he was deposed by Sultan Muhammad Imaduddin I (1620-1648).
Other inhabited islands in Lhaviyani Atoll include Naifaru, Hinnavaru, Olhuvelifushi, and Kurendhoo, in addition to Maafilaafushi. These islands provide a glimpse into traditional Maldivian life, with fishing and agriculture being the primary sources of income for the locals. Visitors can tour the islands and learn about the local culture and cuisine, which includes seafood and traditional sweets.
The Lhaviyani Atoll is also a popular water sports destination. The clear waters and abundant marine life make it ideal for activities like snorkeling, diving, and surfing. There are several dive sites on the atoll, including the famous Kuredu Express, where divers can see large schools of fish, manta rays, and sharks.
Lhaviyani Atoll’s tourism industry is expanding, with several resorts and guesthouses catering to visitors. Kuredu Island Resort & Spa, Komandoo Island Resort & Spa, and Hurawalhi Island Resort are some of the most popular resorts in the atoll.
Lhaviyani Atoll is also home to a number of significant environmental sites. The Faadhippolhu Atoll Biosphere Reserve, which was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2012, is one of several protected areas on the atoll. Several endangered species, including sea turtles and whale sharks, call this reserve home.
Lhaviyani Atoll is a one-of-a-kind destination in the Maldives, providing visitors with a glimpse into traditional Maldivian life as well as the opportunity to explore its rich marine life and natural beauty.