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Maldives Seeks India's Help in Conserving Heritage
Sep 09, 2014

As its unique coral stone mosques vie for world heritage stamp, Maldives has sought India’s help to restore and conserve the symbols of its rich cultural heritage which attracts millions of tourists from world over every year.

Following the request of the neighbouring island nation, a team of four Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials had examined at least four historical mosques. The team had inspected four mosques located on different islands Vadhoo, Hoadehdhoo, Kudahuvadhoo and Naalafushi, surveying their status and studying how and in what manner the monuments can be restored and renovated.

These mosques belong from 16th century to 20th century. These mosques are most outstanding in their design, decoration and grandness. The walls of the mosques are built of finely shaped interlocking coral blocks. The amount of detail and decoration that goes into these buildings simply displays the extent of the skill of the local people. Built by various sultans, the colorful paints on the carved woods is still visible.

Because of their age, the monuments which are example of high quality artistic and architectural excellence are today facing issues like deteriorating facade and leakage and seepage which need to be mended. The ASI team is preparing a detailed report on various measures needed to be taken to restore and conserve these mosques. The team also want to study the inscription on the mosques which would throw more lights on their history. The ASI also happened to discover remains of Buddhist era during their visit at the islands.This is because the local people of Maldives practiced Buddhism until the conversion of Islam in 1153 CE.

Maldives is seeking UNESCO tag for its six mosques. These include the Friday Mosque in the capital Male; the ancient mosques in Haa Alif atoll Baarah, Kelaa and Utheemu; Dharumavantha Rasgefaanu Mosque, Eid Mosques and Kalhuvakaru Mosque in Male; the ancient mosque in Raa atoll Meedhoo; the ancient mosque in Alif Dhaal Fenfushi; the ‘Geiy Miskiy’ and ‘Kedeyri Miskiy’ in Fuvahmulah; and the mosque at the ‘Koagannu’ area in Seenu atoll Hulhu-Meedhoo.


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