16 / 31

Maldives Travel

Residents flock to the Male fish market in the evenings, when the catch has just been brought in. For centuries fishing has been the life-blood of the Maldivian economy though in recent years tourism has accounted for one-third of it. Deep-ocean fish (such as tuna and shark), reef fish (snapper and grouper) and large schooling fish are caught and traded at the market every day. The Maldives also exports tuna processed at a large canning plant on the island of Felivaru.

The Maldives in happier times

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago of 1,192 coral atolls (of which 200 are inhabited), is the smallest Asian nation. These islands, barely a few meters above sea level, are a magnet for wealthy tourists and scuba-divers: the former flock to their pristine beaches, the latter come to experience their wealth of stunningly beautiful coral reefs and marine wildlife. Over the last week, the Maldives, an Islamic nation, made international headlines for violent street protests culminating in a coup d’état that overthrew its elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, who has held office since 2008. The political situation is worrying for the Maldives’ economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism. Not long ago, the Maldives were the happy isles of the Indian Ocean. Reminiscing on a visit he made to the Maldives in 2010, Yahoo! India’s Travel Editor BIJOY VENUGOPAL presents a dramatic photo-essay of a happy-go-lucky yet strangely troubled island nation