Utheemu palace, Haa Alif AtollUtheemu palace, Haa Alif Atoll

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  • Off the path Explo
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    4.7 / 5
    You are right, even if this place is very symbolic for Maldive people, seems like it is not really famous for Western people. Nice Explo!
  • Article Quality
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    Article Quality rate
    • Score
      5 / 5
      Hello Haadee, you made a cool historical description. Nice tips also about what to see around. I like your story about the young boys and their heroes ;)
    • Score
      4 / 5
      Useful information is ok.
    • Score
      5 / 5
      Yes, many!
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  • Explo Popularity

The Island of Utheem is the birthplace of the national hero, Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, who with his brothers and his companions fought an eight-year long war to drive out the Portuguese invaders who occupied the Maldives from 1558 to 1573.

Utheemu Gan'duvaru (Utheemu Palace), the wooden palace, well preserved and evokes more than any other existing building in the Maldives, the lifestyle of the rich, centuries ago, is another Heritage site that is an essential stop on any tour to Maldives.

My experience, Explo description: 

Utheemu Island in Haa Alifu Atoll is arguably the most famous island in the country. Every Maldivian worth his salt knows something about the island and its history. They might be a bit vague on the details but one thing they will know with absolute conviction is that Utheemu is the birth-island of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, the greatest hero, the Maldives has ever known.

Although in the modern day Maldives is more likely to find young boys pretending to be Spiderman, Batman or even Ben 10, it wasn't that uncommon even two decades back to see young children pretending to be Mohamed Thakurufaanu and battling make-believe enemies on the beaches or inside their houses. Every boy wanted to grow up to be Mohamed Thakurufaanu, and visiting the island of Utheemu to see the birthplace of their hero, was something that all Maldivian boys dreamed of doing one day.

Mohamed Thakurufaanu became Sultan of the Maldives in 1573, after defeating the Portuguese army that had invaded the islands and gaining the country's independence. He is the patriarch of the Utheemu Dynasty, named after his birthplace, and eleven more sultans ruled during this dynastic period until 1692.

Being the birthplace of the country's greatest hero automatically bestows historical significance on the island, but with the added fact that the island also houses the extremely well-preserved wooden palace that he grew up and lived in, makes it a rare historical treasure. It is also the residence of the other rulers of the Utheemu Dynasty.

The Utheemu dynasty was created in 1573 when Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam became sultan of the Maldives. The dynasty was named after the northern Maldives island of Utheemu, birthplace of Thakurufaan. Thakurufaan is considered as a national hero, as he and his two brothers led a successful rebellion against the Portuguese and established the country's independence. Eleven more sultans ruled during this dynastic period which ended in 1692.

The kings of the Utheemu Dynasty, Sultans Muhammed Imaduddin I (1632 to 1648 AD), Ibrahim Iskandar I (1648 to 1687 AD), Kuda Muhammad (1687 to 1691 AD) and Mohammed Moheyeddin (1691 to 1692 AD) all descended from this island. Regents from Utheem also ruled the Maldives from 1573 to 1632 AD, but the legal (though unrecognised) kings of the islands during this period were the exile Christian Kings of the Maldives residing in Goa, India.

From 1602-1607, a French sailor, François Pyrard de Laval spent time on the Maldives, and gave a detailed account of the customs of the islanders during the Utheemu dynasty. His three-volume work was published in 1619 and is considered a valuable historical archive.

My personal recommendations: 

Although guests are allowed to visit the site of the palace, it isn't widely known among tourists. One of the reasons could be the lack of a proper jetty on the island.

Other places of historical interest in Utheemu include the "Badi Fasgandu" area, the old Kadhuvalhu mosque, and the Bodu Thakurufaanu Memorial Centre.

For a group of six and more, an English speaking licensed tour guide will be provided by me.

How getting there: 

Once you get down to Male ‘International Airport, you need to take a domestic flight to Hanimaadhoo domestic Airport or travel by local ferry to Utheem Island, Haa Alif Atoll, north of MALDIVES.

A tip to eat: 

In the Island there few local restaurants! But Advisable to take picnic meal packets!

A tip to sleep: 

Nearby Resorts in the Atoll.

Useful information: 
Open hours: 

All day long.

Visit duration: 

One to two hours

Entry fees: 



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