air, they look like a thousand shimmering jewels in a
sea of velvet, an artist’s fantasy or a
photographer’s dream. The
Maldives, meaning ‘garland of island’, has occupied
a special place in the hearts of its visitors, reflected
even in the very first writing about it. Marco Polo
called it ‘flowers of the Indies’; others believed
it was ‘one of the wonders of the world’.
1190 islands of the Maldivian archipelago are grouped in
19 geographical atolls. Dhaalu Atoll,
150 kilometers (93 miles) from the capital, known also
as South Nilandhoo Atoll, is easily accessible by
seaplane from the international airport. It counts eight
inhabited islands and two resorts.
located at North-West of Dhaalu Atoll, is marketed as
the ‘Jewelers Island’ in the British Admiralty
island is famous for its skilled jewelers and craftsmen.
Hundreds of years ago the Sultan banished his chief
jeweler to Ribudhoo for stealing the gold that had been
placed under his care. The exiled jeweler taught his
skills to the islanders and they have continued to pass
down this skill from father to son. Another version is
that they developed their skills on gold taken from a
shipwreck in the 1700s.
beach of Ribudhoo (thundhi) is located on the
southwestern end of the island.
Ribudhoo, there are three mosques. The oldest mosque is
located a few steps from Villa Stella and it has some
woodcarving decorations. From the main mosque the
muezzin calls the Muslims to prayer five times a day.
The women’s mosque was completed in 1995 and it is
surrounded by a beautiful garden.
is located around fifty meters in front of Villa Stella.
It has a large courtyard with a volley court. The school
was recently upgraded. There are three classrooms that
host different groups of students during the day.
is famous in the entire archipelago for its finest gold
bracelets, earrings, rings are created according to an
old process with traditional tools such as a little
anvil and a kerosene lamp, the fulhi-batthi. Few
families still work on the island, since many of them
have gone to Malè or to other islands in order to
benefit better businesses. The local jeweler generally
works under a palm-tree. The entire family helps the
jeweler with the production.
and Local Traditions
find in Ribudhoo other type of crafts or local
traditions. You might discover the handcraft of the
coconut rope and of mats made with rope and coconut
leaves, the rhythm of the bodu-beru drums, the smoke of
the hookah, a kind of nargilè where the tobacco is
mixed with coconut palm syrup.
the biggest disappointment about the Maldives is the
lack of luscious tropical fruits and vegetables. Very
little is grown, because there is limited arable land
and the soil is thin and infertile. The coconut thrives,
and almost everything else is imported. Fish and rice
are the staple foods of the Maldivian people; meat and
chicken are saved for special occasions. Below is a
short list of the specialties that you could taste
during your stay at Villa Stella: mas huni (crumbled
tuna served with onions, herbs, coconut, chilly and
spices), mas riha (fish curry with white rice), garudia
(local fish soup served with rice, lime and chilly),
rihakuru (boiled garudia that becomes a hot sauce),
kurumba (juice and pulp of unripe coconuts), bambukeyo (fried
slices of bread fruit), hedhikaa (selection of little
sweets and savories served with a cup of tea).
popular sport of the archipelago is football that is
played all year round. In most of the islands there is a
football ground and every afternoon the young boys from
the islands play.
frangipani (called also ‘temple flower’) is the
flower-symbol of Ribudhoo. Majestic frangipani trees
overhang the mosques and the delicate perfume of their
flowers goes everywhere. The gum of this tree was used
in traditional medicines especially the kind known as
thoonu bes, a sharp treatment used to decapitate boils
and alleviate swellings. Another use of the temple
flower is for scaring away stray shrews that may come
into the house. Temple flowers laid out on the floor are
said to do the trick.
For reservations at Villa Stella, please contact: email@example.com