Very much a part of the heritage of the Maldives is the traditional boat known as the dhoni and here are some insights on this humble sailing vessel.
Part of Local Living
These boats are part of the local life and are popularly used for transporting people and goods as well as fishing, a key part of the economy. In the Maldives, places to visit such as nearby islands are often visited via a dhoni, while private island resorts such as Adaaran Club Rannalhi even offer special excursions on them.
The dhoni’s design was influenced by age-old Arabic dhows used in the 11th century. The construction of these boats also employed traditional methods that were passed down from generation to generation. While they initially served the purpose of transport and for trade, these vessels became commonly used by fishermen too.
The Dhoni’s Evolution
Initially, the dhoni was constructed out of the wood of coconut trees which the country has plenty of. The shape and structure of this boat evolved over time as well to suit varying conditions; today, dhonis can be found made from imported woods and with various modern additions too like a diesel engine apart from the traditional sail.
As mentioned earlier, resorts in Maldives have adapted and upgraded dhonis to offer guests a variety of excursions aboard them be it to visit local and uninhabited islands or to catch sight of sharks in the morning! Some also offer fishing adventures on a traditional style dhoni amidst a glorious sunrise or spectacular sunset.