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The island of Billefahi, Shaviyani's charm

Ruby Amir
09 January 2022, MVT 15:33
Aerial view of Shaviyani Bilefahi -- Photo: Ahmed Nazim
Ruby Amir
09 January 2022, MVT 15:33

The island of Bileffahi embodies the classical Maldivian template illustrated in postcards. The distinctive hues of blues fringed with swaying coconut palms descended on the whitest of beaches; it confirms the aesthetics of tropical utopia. The island, located in the north of the country, is part of the Shaviyani Atoll, a coral atoll with a variety of topographical biospheres. The unique qualities of the mangrove environment found on Farukolhu, an island in the atoll, was recently proclaimed a reserve. The atoll's islands are considered to be ecologically rich and stunningly attractive.

The islanders' engaged, dynamic personality, combined with the island's indigenous experiences, creates a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The compact group that makes up Bileffahi's livelihood excels at resolving conflicts by adapting favorably. In the atoll, the island has prospered in the fields of carpentry and traditional handcraft, which have become the two pillars that support its way of life.

Maldivians are well-perceived for their handicraft abilities. This has been the standard since the earliest settlements; a practice that has evolved over time, with several atolls specialising in diverse handicraft manufacturing. Bileffahi is noted for its skill in basketry, or 'Rukufathi,' which involves using the woody skeleton of palm fronds to create traditional household items like sieves and winnowers.

The men of the island are expert carpenters who know the ins and outs of the trade. Bileffahi has garnered credibility throughout the atoll for carpentry, constructing some of the best work in the profession, as regional stars of their chosen field of work. The islanders' way of life relies around protecting their trade and cultural heritage for emerging generations.

Bileffahi stays faithful to its Maldivian roots, with lush natural surroundings that envelop a way of life that is as welcoming as a gentle breeze. The islanders are quick to welcome tourists into their houses, despite their humble mediocrity. The residents' communal relations are characterized by kind deeds extended to strangers. Their determination to live in a self-sufficient community is contagious.

Today, the island is a paradise for ocean lovers with a dash of adrenaline in their eyes, as well as a calm, safe, and restful spot to take in the island's beauty. Visitors to Bileffahi are equally likely to spend the day on the beach with friends or islanders as they are to allow room for rare migrating birds to nest or turtles to hatch. It's not uncommon to see a group of herons forming a line on the beach, analyzing the waves in front of them, content in their surroundings. The distinctly Maldivian culture of Bileffahi has a lot to offer, signifying the irresistible charm of Shaviyani Atoll.

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