By Ruby Amir
Resembling a whale shark from an aerial point of view, with its far-reaching treetops, Kinolhas is the best-kept secret of Raa Atoll. The island’s history is linked to the famous Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta, who is known as the earliest influencer of Islam in the nation. It is said that the islands’ high trees with rows of coconut palms can be seen from the surrounding atolls. The island is one of the largest in the atoll, with 54 hectares of land enclosed in postcard-like stretchy beaches.
The biodiversity of Raa Atoll in its marine ecosystem makes it a haven for divers/snorkelers to explore corners of luminescent underwater habitats. There are fascinating neighbouring islands to venture onto, each offering a uniqueness. The first Maldivian resort with a museum is situated in this atoll, where you can tiptoe through the Maldives’ historical ambiguity.
An aspiring photographer who is a local of the island started the now trending hashtag #visitkinolhas, a well-received exposure to the island. The hashtag signifies posts in never before seen places on the isle, evoking curiosity in potential visitors. Finally ‘seen’ on the map for its eco-richness mingled with a friendly community, Kinolhas is gaining popularity in the bucket lists of avid travellers.
Kinolhas is vested in coir rope making, locally known as ‘Roanu Veshun’.This swift skillset was vastly used to construct traditional houses in ancestral times and presently, on boats. Coir rope making is a lengthy process lasting months with different process stages. It is a cherished culturally tied craft work that locals are keen to nurture for decades to come.
Ganduvaru beach is an area of the island’s picturesque shoreline, cordoned off for special occasions. Locals can use Ganduvaru beach as their gathering place for BBQs, weddings and similar events. It is a place where conversations flow and people gather to socially connect. The Ganduvaru beach is also open to locals from neighbouring islands who can pay a small fee to the council to use the area. The house reef of Kinolhas is another well-visited spot by tourists from neighbouring resorts who are enthusiastic to view the marine spectacles.
Kinolhas is one of those phenomenal spots that promotes simple living, with its natural beauty and its people who make one feel at home. The residents support a sustainable way of living with actions taken towards preserving nature. It is a beautiful island tucked away in Raa Atoll, surrounded by tranquil waters and high trees that scan the horizon.