Our fourth enquiry took us to the island of Veyvah. We chose this island because an inventory made of the Maldives’ stone mosques in the run-up for a World Heritage application speak of a mosque there alleged to be 400 years old, one of the few surviving coral stone mosques in the country. Also the 2011 Heritage Inventory identifies several remains of historical interest there – a cemetery, a large banyan (nikagas) and a bathing tank. Thirdly, it was clear from aerial photographs that the modern settlement was largely restricted to the northern end of the island whereas the reported heritage was at the centre and south, so we stood a good chance of finding undisturbed archaeology. Finally, Veyvah sits close to the only two channels allowing access into the atoll from the east, and its neighbour is an island which Ragupathy and Mohammed connect with cowries (based on the name).
Much vegetation here!
The mosque is a fine coral stone building
Traces of former structures everywhere, as well as many gravestones.
And potsherd scatters
The December 2004 tsunami was mentioned to us repeatedly; this atoll was very affected. We were told that on Veyvah the freshwater lense was contaminated and the remains of past structures and walls were damaged and displaced.