Island in Gaafu Alifu

This traditional, largely agricultural island is notable for its four ancient hawittas (Buddhist prayer mounds). Norwegian ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl discovered a limestone carving here, which he believed to be of the Hindu water god Makara. The statue must have been here before the Islamic period; it is thought to be over 1000 years old. Its significance, Heyerdahl believed, lay in the fact that it demonstrated that other religions aside from Buddhism permeated Maldives before Islam.