Often described as paradise on earth, the islands of Maldives are more than just sun, sand, and sea. These islands, scattered across the ocean like gems, have countless man-made and natural attractions, often untouched and naturally abundant. The historical stories behind some of these breathtaking sights are fascinating to say the least.
One such intriguing place in the Maldives is the “Paree Fengandu” or “Fairy Pond”, a freshwater pond nestled amid the lush greenery of Gan island of Laamu Atoll, the largest natural island in the country.
Although Maldivian islands are surrounded by the ocean, freshwater ponds or wetlands of this sort are rather rare. In fact, there are less than 50 such bodies of water found in a few local islands. Such wetlands and bodies of water play a crucial role in the larger ecosystem of the islands. They are a natural defence mechanism that protects the islands from flooding and other natural phenomena.
The islanders of Gan are incredibly proud of their Paree Fengadu. They’ll often say that you have not visited Gan unless you saw the Paree Fengandu.
If you ask someone from Gan about Paree Fengandu, they all have a story to tell. The story is either one they encountered themselves or a second hand account of an incident someone they know experienced. Some of the older generations speak of mysterious occurrences, sightings near or at the Paree Fengandu. Some say they have seen fairies flying just above the surface of the water, human looking spirits or a mythical looking animal rising from the water or simply standing near its edge.
The pond in Gan is also linked to many mythical fables and folklore. Some used to believe that Paree Fengandu is bottomless and have swallowed the trees surrounding it, while others have said it is not bottomless, rather it leads to the gates of hell. That’s why some locals call it the “Naraka Fengandu” which translates to “Hell Pond”.
But the locals have debunked the ‘bottomless’ speculation when they measured the deepest end of the pond, which was at around 28-30 meters deep, making this the deepest pond in any island in the Maldives. Some explorers have noted that there is an unexplored cave underneath the Paree Fengandu.
On top of it all, the pond is one of the most picturesque spots you could visit in Gan. It looks rather enthralling, is surrounded by box-fruit trees, red mangroves, and abundant forestry. The falling leaves of these trees and algae in the water creates a red, orange hue with patches of green here and there, giving this body of water a mythical look. Freshwater tilapia and other species are often found in the Paree Fengandu, where locals often take a dip to cool off in the afternoon heat.
And if you ever come our way, make sure to see if you can do a day trip to Gan or better yet stay in one of the hotels in the island, so you can visit the “Paree Fengandu” and of course the many historical sights in this rich and diverse island.