Utheemu Ganduvaru is the birthplace and home of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, one of the most revered heroes in Maldivian history. Utheemu Ganduvaru, which translates to Utheemu Palace is located in Utheemu in Haa Alifu Atoll, in the northernmost extremes of the Maldives.
In 1558 the Portuguese invaded the Maldives killing the Sultan in battle and establishing their rule over Maldives. Mohamed Thakurufaanu, and his brothers Ali and Hassan left the Maldives to Minicoy to make preparations for their campaign to free the country from Portuguese rule. Kalhuohfummi, the boat they built for their campaign, played a crucial role in their efforts. The band of fighters led by the Mohamed Thakurufaanu and his brothers fought the Portuguese for eight years. In order to evade capture, they would land on different islands in the darkness of the night, fought the Portuguese and left before daybreak. Eventually they landed in Male’ and defeated the Portuguese leadership in the capital. Free from the shackles of the Portuguese, the people chose Mohamed Thukurufaanu as the Sultan.
Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu ruled the Maldives for 12 year until his death in 1585. He is recognized as a Sultan who was considerate, just and concerned for the well-being of the poorest. Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu is also credited with establishing the first formal military unit in the country.