Maldives consists of 1,190 low-lying coral islands scattered across the equator, in groups of 26 naturally occurring atolls. These 26 atolls are divided into 20 for administrative purposes. The atolls of Maldives are part of a greater structure known as the Laccadives-Chagos Ridge, which stretches over 2000 kilometres. Faru or ring-shaped reef structures form the atolls and these provide natural defense against wind and wave action, on the delicate Maldives islands. The word atoll in English means ‘ring-shaped coral reef enclosing a lagoon’, is a borrowing from the Maldivian language ‘Dhivehi’. Male, the capital of Maldives is located in the middle of the atoll chain.
There are significant difference in atolls. Some atolls are in the form of a number of islands by time and in the form of isolated reefs, which could be classified as smaller atoll formations. The atolls of the Maldives form a quite regular chain. An arrayed structure in the northern and central atolls. The atolls of the Maldives are very complex structures and before they were very dangerous for navigators. Then comes the accurate maps of Maldives based on satellite surveys. Maldives is the prime destination of scuba divers. The many beautiful diving grounds of the numerous atolls of Maldives made it the most favorite diving spot.
The geographical atolls of Maldives are Ihavandhippolhu, Thiladhunmathi, Maamakunudhoo Etthingili Alifushi Atoll, Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi, Fasdhuethere (Fasdhuthere), Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi, Goidhu Atoll, Faadhippolhu, Kaashidhu Atoll, Gahaafaru (Gaafaru) Atoll, Male'atholhu Uthutuburi, Male'atholhu Dhekunuburi, Thoddu Atoll, Rasdhu Atoll, Ari Atoll, Felidhe Atoll, Vattaru Atoll (Falhu), Mulaku Atoll, Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi, Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi, Kolhumadulu, Haddhunmathi, Huvadhu Atoll, Fuvahmulah and Addu Atoll.