Gamu Haiytheli monastery, (on) Gan Is., Laamu, MV

Raw data

"Gan […] is one of the inhabited islands of Haddhunmathi Atoll, administrative code Laamu and the proposed capital for the Mathi-Dhekunu Province of the Maldives. […]
This island should not be confused with other Maldive islands called "Gan" in Addu Atoll and Huvadhu Atoll.
The temple compound at one of the Buddhist sites in Gan Island
Gan Island has large ruins from the historical Maldivian Buddhist era.
A ruin called “Gamu Haiytheli” is situated on Mudhin Hinna in the Mukurimagu ward of the island. It is 91.5 m in circumference and 7.3 m in height. Local tradition says that this was the last Buddhist temple of the Maldives.
Ruins called “Munbaru” in an area called Kuruhinna. These were investigated by H. C. P. Bell in 1923 and a report with photographs was published in his monograph of 1940.[1]
The ruins in Gan were the best preserved ruins from the Buddhist past in the Maldives when H. C. P. Bell excavated some of the island's Buddhist remains, especially one of the stupas and a vihara at Kuruhinna. Recently, however, much vandalism has taken place at those unprotected sites and only scattered stones and mounds of coral rubble remain. [2]
Lat 1.915278, Long 73.543056"

Haddumatti Atoll, Gan Island, Kuruhinna Stupa

"Clarence Maloney examined 900 Maldivian islands and other geographical names and found that 'only four have Arabic or Islamic names, so it is clear that the whole country was populated and brought within a single civilisational system before Islam (1153), during the Buddhist period, or even earlier.' […]. Communities of villagers built Hindu/Buddhist temples, and the Vajrayana or Tantric cults seemed to predominate." - O'Shea (1998-2009)

"Artefacts dating from around the 3rd century CE up to the 12th century CE highlights the country's Buddhist past. Many of the islands located on Handunmathi Atoll's eastern reef have important Buddhist archaeological sites such as Dhanbidoo, Mundoo, Gan and Isdhoo. There are remains of a temple compound and a well known, well preserved Buddhist stupa at Kuruhinna on Gan Island. Buddhist artefacts found elsewhere are now in the National Museum in Male."

Maldives - administrative subdivisions

Input by: tmciolek, Sep 17, 2012

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 14 Jan 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Gamu Haiytheli monastery, MV.

General location of the Gamu Haiytheli monastery, MV.
Lat 1.89378, Long 73.53724
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2012.

Google Map link:,%20MV)&ll=1.89378,73.53724&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Gamu Haiytheli monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Maldives:Laamu, Haddhunmathi Atoll

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 1.89378, Long 73.53724 - based on the visual identification of the "Gamu Haiytheli" site in maps/satellite imagery, - tmciolek, 17 Sep 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Vajrayana - O'Shea (1998-2009)

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag: 0200-32p 0233-66p 0267-99p - tmciolek 14 Jan 2013
  • 0200-32p 0233-66p 0267-99p 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag: 1133-66c - tmciolek 14 Jan 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • "The loamafanu (copperplate government records used Maldives from at least the 12th century) were written in the curly Evela form of the Dhivehi akuru or old Maldivian alphabet, which has strong similarities with the Tamil Grantha script of the 7th century Pallava and Pandya dynasties. In certain documents, a form of old Nagari or Protobengali script is present, which shows that there are contacts with the centers of Buddhist learning of Nalanda, Ratnagiri and Vikramasila. These must have taken place from the 8th century onwards, when Buddhist culture revived and flourished in Eastern India owing to the patronage of the Pala kings of Bengal.'" - O'Shea (1998-2009)

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • archaeological

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

18. Available Printed Literature

  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 1]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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