Bandaara Kilhi

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Bandaara Kilhi (literally "State Lake") is one of the two fresh water lakes in Fuvahmulah, Maldives. Located mainly in Maalegan ward of the island with a small part extending to Miskiymagu ward as well, the lake has an area of approximately 0.058 square kilometers and an average depth of 12 feet making it the largest lake by volume in the Fuvahmulah. Bounded by dense vegetations of mainly ferns, Screwpine, tropical almond, cheese fruit, Banana trees, coconut palms and taro fields plus mango trees as well to an extent, among the creatures which inhabit the lakeside are the common moorhen, which is a bird exclusively found in Fuvahmulah only in the Maldivian archipelago and Maldivian white-breasted waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus maldivus), which is an endemic species of the Maldives.[1][2]

In the past, fish was farmed and harvested in the lake. However, today fish from the lake are not used for eating. Unlike, Dhadimagi Kilhi in the north of the island, Bandaara Kilhi is not used by the locals for swimming due to the depth and muddy shorelines.[3]

In connection with the opening of Fuvahmulah Harbour in 2003, a jetty and an observation deck was built at the Bandaara Kilhi to make the place more accessible.[3] Later, in 2011 the place was modified to include two huts and a restaurant designed in Maldivian cultural style with the roofs thatched with coconut palm leaves. The restaurant which was built has started functioning under the name of Lakeside Restaurant. Visitors on sightseeing trips to Fuvahmulah and customers to the Lakeside Restaurant enjoy feeding the tilapia and different creatures which inhabit the lake while riding the boats currently being used in the lake.[4][2]

Bandaara Kilhi has been declared as a Protected area of Fuvahmulah by the government of Maldives on 12 June 2012 and the Atoll Council of Fuvahmulah has also passed a Decree to establish the place as a Protected area on 19 January 2012.[5]