Anantara Kihavah Maldives introduces their “SKY Gurus”

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Anantara Kihavah’s overwater observatory, SKY, which is combined with a luxury cocktail bar, is equipped with one of the most powerful telescopes in the region. The resort’s two resident “SKY Gurus”, Zunnoon Ahmed and Ali Arushal, educate guests with local knowledge of the Maldivian sky. 

Zunnoon’s fascination with the night sky evolved into a passion for astrophotography when he was 16. He collaborates with online telescope operators, engaging in astro imaging to capture glimpses of the cosmos through remote telescopes. He initially joined Anantara Kihavah in 2017 as an IT Coordinator and now serves as Assistant IT Manager by day and SKY Guru by night. Zunnoon developed his celestial passion by volunteering to study stargazing under the supervision of the resort’s first SKY Guru, Ali Shameem.

Over the next five years, Zunnoon conducted research, took theory tests and participated in stargazing demos as part of his detailed training process. “We all have a natural curiosity to understand the world around us. And the night sky, with its myriad stars, has always been a source of wonder and questions. Stars often hold cultural and mythological significance in various societies.” Zunnoon commented. 

“Many cultures have created stories, myths, and legends based on constellations and individual stars, adding a sense of mystery and importance. We regularly witness awe-inspiring solar eclipses, captivating lunar eclipses, mesmerizing meteor showers, and enchanting planetary conjunctions in our cosmic spectacle.”

Ali Arushal joined Anantara Kihavah’s transport department in 2021, and his fascination with the night sky resulted in him volunteering to train as the resort’s next SKY Guru. One and a half years of research, theory tests, reading assignments, and stargazing demonstrations allowed him to become a SKY Guru. 

They both guide guests from the observatory telescope which has a viewing capacity of 30 million light years away. The locale gives guests an opportunity to see lunar eclipses, stars and planets invisible from Europe or America. SKY is the finest over-water observatory in the Maldives, built with a 3.8 meter revolving Ash-dome and equipped with a research-grade Meade 16” LX200 telescope with a magnification of 400x mounted on a super-giant field tripod.