For many countries, places of worship are part of their tourist attractions. For example, when we go to Turkey, it will not be complete if we didn’t visit its mosques because many of the beautiful Mosques there are the symbol of the great Ottoman Empire. After all, part of the reasons people travel to other country is because they want to learn and understand other people’s culture and way of life. Places of worship indeed offer a special insight into the beliefs and culture of a region.
Malaysia has a huge list of Mosques that are architectural wonder but for now I am going to focus on one mosque that is rated among the top five most visited tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur.
By Any Other Name
The mosque is called Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan but it is also known as Mosque in the Garden. Its location within a well-manicured garden and surrounded by a moat, makes it a sight to behold. The mosque is also dubbed Jewel of Kuala Lumpur because its many domes are like turquoise gemstones amidst the lush greeneries surrounding it. But, to the locals, it is simply known as Masjid Wilayah.
Masjid Wilayah is one of Malaysia’s largest and most modern of mosques. Visiting Masjid Wilayah will make you feel as if you are travelling into the best parts of the world and exploring the beauty of their artworks. This was because various designs, patterns and colours that had been adopted as the primary adornments of the mosque were from Turkey, India, Iran, Morocco and Malaysia
Masjid Wilayah managed to blend the exquisite and refined beauty of art and architecture with pragmatic sophisticated modern technology, making it one of the most photographed mosques in Kuala Lumpur.
As for the arch, it was decorated with woodcarving arts from Kelantan and Terengganu. meanwhile, the three beautiful carved wooden doors are based on floral motifs. If you look closely, you will see that the flower used in the motifs is lotus, a flower that shrinks in the morning and gradually opens during the day.
When you take a stroll at the courtyard, you will notice that the verandahs are influenced by the Moroccan architecture.
The prayer hall, which can house 17,000 people at a time, has significant Islamic designs and features. The mehrab (a semi-circular wall that indicates the direction of Mecca or qibla) has inlays of semi-precious stones embedded into carved marble. It was skillfully crafted by the descendants of artisans who built the Taj Mahal.
Inspired by the Sultan Ahmet Mosque in Istanbul and the Masjid Imam of Isfahan; the turquoise-glazed tiles which cover all 22 domes will definitely mesmerise the visitors of the mosque. The overall design, when viewed from below, has a very humbling effect.
Masjid Wilayah also come equipped with seminar rooms, a library, a banquet hall, a multipurpose hall, wedding hall, accommodation for students, as well as guest rooms.
There is a Tourist Information Centre located within the Mosque Complex named after the Islamic World’s most prolific traveler, Ibnu Batuttah, that caters to both local and international visitors.
There are five major entrances, which was named Anjung A, B, C, D and E, that is similar to the layout of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul. Multiple entrances and directional signages are to ensure maximum accessibility and convenience to congregants and visitors.
Mosque Tour Programme Masjid Wilayah
Many visitors to Masjid Wilayah have given testimonies that they have entered the mosque with curiosity and left enlightened. This was because the dedicated volunteers treated them just like friends. The volunteers shared not only about the beautiful architectural designs of the mosque but also the Islamic beliefs and culture. It is a knowledge-based tour, which can ignite your intellect, and it is free of charge. I must warn you though that even if your original plan to tour the mosque is about 10 minutes, you might find yourself staying for two hours instead.
For those volunteers, taking the visitors on the tour is like an act of worship, thus, they give nothing but the best as it is a service to God himself. At the moment, Masjid Wilayah has volunteers who can do tours in French, Japanese, Tamil, Mandarin, English and Malay.
Masjid Wilayah is not in the routine tourist routes and there is hardly any public transport facilities to go there. So, we have to find a way to visit this special mosque. As such, special arrangement has to be made by the visitors to visit the mosque. Nothing worth having comes easy, anyway, eh!
Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan
Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Kompleks Kerajaan,
50480 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Photo by: Fahrul Azmi @fahrulazmi, @best_malaysia_photo, & @hannannah_h