After a good night’s rest followed by a hearty breakfast at the Prince Hotel & Residence, we departed for my first ever Putrajaya tour to check out attractions such as the Putra Mosque, Palace of Justice, Tuanku Mizan’s (Iron) Mosque, Prime Minister’s Office and while not the residence of the current Prime Minister, we visited the original Sri Perdana where Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, and one of the longest-serving leaders in Asia, Tun Dr Mahatir Mohamad lived from 1983 to 1999.
[Read also Afelda Ghani's write up Majestic Landmarks in Putrajaya as published in the Borneo Bulletin]
The Sri Wawasan Cable Suspension Bridge was built in 2003, spans 168 meters across the Putrajaya Lake in Malaysia. Designed by Perbadanan Putrajaya, the six lane suspension bridge also features pedestrian and bicycle lanes.
A view of the Putra Mosque or Masjid Putra and the Prime Minister's Office from the Seri Wawasan Bridge.
Making our way towards the Putra Mosque, we came across friendly tourists and accommodating locals getting acquainted and got them for a quick photo op before stepping inside the mosque (reminder to self: always remember to ask where they're from, makes photo captions more interesting)
The Putra Mosque (Masjid Putra) in Putrajaya is arguably its most distinctive landmark and one of the most modern mosques in the world. It is also a major tourist attraction here in Putrajaya with its astonishing glowing pink color.
According to an internet source, "The mosque is modeled after Persian Islamic architecture with elements derived from other Muslim cultures. Incorporating a mixture of Malaysian, Persian and Arab-Islamic architectural designs, the main entrance to the mosque is fashioned in the likeness of public building gates in Muslim Persia."
Upon entering the gates, visitors will come to a large courtyard which is known as the sahn. This airy courtyard is beautifully landscaped with palm trees, water taps and washing areas which are both decorative and functional.
The pink-domed Putra Mosque is constructed with rose-tinted granite and can accommodate 15,000 worshippers at any one time. The Putra mosque consists of three main functional areas – the prayer hall, the Sahn, or courtyard, and various learning facilities and function rooms. The prayer hall is simple and elegant, supported by 12 columns. The highest point below the dome is 250 feet above ground level.
The 650-hectare Putrajaya Lake is designed to act as a natural cooling system for the city and for recreation, fishing, water sports and water transport. So happened that two men appeared in a boat illustrating recreational activity on the lake.
From the vantage point of the Putra Mosque is the magnificient view of the Putra Lake, Seri Wawasan Bridge and notably the Masjid Besi or Iron Mosque in the distance (left, metallic structure).
Architecturally similar to the Khalu Bridge in Isfahan, Iran, the upper level of the Bridge is a part of the Boulevard and connects to Dataran Putra and Perdana Putra. This unique twin-deck bridge provides vehicle, light rail, pedestrian access and also accommodates restaurants with its main pillar supports.
Next to the Putra Mosque is the Office of the Malaysian Prime Minister. This is one of my favourite architectural picks of the trip.
The interior of the mosque are divided to 3 areas - the prayer hall, the courtyard, learning facilities and function rooms. The highest point below the dome is 2500 feet above ground level.
Huge iron rod like chandellier adorn the ornate mosque. The Prayer Hall is simple and elegant and supported by 12 columns that prop up the 36 meters diameter main dome.
Women visitors are required to don pink robes (jubah) as they enter. To enter the prayer hall, women visitors need to cover their heads with the scarves provided.
Easily the most recognizable attraction in Putrajaya, leaving this place without taking a photo of this famous pink mosque (while clad in matching pink robes) in Malaysia is really doing yourself great injustice.
This six-storey natural stone clad office complex comprises the Prime Minister's Office, the offices of the deputy Prime Minister and Chief Secretary to the Government. The two lower levels of the building sit on a strong perimeter base which supports flutes columns rising across the remaining four levels. Perdana Putra Complex (Prime Minister's office) The base symbolizes the strong and stable foundation that is necessary to administer a dynamic and prosperous country such as Malaysia while the series of columns denote the orderly and united people that support the sovereignty of Malaysia.
With Taj Mahal-inspired architecture, the Palace of Justice house the judicial department and courts. The complex comprises five-storey building for the judiciary and a two-storey building to house the courts and the offices for lawyers, prosecutors, Judges' chambers, courtrooms, etc.
Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque (Iron Mosque)
Officially opened on Friday at the eve of the month of Ramadhan 1430 Hijrah, the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, or Iron Mosque is the second principal mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia after Putra Mosque. The official name of Iron Mosque is Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque. The name of the mosque was derived from the fact that it was built using approximately 6,000 tonnes of steel contributing to seventy percent of the entire building while the rest is concrete. The mosque is able to accommodate up to 20,000 people at one time. The RM208mil mosque catered to 20,000 worshippers and was completed on time. 565,408 tourists visited the Putra Mosque in 2008.
In case you're wondering who the slender gentleman in red is, that's Desmond, our ground handler for this mission. His striking red shirt gave me the contrast I wanted for this and several other scenes you'll see.
According to an internet source, the interior is decorated with calligraphy of Al-Asmaul-Husna while the entrance to the main prayer hall is adorned with verse 80 of Sura Al-Isra from the Quran.
The Iron Mosque features a district cooling system, and without assembly of fans or an air conditioning system. The mosque employs "Architectural Wire Mesh" imported from Germany and China, which is also constructed at the Santiago Barnabeu Stadium in Madrid and the Bibliotheque nationade de France in Paris.
Chai walks past the arch of the Iron Mosque towards the entrance of the main praying hall
The main prayer hall houses the Mihrab Wall that directs worshippers towards the “kiblat” (the direction of Mecca). The Mihrab Wall is inscribed with Quranic verses in the Nasakh calligraphic-style.
Taking centre stage of the grand interior of Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque is the large iron dome.
The Galeria Sri Perdana was the official residence of Tun Dr Mahatir Mohamad, the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, from 23 August 1983 to 18 October 1999. Tun Dr Mahatir was the first Malaysian Prime Minister I had met in person at the ASEAN-EC International HRD Convention in 2005 before meeting Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi also at the Brunei International Convention Centre. In keeping with the principle of heritage conservation, the original design and layout of the Sri Perdana has been preserved. We had a for-your-eyes-only tour of the entire residence as photography isn’t permitted beyond the art gallery.
A photo of with Afelda (Borneo Bulletin) and Chai (United Daily News) is about the only picture I that puts me there at the Galeria Sri Perdana. Each of us also penned our names on the visitor's log book.
Our visit to Galeria Sri Perdana coincided with the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival or (or MCAT 2010) which aims at targeting more high-yield tourists to come to Malaysia. The event was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister Y.A.B. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin on July 3, 2010. During Tun Dr Mahatir’s tenure as Premier, he spearheaded the ‘Malaysia Boleh’ campaign, the country developed at an astonishing pace and this is reflected heavily in the contemporary arts. Had we stayed longer, I would have loved to attend at least one of the 3 MCAT seminars: The influence of Mahatirism on Contemporary Malaysian Art.
MCAT 2010 is aimed at establishing Malaysia as a reputable destination for art aficionados in the region to enjoy and acquire contemporary art, with museum-quality pieces. It is also hoped to encourage owners of art galleries to launch new pieces by young artists that will set the trend for the next few years. — Tourism Malaysia
A Tourism Malaysia rep demystifies the artist's expression to his visitors
United Daily News Chai sees the light and everything now makes sense! :)
Being Malaysia's longest-serving Prime Minister, and one of the longest-serving leaders in Asia, Mahatir's reputation as one of Asia's most influential leaders and outspoken critic draw huge interests from Chinese tourists pictured here as we leave the premise.
If you’re in Brunei and would like more information about events or places of interest in Malaysia,
email Noorezamy or contact Tourism Malaysia Brunei office:
MALAYSIA TOURISM PROMOTION BOARD
Unit 1.14 – 1.15, First Floor, The Rizqun International Hotel
Gadong BE3519, Negara Brunei Darussalam
Tel: 673-2381575 / 673-2381576 | Fax: 673-2381584
Official Tourism Malaysia website