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4 Gothic Churches, the National Mosque, Malaysia’s earliest Hindu and Chinese temple is what I’ve discovered during my walk in Kuala Lumpur city yesterday. I’ve had this idea of finding heritage sites from the early days of Malaysia and embrace it’s beauty closeup for some time. Conjunction with the long weekend from Haj Celebrations, I’ve decided on my own version of Heritage Walk started from KL Sentral Railway Station.
A little walk from KL Sentral on Jalan Tun Sambathan, my first stop was at the Church of Holy Rosary. I was delighted as I admired the Gothic built of this church from the year 1903, especially it’s beautifully crafted stained windows depicting episodes from the holy bible. A mass was in the midway as I sat quietly and captured some of the interesting architecture of the hall. Outside, this place of worship still majestically stands on it’s ground as it’s being squeezed by high-rise buildings on it’s both sides.
As I was leaving Church of Holy Rosary, it was 10:15am and the heat is rising as I was sweating heat to toe. I quickly walked towards Jalan Sultan Hisamuddin to my next attraction, maybe for a shade to cool off. It was a huge shady stop as I arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. Still a functioning railway station to this day, Kuala Lumpur Station and it’s Administration Building on it’s opposite was built in 1911. Following Moghul Architectural design, the building complete with domes to show Islamic influence. I’m particularly attracted to it’s white color as if indicating “purity”.
Walking the length of the Railway Station towards the end of Jalan Sultan Hisamuddin means you are at the entrance of Masjid Negara or The National Mosque. Built in the year 1963, it’s the pride of Islamic Religion of Malaysia. As I was there, I could see pockets of tourist drop by for a snap. Largely, this place of worship overcrowded by local to fulfill their Friday Prayers. The road between Kuala Lumpur Station Administrative Building and The National Mosque, leads you to the National Planetarium which was my next stopover.
I spent an hour at the National Planetarium, enjoying various science displays and trying my hands on knowledge games. I had the opportunity to refresh my memory on our solar system and at the same gathered detailed information of planets’ density, orbit, temperature and distance of other planets from earth. Oh boy! I truly loved the Anti-Gravity room. There were also displays on 1st Malaysian into space, Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.
Following a visit to Planetarium, I crossed over Kuala Lumpur Station thru Pasar Seni LRT Station and came down to Jalan Sultan nearby Chinatown. My first visit was to Sri Maha Mariamman Temple along Jalan Tun HS Lee. The 19th century temple was built by a wealthy Indian Merchant in that part of the town, K. Thamboosamy Pillai, in year 1873. Over the years, the temple structure was shifted from it’s original location to it’s current place and renovated many times. Last renovation in 1973 with the built of 5-tier Gopuram. The temple Gopuram was an instant beautiful sight which will pull you into the temple ground. Outside, there’s facility to store your shoes before you head in. As I was there, the was on-going prayer with classical music filled the air.
As it’s almost noon, under the sweltering heat I did a brisk walk with short stops at Petaling Street (Chinatown), Gospel Hall, Wesley Methodist Church and OCBC Bank before arriving at Jamek Mosque.
The Jamek Mosque is one of the most prominent icon of Kuala Lumpur. It was built in 1909 following Moghul architecture and located along Jalan Tun Perak. The interesting notion of the building is that it’s located at the juncture where two rivers merge (Gombak and Klang River) and still have coconut trees in it’s compound, which maintain it’s bygones era in the modern 21st century city.
Extension of the Jamek Mosque is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building which was constructed in 1894. One can have a wonderful view of the building with it’s majestic 40m Clock Tower from the Merdeka Square. Merdeka Square is a historical landmark of the country as the Country’s Independence was announced here and Brtish Union Jack was replaced with Malaysian Flag. A stone throw away from the Merdeka Square is the 19th century Cathedral of Saint Mary along Jalan Raja.
After a late lunch at Indian Street, Leboh Ampang, I’ve completed my walk at the Sze Ya Temple. An interesting history of this temple, was built in 1864 by Yap Ah Loy (one of the founder of Kuala Lumpur) and dedicated to Sin Sze Ya Si Sze Ya deities, believed to have helped Yap Ah Loy defeat his enemies. At this last stop where I had the best moment of history. The temple has passed 145years old but it still retains it’s beauty of the yesteryear. Built from solid teak wood, beautifully painted and carved with Chinese inscriptions and ornaments. This small temple is still a popular place of worship, as I noticed when I entered. Followers burned incense and praying papers to wade off bad and bring in good luck. In astonishment, I clicked more pictures as I left the place thinking of returning with friends the next time.
It was a family trip to the Island of Langkawi, located on the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia in the state of Kedah, just 1hr 30mins drive from Penang. Our ferry ride started from the mainland town of Kuala Kedah to Kuah Jetty in Langkawi. The Adult ticket cost RM23 and the ride last 1 1/2 hour. We did not tire of all the bumpy and splash of sea water as we took an early morning ride, the weather was pleasant and fresh.
My family and I traveled around the island on our own in a rented van (rental cars easily available at the jetty). A day’s rent is RM350, self drive. Later we found this was a much more comfortable way to venture around as we managed to find directions to all main attractions and could stop for picnic when and where ever we found suitable.
For sightseeing, we did not do any historical places this time around as we found it was more like history lesson in school. We went up on a cable car ride to the peak of Mount Machinchang at height about 700m above sea level. The view towards the ocean was pretty awesome and cool air rejuvenates one from all the heat down below.
Later on we stopped over at a beach for lunch and in the evening visited Dataran Lang, Lang or Helang (Eagle in Bahasa Malaysia) is the land’s iconic settler.
The next day we drove to a local jetty (entrance road beside Galeria Perdana), where we could like organized island hooping and eagle feeding tour. This was my best part of the vacation, first up we headed to a Bat Cave where we found thousands of bats in it’s natural posture above our heads on the cave ceilings. Then, off we went to some private fishing ponds. Here, it was all fun as I had the chance to held poisonous sea urchin in my palm, pet a couple of stingray and played with spitting fish also called “sharpshooter” which never misses any food place high above water. It was brief stop but I felt it was worth 🙂
Next up, was the most waited for all of us on the boat…Eagle Feeding! Menacing and ever alert air dominant bird swirls in the sky looking for food down below. At once, our boatsman throws some chicken skin onto the water, about 10-15 eagles, pretty big in size zooms down and gently picks up the food. The view was breathtaking, as you were surrounded by this powerful sky predator makes it’s presence felt . We said goodbye to the birds and went to some surrounding beautiful smaller islands. According to our boatsman, there’s are over 99 islands near Langkawi.
We ended our tour on a disappointing note at the Langkawi Underwater World. This was because two of it’s attraction were not in it’s playful mode when we visited them. I’m talking about the resident Sea Lions and Penguins of the center. The sea lions were clearly sleepy and I’m not sure what then Penguins were doing as it was more like static with little movements. After some photo opportunity with the place’s other residents, we left with long face. The next day on Monday morning, we left the island back to the fast paced life of Kuala Lumpur.
Until next post, please keep in touch 😀