The National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I enjoy visiting Mosques. And, while half the world instantly seems to seize up at the notion that someone would actually like to visit a mosque.
I don’t visit for religious reasons. I visit because architecturally, they are, usually, quite beautiful buildings. Will the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur live up to the others I’ve visited?
Visiting Malaysia’s National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur
Built in 1965 it can hold 15,00 people and is deemed as architecturally unique. Interestingly, in terms of religion, the Mosque was built on the site of an old church.
While many look at the national mosque in terms of architectural importance, I see it as something of a “60’s/70’s” style concrete block. So, for me personally, I don’t find it as architecturally beautiful as say Kota Kinabalu’s City mosque, in Sabah, Malaysia. Nor a patch on Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan.
Many will argue that architecture is not the point of Mosques, or visiting them. Yes, I know, that’s why I wrote what I did earlier.
Inside Malaysia’s National Mosque
Hoping that the inside of the Mosque would offer up something new, and or unique, I went in. Marble, concrete and straight lines are the main themes of the day here. Multiple tall straight angled pillars run throughout much of the building. The main prayer area, is, as usual, off-limits for any non-Muslim to go into. It’s also pretty standard in terms of design.
There are office blocks here, downstairs, and a Mausoleum for past politicians. The Mausoleum itself is quite nice, with a large golden looking 7 pointed star roof. Several water fountains, pools of water, and cleansing areas run throughout the Mosques internal infrastructure.
Dressing to enter a Mosque
Tourists are allowed to visit the mosque during non-prayer times for free. There’s usually a flock of tourists by the main entrance all queuing up to remove their shoes, and don bright purple/pink robes to cover up legs and arms.
While many didn’t object to this, a few dressed in short sleeve shirts, and long pants did walk away and refused to wear the robe.
Some, tourists really did need to cover up, even if not entering a Mosque.
I knew the rules, removed my shoes and greeted the first man with a “Salaem malekum”. Wearing long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt I managed to slip by without a robe. Thankfully.
Wearing a robe to cover up out of respect, religious reasons etc is one thing. But being forced to wear a bright purple cloak reminiscent of a “camp” Jedi Knight seems a little much. This has been the only mosque in the world I’ve visited that enforces this. Though the old Jame Mosque also seems to be doing the same. Again, on a previous visit I went early, was covered, and wasn’t asked.
Rules for visiting a Mosque:
- Remove shoes (socks not necessary)
- Women should have their hair covered
- Both men and women should not be exposing any skin other than hands, feet and face
- Take note of any signage, as a few mosques seem to enforce different rules.
Is the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur worth visiting?
Depends on you. If you’ve never visited a mosque before, then sure. But my advice is not to think of it like the vast majority of the mosques in the world in lieu of the robes and architecture.
If you are not pushed, or not visiting anything nearby I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit it.
That said, it’s easy to get to. Close to Central Market, the post office and across the way from the old railway station. It’s worth the visit if you are nearby and seeing the sights.
Moving on …
Kuala Lumpur, much like Bangkok is no place to get away from it all. The city has some of the worst high speed drivers on the planet, with little regard for rules. Nor would it seem any regard to wanting to care about them either.
Walking in Kuala Lumpur? Be prepared to be used by high speed drivers as target practice!
When I first arrived in Kuala Lumpur I had high hopes, but the problems in West Malaysia meant it didn’t take long to realize it’s not for me. Again, just a stepping stone.
Moving on, I now get to revisit a greener pasture.
Planning on booking a hotel room in Malaysia?
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I recommend you try my own hotel search for Malaysia. The best online rates guaranteed!
Street Art: A tale of two capitals …
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