Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Getting to Shah Alam – The Blue Mosque Visit Part 1

I was in Kolkata in West Bengal, exploring the halls of Victoria Museum, when I suddenly realized that I had been gazing at the photos of an important Malaysian historical figure, from whom a city in Malaysia was named. I scrutinized his face to somehow connect the person with the “idea” of a royalty. In several photographs, he would be seen posing alongside important British officers and Indian nationals. This would be the flock that would populate high society of the mid-1900’s in colonial India.

And he was
Almarhum Sultan Sir Hisamuddin Alam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Sir Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah – better known as Shah Alam!

In his photos, Shah Alam looked young. Nothing particularly imposing, except for his snazzy get-up. I tried remembering his face as I write this. Google can’t even provide a photo. So the archives at the Victoria provide a very interesting glimpse of a ruler who, like some historical figure, has a patchy succession history – he had 2 elder brothers who were supposed to takeover their father’s Shah-ship.
Fast forward to the new millennium.

If you have been reading snippets of my travels, you would know how I constantly look for new places to discover for myself when I am out of the country. This thirst for new places usually takes me to places that aren’t exactly at the top of the list of places that most tourists visit. But I like it that way. One day, a few months ago in
Kuala Lumpur – I set my sights on Shah Alam. I am aware of its famed Blue Mosque – nothing else. I wasn’t even sure how to get there.

I walked to the nearby
Rapid KL train – Pasar Seni station – then headed to KL Sentral (for RM 1 or $0.29)– the main hub. Then I bought a KL Komuter train ticket to Shah Alam (RM 2.50 or $0.72). It was that easy! From Platform 5 – at the red line, where I waited for my ride. My train left at 10:45 AM.

I was looking around, marveling at how well maintained the train-cars were. As the train slid past communes, I noticed the residential complexes along
Subang Jaya. 11:15 – Batu Tiga. And before I knew it, I was already in Shah Alam (11:20)!

Eye in the Sky continues next post with the Blue Mosque.

Just 1 stop to KL Sentral.

Rapid KL - Pasar Seni station. Main Post Office is seen at the left.

KL Sentral, showing entrance to KTM Komuter.

My 2.50 Malaysian Ringgit card to Shah Alam.

KTM Komuter train.

Shah Alam station.

Ticket counter at the Shah Alam station.

Rapid KL commuter bus no. 101, going to the city center. Just a RM1 ride.

Very clean surroundings. But where are the people?

The final stop at the back of the May Bank. The Blue Mosque is 4-5blocks away.

Road side waiting shed in front of the city museum. There's not even a soul waiting. Do we have anything as elaborate as this?

Glass building of the May Bank.

Green field just across the museum and the Blue Mosque.

Fountain structures called howz adorn the park grounds surrounding the Blue Mosque.

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