Thursday, March 3, 2011
Putra Mosque - Pretty in Pink
The first time I visited Putrajaya a few years ago, it was this Pink Mosque that caught my eye while my bus was running along Seri Wawasan Bridge. There was an eerie feeling through out this earlier visit because it felt like I was interfering with something I wasn't supposed to be a part of. There was a degree of desolation: the buildings were grand, but the whole place looked abandoned. There was hardly anyone walking around, like some clandestine conspiracy to stay away from this new slumbering city. I felt conscious and ended up texting a friend, "It feels like a grand cemetery of the rich!" The main boulevard had thousands of blooming yellow and orange flowers that were nowhere now. Even my bus had only three occupants, the driver and myself included. But that was then.
Putrajaya is gradually picking up a vibe. And the Pink Mosque, aka. Putra Mosque, is one of its most visited sites.
Putra Mosque was constructed in 1997 and completed two years later. It is the single site in this new federal city with the most tourists we've seen. Entrance is free to visitors, but a dress code is strictly observed. If you are inappropriately clothed (shorts, skimpy tops, anything showing a lot of skin), then you will be required to get yourself a pink robe from the counter. This sight of effete-looking sea of pinks in initially jarring, like finding yourself in a cult of pink followers.
Visiting hours are as follows:
Saturday to Thursday - 9AM to 12:30PM, 2PM to 4PM, 5:30PM to 6PM
Fridays have limited schedule - 3PM to 4PM and 5:30PM to 6PM (Just 1 1/2 hours)
Now hold your breath for this: If you are a menstruating female visitor, you are requested not to enter the Main Prayer Hall. And non-Muslims aren't allowed inside during praying hours.
Smoking is prohibited all over the mosque complex.
I noticed a mosque steward standing tall by the entrance, and he was quite bashful with the inordinate amount of attention showered on him! Everyone - Koreans, Japanese, Caucasisans - wanted a photo with him! He would oblige but you'd find him slightly embarrassed.
There are those overly-decorated, flowery rickshaws parked outside, similar from those you find all over Melaka. Just across the mosque is a big rotund adorned by several flags. Construction is still on-going, and I can only imagine how immaculate it would be by the time it's done. The mosque sits beside this man-made lake and from the side of the complex, you get awe-inspiring views overlooking the amazing Seri Wawasan Bridge!
If you feel a little alienated by most of the desolation, isolation and loneliness while roaming most of Putrajaya, head to the Putra Mosque for more company.
This is the Eye in the Sky!