Lots of people have heard of the famous Blue Mosque in Turkey, but did you know there’s also a pretty impressive one in Malaysia? It doesn’t get a lot of visitors, but it’s worth the trip to see. And the lack of hordes of tourists makes it even better.
Building of the domed mosque finished in 1988. It was built to celebrate the city of Shah Alam being dedicated as the new capital of the state of Selangor.
This impressive structure holds some equally impressive titles:
- Largest religious dome in the world.
- The 4 minarets are the 2nd largest in the world, although combined they represent the world’s largest group of minarets.
- The Blue Mosque is Malaysia’s largest mosque.
- It is the 2nd largest mosque in Southeast Asia.
We’ve spent a lot of time in Muslim countries, and mosques tend to be fairly similar in design so after seeing the national mosque in KL, I wasn’t really all that enthused about visiting any others. However, our friends at Bohemian Travelers recommended it, so I figured it was worth the effort.
We joined up with some friends and took the wonderful Komuter train into the town of Shah Alam. From KL Sentral, adults will pay 5 MYR ($1.52 USD) for a roundtrip ticket (12 and under will pay half). The journey takes about 40 minutes. From the train station, you’ll either need to take a taxi or a bus to get to the mosque. A taxi will usually run around 10-15 MYR. It’s best to catch a taxi on the street than at the taxi as those typically charge per person for a shared taxi.
When exiting the train station at Shah Alam station, there is often someone taking the tickets from passengers. If you bought a roundtrip ticket, make sure to tell the attendant or he’ll keep the ticket. You will need that ticket to return to KL. If you have a Touch ‘n Go Pass, it works for the Komuter trains.
As we rode en route to the mosque, I enjoyed looking at the fairly quiet town. As one would expect, it’s much more sedate than the sprawling functional capital of KL (Malaysia has a separate administrative capital).
In spite of having scene photos of the beautiful structure, I was not prepared to be blown away as I spotted it from the road. It easily stands out like a beautiful sapphire. The taxi driver smiled as I oohed and ahhed and kept going on about how gorgeous it was.
After having had to wear a robe at the national mosque since my knees weren’t covered adequately, I wisely brought a sarong with me to wrap around my waist. I don’t know how the Muslim women handle being covered from head to toe in the steamy heat of Malaysia. Tigger, however, was forced to wear a robe since he had slightly too much knee showing. The head covering is just his usual personal fashion statement.
Admission to the Blue Mosque is free. You will have to remove your shoes before entering the building. A volunteer guide shows you around the structure and explains some of the rooms, such as the absolution area where people wash various areas of their body prior to going into the prayer room.
The writing around the dome of the mosque is from the Koran, and mosques usually all have similar geometrical designs as they are not allowed to include other designs like flowers or animals. This particular mosque’s architecture and carved designs was inspired by the Alhambra in Spain, a fact I learned when I made a comment about how similar some of the areas appeared.
Our guide spoke extremely good English, which is common in Malaysia, and was quite helpful.
Unless you are Muslim, you will not be enter too far into the prayer room, but you can see a lot of it, and it is quite beautiful. It is also fairly state of the art as it contains portable AC units throughout so that people can have relief from the heat while saying their prayers or studying the holy book.
Nearby, is a beautiful lake and park that is worth strolling in after or before your visit to the mosque. On the other side of the park are a couple of shopping plazas with eateries.
Shah Alam doesn’t really have much more to experience, but it’s worth the visit in my opinion. The Blue Mosque really needs to be seen in person to truly appreciate its wonderful beauty.
Do you enjoy visiting religious buildings when traveling?