Putrajaya (Malaysia)

Putrajaya is the new administrative capital of Malaysia. The development of this swanky new city marks a new chapter in the history of modern architecture. Set to be a model ‘garden city’ with sophisticated IT network, Putrajaya has virtually become a key to the vital developments of the country.
Its easy accessibility from Kualalumpur made it possible for us to have a look at this hi-tech city of which Malaysia has been advertising a lot and promising visitors a visit worth remembering.

Apart from some pretty botanical gardens, beautiful lakes, wetlands, shopping malls and stylish architecture, sightseeing in Putrajaya involves two very interesting sites; the Putra mosque and the Seri Perdana.
Facing the scenic Putrajaya Lake, the Putra Mosque is arguably the city’s most distinctive landmark and one of the most modern mosques in the world. Depicting a clear view of how mosque designs have developed in Malaysia, Putra Mosque's Islamic-architecture artistically combines traditional designs and local craftsmanship. Modeled after Persian Islamic architecture, the main entrance to the mosque is designed like the public buildings in Persia. Constructed in rose-tinted granite which gives its desert-pink hue and its 116-metre minaret, makes the mosque look absolutely unique. We were allowed to enter the prayer hall, bare feet and with heads covered, a simple and elegant hall supported by columns that support the main dome. The ‘mimber’, the pulpit and the ‘mehrab’, the niche that shows the direction of Mecca, are beautifully decorated by Islamic calligraphy. The specialty of this mosque was its unique sound system; the speakers at the front are used to create the sound effect as if all sounds originated from the direction of the imam. The entire complex is huge; it can accommodate upto 10000 worshippers and are even used for conferences and seminars. We strolled on the promenade that has a wonderful view of the blue lake and created a mystical ambience as the sun set.

The Perdana Putra Complex is a six-storey natural stone clad office complex that hosts the Seri Perdana, the Prime Minister's Office. Its green roof and the onion-shaped glazed mosaic dome, which is actually a replica of Masjid Zahir in Alor Setar, Kedah, and the surrounding four smaller domes represent the Malay and Islamic heritage of the nation. Flags of all the provinces of Malaysia are hoisted in front of the entrance and the colourful flags swinging to and fro in the breeze looked very bright.
Seri Perdana in the only residence of a political leader in the World where common public are allowed to visit and take a tour. We too joined the group tour that would take us into the interiors of the residence, following a strict dress code.

We started our tour with the Main Reception which was located at the front and is the highest area in the building with a picturesque backdrop of the wetlands. The Layman Tiba or the arrival hall is located in front of the main entrance door of the main reception area.

Walking past this we reached the Gallery or the Arch. This was a unique architectural feature inspired from the arches of the Mogul Muslim Era. A major part of construction work used local raw materials; marble for pillars, floors and walls and carpets and intricate woodcarvings for doors and step panels, were brought in from Langkawi. The Guest Room or the Bilik Tamu was a comfortable lounge which was the main rest area for official guests of the Prime Minister. The room for special guests was called the Bilik Tamu Khas. This Special Guest Room is used for closed discussions between the Prime Minister and Heads of Governments. Official photography sessions and gift exchanging ceremonies are also held here. Various other rooms like the waiting room, meeting room followed one after the other, all richly furnished and beautifully decorated. The prayer room or the Surau could accommodate 200 people and wood carving panels are used to separate prayer areas for men and women.
The Dining Room, The Banquet Gallery and the Gifts Gallery were next to come before we reached the banquet hall. This hall was the best, most majestic and the largest area in the Complex. The elegance of the architecture and interiors are inspired by European architecture and interior design and it consists of two floors and can accommodate 200 people.
The last block was the living quarters of the Prime Minister and sadly, entry wasn’t permitted there. We did not grumble as the idea of letting people visit the residence was indeed good, even though it involved quite a few rounds of brisk security checks.