Kampung Kling Mosque: Embracing diversity in Malacca, Malaysia

A dark grey dove glided through the air into the mosque as well as perched atop a fountain in the middle of the pool. I looked at my friends Asta as well as Ces and, without saying a word, stood there as well as viewed it. two muslim men sitting on the patio were viewing us, too, as we viewed the bird. Don’t get us wrong — we’ve seen doves before, however we were drawn by how regally it stood on the second layer of the fountain before us.

We were at the courtyard of the Kampung Kling Mosque (or Masjid Kampung Kling) in Malacca. We stood on a slightly raised walkway next to a loaded pool, the center of which harbored a richly-designed functional fountain. however I’m getting ahead of the story.

Kampung Kling

One of the oldest mosques in Malaysia, the Kampung Kling Mosque was built in 1748. It stands along Jalan Tukang Emas, likewise known as harmony street or temple Street, since the street is likewise home to other places of worships: the Cheng Hoon Teng temple (Taoist, Buddhist) as well as the Sri Poyyatha temple (Hindu).

Harmony street is now flanked with Chinese shops as well as other industrial stores, however it wasn’t always like this. Centuries ago, the area was called Kampung Kling. Kampung implies “village” in local language. Kling, on the other hand, is what they used to call Muslim Indians who hailed from South India. I’m not sure if Kling is the same as ‘Keling’, which is considered a politically incorrect as well as offensive term nowadays, however it may not have the negative connotation at the time the mosque was erected. This mosque became the main place of worship for the Indian population of the area during the time.

Kampung Kling Mosque in Melaka
What Makes Kampung Kling Mosque Special

Unlike many mosques in Western Asia which are built on a hexagonal or rectangular plan, Masjid Kampung Kling stands on a square plan. This wood mosque is covered by a triple-tiered roof. The central roofing system is supported by four primary columns while one more set of four columns raise the lower two layers. The patio area of the mosque is bordered by a short Corinthian colonnade. Chinese ceramic tiles decorated the roof, some parts of the walls, as well as the floor. however the Chinese influence doesn’t stop there. The eaves of the roofs are curved like many old Chinese buildings. The carpeted floor of the main prayer hall can be accessed through several doors, one of which serves as the mosque’s iwan, leading to the courtyard behind.

The courtyard, where we viewed a dove quench its thirst, hosts a pool with a fountain at its center, used for ablutions. one more set of columns surrounds the pool as well as forms a covered walkway around it.

The many eye-catching structure in the site, however, is the imposing minaret just next to the mosque. It is a minaret, yes, however it somewhat resembles a Chinese pagoda. Unlike the wood prayer hall, the commanding minaret is built completely of stonework. It has six (?) tiers topped with eco-friendly roofing system as well as an apex so high I might not see what the style was exactly. Each layer of the tower is windowed however the number of arch windows vary. Each side of the top tier has two huge arch windows as well as several smaller ones; the second tier has three small windows; the third has two on each side; as well as so on.

In 1868, around 120 years after its construction, a high wall was built to safeguard both the mosque as well as minaret from the street. The wall opens through an arched-topped, tile-roofed gate, ornamented with three acroteria.

Perhaps one thing that I really liked about Kampung Kling Mosque is that it embodies the street, the city, as well as the country that cradles it. The influences in architecture as well as style of the place reflect how Malaysia has embraced the numerous cultures that nurtured its history as well as traditions, as well as ultimately makes it the nation that it is now.

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