Timothy Tye
Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarUbudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar (31 January, 2006)

B. Melayu

The Ubudiah Mosque (GPS: 4.7642, 100.9509) is a mosque in Kuala Kangsar, the royal town of Perak. It is reputed to be one of the most beautiful mosques in Malaysia. The mosque is located on Bukit Chandan, near the Perak River.

I have visited it several times, and am pleased to explore it on a nice clear day that has enabled me to get these shots. The word "ubudiah" means "to yield oneself to the will of Allah". Appropriately, it was the name chosen by the then 28th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah I when His Royal Highness decided to build the mosque in 1911. He was convalescing in Port Dickson, and there, he made a vow to build a magnificent mosque as thanksgiving for recovery from the ailment that plagued him.

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarUbudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar (31 January, 2006)

The Ubudiah Mosque was designed by Arthur Benison Hubback, the British architect who also designed the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Carcosa Seri Negara, the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and the Ipoh Railway Station. Many of the buildings that A.B. Hubback designed have the "layer cake" appearance, where the rusticated façade alternates. Another distintive hallmark of his design are the many cupolas. Hubback drew inspiration from Mughal architecture which he introduced to Malaya, to create a majestic Muslim element to local architecture.

Construction of the Ubudiah Mosque stalled several times due to various matters. The original marble tiles imported from Italy for the mosque were damaged when the elephants belonging to the sultan went on a rampage. However, the mosque was finally completed in 1917. Unfortunately by then Sultan Idris had passed on, and so the elegant mosque was opened by his successor Sultan Abdul Jalil.

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarUbudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar (31 January, 2006)

The Story of Ubudiah Mosque

Once upon a time, in the Silver Kingdom, there lived an ailing Ruler. Knowing that his days were well numbered, this ruler made a decision - to built the most magnificent mosque in all the lands. He commission the finest architect to design this mosque. It would be placed a short distance from his palace, on a hill near the banks of the Silver River. The mosque was to be called "Ubudiah", which means, "surrender me now to Allah".

Sad to say, this ruler, Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah I, 28th Ruler of the Kingdom of Perak, never saw his masterpiece completed; he departed to the bosom of his Creator in 1916, a year before his "Taj Mahal by the Perak River" was completed.

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarUbudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar (31 January, 2006)

While still recuperating, His Royal Highness returned to Perak, where he instructed Colonel Huxley of the Public Works Department, to work on the design of a palatial mosque. The architect chosen for this project was AB Hubback, the same architect noted for putting up several notable buildings in Kuala Lumpur, such as the Masjid Jamek, the Old High Court, the Selangor Railway Office (presently the Textile Museum), and the Royal Selangor Club. If you explore Kuala Lumpur and examine the heritage buildings there, you will see much resemblence to that of the Ubudiah Mosque, especially in the Mughal architecture and the fondness of this architect for the "layer cake" design.

Work on the mosque commenced in September 1911, and was immediately delayed when the marble, imported from Italy, was damaged when two elephants belonging to Sultan Idris and Raja Chulan got into a fight. The building was only completed in 1917 at the cost of $189,000. Sadly, Sultan Idris never got to see it to its completion, having passed away a year earlier.

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarUbudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar (8 August, 2004)

The Ubudiah Mosque was enlarged in 1933, when extensions were made at the sides. Staff rooms and washrooms were also added. The extension took two years to complete, and with it, the mosque could hold up to 2300 worshippers at any one time.

Recently, in 2002, His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah, the 34th Ruler of Perak, instructed the state government to embark on a restoration of the mosque. Great care was taken during the restoration to preserve the Mughal (often incorrectly labelled "Moorish") architecture of the structure. Along with the restoration, the prayer hall was completely refurbished, air-conditioning was installed, and its ceiling reconstructed by a team of craftsmen from Uzbekistan. A new concrete compound was laid out, while the grounds re-landscaped. The project took 3 months to complete, at a cost of RM4.8 million, and was just in time for His Royal Highness' 75th birthday on 19 April 2003.

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarUbudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar (8 August, 2004)

360° View of Ubudiah Mosque on Google Maps Street View

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarInterior of Ubudiah Mosque (8 August, 2004)

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarCeiling of the prayer hall of Ubudiah Mosque (8 August, 2004)

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarChandelier of Ubudiah Mosque (8 August, 2004)

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala KangsarCeiling design and chandelier of Ubudiah Mosque (8 August, 2004)

The Ubudiah Mosque is on the map of Kuala Kangsar

List of Mosques in Kuala Kangsar, Mosques in Perak and Mosques in Malaysia

Map of Towns in Perak

 List of Towns in Perak from above map

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