Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-culture country. As a result, there are plenty of places of worship which are of different faiths. It’s no exception in Kuala Lumpur. You can see not only a lot of mosques in the city but also many Buddhist and Hindu temples as well as churches in Kuala Lumpur. Even though the official religion of Malaysia is Islam, the practice of religion freedom in Malaysia is pretty much upheld among its people of various ethnic backgrounds.
Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant city that encompasses interesting and beautiful places of worship. Some of these are heritage buildings that have more than hundreds years of historic values. Aside from being used as places for religious practices, these buildings make great tourist destinations in Kuala Lumpur. The following are some of the most popular places of worship in Kuala Lumpur. There are mosques, Chinese temples, Hindu temples and churches. Enjoy!
Masjid Negara (National Mosque)
The Masjid Negara is the national mosque of Malaysia. Originally built in 1965, it is a bold and modern approach in reinforced concrete, symbolic of the aspirations of the then newly-independent Malaysia. Its key features are a 73-metre-high minaret and an 18-pointed star concrete main roof. This vast building can accommodate up to 15,000 worshipers.
Thean Hou Temple
The Thean Hou Temple (Chinese: 天后宫) is a landmark six-tiered Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur. The temple was built by the Hainanese community living in Kuala Lumpur dedicated to Goddess Tian Hou (The Heavenly Mother). The temple is built based on elements of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism in mind.
Batu Caves is a 400 million years old limestone hill which consists of a series of caves and cave temples. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia. Dominating the entrance to the caves is a 141-ft (43m) tall golden statue of Lord Murugan.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral
The Saint Mary’s Cathedral is the cathedral of the Diocese of Malaysia. It was built in 1883 and it’s one of the oldest churches in Malaysia. The Neo-Gothic architecture is the key feature of the church. One of the attractions of the St. Mary’s Cathedral is the exceptional English pipe organ installed in the church in 1895.
Masjid Jamek (Friday Mosque)
Masjid Jamek is one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur. The attraction of the mosque is the unique Moorish architecture. It was officially opened in 1909 and was built on the first Malay burial ground. The mosque is also known as the Friday Mosque. Moreover, the mosque surrounding area is beautifully decorated by palm groves.
Sze Yah Temple
Sin Sze Si Ya Temple was founded in 1864 by Kapitan Yap Ah Loy. Kapitan Yap Ah Loy was a prominent figure among the Chinese during the 18th century. The temple is dedicated to patron deities of Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya. The deities were believed to have guided Kapitan Yap Ah Loy to defeat the enemies and defend Kuala Lumpur during the civil war (1870-1873).
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
Founded in 1873, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest and richest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. The temple provided an important place of worship for early Indian immigrants and is now an important cultural and national heritage. Built based on south Indian style, the temple unique feature is the 5-tiered gopuram (tower). The interior of the temple are several altars displaying images of Hindu gods.
Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque (Blue Mosque)
The Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque is the state mosque of Selangor. It is the country’s biggest mosque and also the second biggest mosque in Southeast Asia. It’s nicknamed as ‘Blue Mosque‘ for its blue aluminum dome covered in a rosette of verses from the Qur’an. In its early years, the mosque was also listed in the Guinness World Records as having the tallest minaret in the world.
Holy Rosary Church
Built in the French Gothic Revival style, this Roman Catholic Church was inspired and planned by French missionary Fr Francis Terrien. From funds raised by the Chinese Catholic congregation, Fr Terrien and his architectural assistant Fr JL Lambert completed the church in 1904 and the consecration Mass was held by Bishop Barillon. Its characteristic features include the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress.
Chan Se Shu Yuen Temple
Chan See Shu Yuen Temple is a fine example of southern Chinese architecture in Malaysia. The temple is built between 1897 and 1906 and some of its magnificent features are pottery-tiled roof and gables as well as specially crafted ceramics depicting mythological scenes. Several pillars supporting the temple bear images of warriors battling lions and mythical creatures.
Masjid India is one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur. It was originally built as a modest wooden structure in 1863 as the main place of worship for Indian Muslim. The attractive part of the building is its southern Indian style with onion-domed cupolas and elegant arched windows.
St. John’s Cathedral
St John’s Cathedral is a whitewashed cathedral with twin spires, located to the north of Kuala Lumpur. It is a Roman Catholic Church and is aligned to the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. It was originally opened in 1883, making it one of KL’s oldest buildings. The St John Cathedral is definitely the place to visit and take photograph if historic cathedrals are of your great interest.