Tasting Taj Mahal at Ramlie Musofa mosque in Sunter

One will find it very hard not to look at a white-painted, giant mosque across western part of the Sunter lake in North Jakarta. Taj Mahal-inspired architecture can easily cross one’s mind upon looking at the mosque. Detailed engraving and Chinese words make the mosque more interesting to be studied.

I and other participants in a city tour stopped by at the mosque last year. When we went into it, we were more surprised to have read Surah Al-Fatihah from the holy Qur’an in Arabic, Mandarin and Indonesian Languages.

Dozens of black stairs leading up to the main mosque adds more majestic element to it. Besides the main praying room, the mosque management places neat, clean toilet. The management separates wudu room for female muslims and male muslims. Wudu is the obligatory Islamic procedures to wash some parts of the body, such as hands, ears, nostrils, before performing salah or prayer.

The Taj Mahal lookalike Ramlie Musofa mosque

The Taj Mahal lookalike Ramlie Musofa mosque (Courtesy of Eny Wulandari)

When gazing upon the mosque, I was firstly mesmerized by the beauty of the mosque. From the surface, the mosque clearly takes inspiration from famous Taj Mahal in India. As most of us already know, Taj Mahal is a monument in Agra, India, which contains the mausoleum of Arjumand Banu Begum, the most beloved wife of Mughal Shah Jahan, the king of Mughal Kingdom. The king built the monument to show his enduring love for his wife. Taj Mahal was built from 1632 and completed in 1653. The 73-meters monument has long been capturing millions of tourists per year thanks to its unique and glorious architecture. Taj Mahal is considered as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that mixes elements from Persian, Indian and Islamic architecture, said www.tajmahal.gov.in.

In 1983, UNESCO declared the Taj Mahal as a World Heritage Site and said that it is “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally-admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”

Taking the Taj Mahal’s Mughal architecture elements, it thus is no wonder that the mosque seems peculiar. At a glance, the mosque carries strong elements of Islam, China and Arab that are put together into the Taj Mahal-inspired architecture style.

If you wonder how come the name of the mosque are written in Mandarin language? The followings may answer your curiosity, much like what I had in the back of my mind.

Beauty in the details

Beauty in the details (Courtesy of Eny Wulandari)

According to tribunnews.com, the mosque was built by Haji Ramlie, a Chinese businessman who has converted into Islam. The mosque was set up in 2011 and officiated on 15 May 2016. While “Musofa” is abbreviated from “Muhammad, Sopian and Fabian”, the children’ names of Haji Ramlie. The mosque stands high in a 2,000 square-meters land that infuses within it a Chinese-architectural element.

While the Taj Mahal is on the south bank of the Yamuna river, the Ramlie Musofa mosque is across the western part of the Sunter lake. Colorful residents’ houses stand behind the lake fenced by vibrant walls, too. All in all, the view around the area brings pleasant to passers-by’ eyes. The houses are part of Warna-Warni Kampung (Colorful village) that was officiated by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan on 24 March 2018, reported IDNtimes.com. The lake is now clean thanks to regular cleanup by Jakarta administration’s officers.

On middays, spending hours on the edge of the lake while viewing the colorful houses and walls bring joy. If you get tired, you can sit on wooden benches surrounding the lake. If you love photography, try taking best poses in 3D graffiti in pedestrian lanes.

The Colorful Village across the Ramlie Musofa mosque

The Colorful Village across the Ramlie Musofa mosque (Courtesy of Eny Wulandari)

Walking down the lake and lines of houses along it is a nice exercise to spend afternoon. If you have enough time, try resuming the walk until you see eastern part of the overall Sunter lake. The lake part is surrounded by tall trees that can shade your sitting. Dozens of food stalls offer affordable foods and drinks. There are also water-vehicles for kids and parents to circle the lake. The Sunter lake is a nice option for families seeking natural recreation site for the whole family at cheap price. Visitors can also try water-based sports here, too.

The Ramlie Musofa mosque, the colorful Sunter lake and vibrant public houses paint scenery picture of Sunter, that is far away from the heart of the Jakarta. Despite its distant location from the city’s center, Sunter offers various affordable and wonderful tourism sites that can be your alternatives spending days-off away from the office desks.

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Eny Wulandari

Eny Wulandari

A passionate writer and translator

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