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Istiqlal Mosque The Grand Architecture in South East Asia

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Istiqlal Mosque
The Grand Istiqlal Mosque. Img: kemenag official

Visiting Jakarta will not be complete without coming to the biggest Islamic site, the Istiqlal Mosque. Located in the center of Jakarta, the mosque lies in the former of Wilhemina Park. Istiqlal Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, with a capacity of 200.000 people.

The mosque is located near the National Monument Monas, the famous Jakarta landmark. And side by side with the gothic style Jakarta Cathedral. Spare at least 2 hours to see both of the grand religious sites. Besides, both are the largest holy site in Indonesia.

The mosque is the biggest site for people praising and practicing Islam in Indonesia. Istiqlal Mosque was built during the Soekarno era, the first president of Indonesia, in 1951. The architect behind it is a Christian, Frederich Silaban. He also designed the famous Jakarta landmark Monas.

The Main Hall of Istiqlal Mosque.
The Main Hall of Istiqlal Mosque. Img: kemenag Official

The architect chose to use marbles for the floors and layers of the walls. Stunning stainless steel accessories adorn the whole walls as well. The 5 floors building is supported by 12 big towers. Lies in 24.200 m2 wide space with 45 meters white dome on top of the main building.

There is a single minaret of 66.66 meters tall on the south side. The height of the minaret symbolizes the total verses in the Quran. With such beautiful architect and solemn atmosphere. Istiqlal Mosque is a must-visit sacred site in Jakarta.

Inside The Istiqlal Mosque

68 years ago, the place where the Istiqlal Mosque stands was called the Wilhelmina garden. The garden was dirty and neglected by the locals. But after the mosque construction finish. The place turns brighter and crowds begin to flock. There are thousands of people who come every week. Not just to pray, the facilities in the mosque make people keep coming back here.

Arabic Calligraphy in Istiqlal Mosque. Img: Kemenag Official

Philosophical Architecture

Istiqlal Mosque was a big project of the Indonesian government back then. Therefore, the best architect in the country was asked to be part of it. The design of the mosque is a modern style that upholds the use of geometrical accessories. It simply gives a simple and strong impression yet shows elegance through the accessories.

The design also represents Islamic values. For instance, the 7 entrance gates have the names of God. Name that list in the 99 Beautiful Allah name. The number also represents the 7 skies’ trust in Islamic cosmology.

The number of towers in the Istiqlal Mosque represents the Prophet Muhammad’s date of birth, the 12th of Rabiul Awwal. The architecture upholds the symbol of Indonesian principles, Pancasila. Through the number of floors which is 5 in total.

Istiqlal Mosque at night. Img: Flickr/Prayudi Hartono

Garden and Water Fountain

A neat wide yard welcome guests upon entering the mosque area. There are 23 mini gardens scatter in every corner of the yard. The blooming plants harmonize well with the poultries in each garden.

Moving to the southwest area of the mosque, a wide pool is placed with a stunning water fountain in the center. Some of the garden large tree age more than a hundred years old.

The Giant Bedug

The giant Bedug is another thing that most visitors curious about and adore. Visitors could see the giant Bedug in the corner of the main building. The height of the Bedug reaches 3,80 meters with 3,40 wide. The Bedug is made from the best teak wood with an Indonesian carvings ornament.

Istiqlal Mosque Area. Img: Kemenag Official

Sport Facilities

The sports center is located in the east corner of the mosque area. This part is an open-air space with various kinds of sports fields inside. Mosque visitors could play various sports activities such as badminton, futsal, volley, and basket. Even if the sports center is located in a mosque area, it has an international sports standard.

Istiqlal Mosque Library

Istiqlal Mosque is a perfect place for seeking Islamic knowledge. The Istiqlal Library is a home of thousands collections of the Islamic literature. The reading area inside the library often uses as the waiting zone too. Especially for the mosque visitors intend to pray in Istiqlal.

During Ramadhan, many Muslims come to the library before the pre dawn meal time. Some spend time reading the book or praying during the Ramadhan month. The Muslims believe that praying together during Ramadhan is one of the many ways to seek God blessing. When the Ramadhan comes, the library will be more crowded than any regular time.

The Main Hall of the Istiqlal Mosque. Img: expedia

Istiqlal Mosque Opening Hours

The main building of the mosque opens from 04.00 am to 09.00 pm every day. At 04.00 am, most people come to do the Fajr pray and recite Qur’an. In the praying times, there will be many people coming to pray together. In Ramadhan, the holy month of Muslims, the mosque will be more crowded in the evening than dawn.

Istiqlal Mosque Opening Hours
Every day04:00 – 21:00 WIB

See: Watching The Fountain Show in Jakarta Landmark, Monas.

Istiqlal Mosque Dress Code and Visitor Guideline

Some guidelines are applied in the Istiqlal Mosque. Especially for non-Muslim visitors. All visitors must come with modest attire as the mosque is a sacred place. For the non-Muslim visitors, the mosque provides sarong for men and a veil for women.

All visitors are obligated to take off the shoes or sandals when entering the mosque. Bring a plastic bag for shoes. Or simply prepare to pay Rp2.000 for a plastic bag. Furthermore, non-Muslim visitors are not allowed to enter the main floor of the mosque.

The non-muslim can see and observe the mosque building from the 2nd floor. There is no entrance fee for visiting the Istiqlal mosque. However, non-muslim visitors require to be with the mosque guide the whole time. It is a free tour but prepares for a small donation.

See: The Dutch Gothic Building in Jakarta Old Town

How To Get To Istiqlal Mosque

The Istiqlal Mosque location is easy to access as it’s located across the Jakarta Cathedral. Visitors just need to go through Katedral street. And find both buildings standing face-to-face. There is also public transportation to get there. The easiest way is to take the Transjakarta bus or the city tour bus.

Tourists that coming from thamrin street or Sarinah can take a walk to the bus shelter near the Sarinah mall. The Transjakarta bus ticket will cost Rp3.500,-. But it requires transit to Harmoni Shelter. Change to another bus heading and stop at Juanda shelter. The city tour bus is free and will take passengers and drop at the exact tourist spot. Including the Istiqlal Mosque and National Monument.

Address & Location

The grand largest mosque located in Jl. Taman Wijaya Kusuma, Ps. Baru, Sawah Besar, Central Jakarta 10710.

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