Friday, February 24, 2017

Hiking at Sg Besi Forest Reserve

I first knew about the hiking trail next to my condo when 1 of Nazhif’s friend shared his photo which overseeing the view of our Altitude 236, located in Persiaran Alam Damai. Little did I know, there is actually a proper hiking trail of 3.62 miles located just behind my condo that I've recently discovered from wikipemia while searching some reference for this entry. No wonder the forest reserve habitats sometimes encroaching nearby our windows since we are neighbors. And the fresh smell of the jungle whenever I open my window is just too good to be true.

Image download from

One fine day when Nazhif was still around from his year 1 break, I forced him and Nasrul to accompany me for my mission. I used to see people's passing by from the window of my Level 6 condo and wondering where they were heading to. We can see the first Reservoir from our unit as it seated on the same level. Hubby always scolded me for wearing an obscene dress in our room as he said people walking outside the road could possibly see us. My mission that day was to confirm whether or not our bedroom is visible from the other side. Unfortunately it is actually "yes", though only a little. Imagine if someone sees us through their binoculars?

I was at "Drain" point in this photo
Happy faces with a gorgeous view behind - Cheras side

It is recommended to start the hike at the junction of Persiaran Aman Damai off Jalan Aman Damai, just next to our Altitude 236. You will pass the two water tanks or reservoirs on the way up. Those 2 water reservoir are visible on satellite imagery as white circles on the first photo. The trail head starts with a tarred road, but only until you reached the second reservoir. From there on, you have to take left side where there is a proper trail leading up. Take note that is a barrier at the trail head that prevents vehicles from entering this area. The path beyond is mostly a bare red soil, some rocks, with occasional landslips that get in the way due to erosion. 

The evidence

There's nothing to worry about as the trail is quite solid and you will have no difficulties to get around or over it. There are several barren plateaus along the way that provides a good view of the Cheras area, especially in the morning or afternoon. The best time to start is at 6am-7am, after your morning prayer. But we went after Asar or afternoon prayer which gave us so short period of time to enjoy the hike and the view as it was already dark slightly after 7.15pm. Beyond the barren plateaus, you will enter a forest, starting from a huge undergrowth of ferns. The path changes from red soil to fertile black humus. Be careful at that point as there are no clearly mark trails in the forest. The downhill parts can be steep, muddy, and slippery. 

Trail chain for safety reason

The image in the first photo show 2 or maybe 3 streams that we did not encounter as we merely stopped at the Main Viewpoint. The sky was getting darker at that time and Nazhif started pestering me to go back. But to those who are really into jungle hiking it is highly recommended to use jungle boots and takes on the jungle trek. What we did that day was merely enjoying the scenery at the plateaus. After some photo evidence, we turn back and go home. There's another family around that time too.

For the record, there are four permanent forest reserve areas in Kuala Lumpur that is 2.1ha. in Bukit Lagong, 9.37ha in Bukit Nanas, 14.51ha in Sungai Puteh and the one behind my condo is Sungai Besi forest reserve of 42.29ha. These four are as officially declared by the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia. Bukit Lagong’s area remains unchanged since it was gazetted in 1962, but the forest area in Bukit Nanas, which was gazetted in 1906 with an area of 17ha, has since been reduced in size to 9.37ha as a result of road and infrastructure projects. The Sungai Puteh permanent forest area, gazetted in 1933 with an area of 40ha, is now reduced to 14.51ha whilst the Sungai Besi permanent forest area has seen a loss of 4.71ha since it was gazetted in 1932.

KL Tower's light was lighted in blue that day. I've been lucky to witness the changing colors of KL Tower every night from my balcony. Indeed, I've been surrounded with enormous bliss.

Being a quite lazy bump person, the second trip is yet to be arranged. Nevertheless, I hope this entry may help others who takes hiking seriously as hobby and sports.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Chandeliers

I was in class today when I suddenly felt like sharing the latest updates photos of our new house. I did mentioned about the 4 chandeliers in my previous entry. It was the chandeliers that hubby bought for the house which, honestly never ever appeared in my wish list. When I bought the land to build a house in 2005 and later working on it's design for 2 years from 2010, never did it crossed my mind that the house would have chandeliers. It was too grand, not suited a mere person like me. I didn't even dream to have a chandelier but hubby must thoughts well. Maybe he got that idea while building the house and while searching for interior design ideas from our favorite website, Houzz. For your information, we bought 3 chandeliers when we went back to Kelantan recently while attending my niece wedding. We were queuing at the traffic light when hubby accidentally noticed the lights shop on the right side of the road while we were on our way to Kota Bharu town.

We bought a pair of similar chandelier for the main hall. That flowery type is to be fix at the foyer, i.e. main entrance

The first photo below was from the third level of the house, i.e, the passageway above Syahirah's bedroom leading towards the hexagon water tank house. Nasrul's bedroom is located beneath it. Nasrul is the lucky 1 as his room was the only 1 with hexagon's plastered ceiling. The passageway, or rather an excluded balcony would be the best place to observe sunset. We viewed daily sunset from our balcony in Altitude 236 and in future we will have this cosy area to hang out at every afternoon. I bet this would become hubby's favorite spot in the future. It would be better if I could add some roof gardens. Let's see whether or not I have time to do it. 

The house is built with 8 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, it's a little bit too many for a family of 6. We will occupy 5 bedrooms, mine at the ground floor whilst all children's will occupy their own floor. The other 3 bedrooms are intended for the maid, the guest and the cousins' room. Our kids has a lot of cousins from both sides of the family. They are very close and that was the reason why we added 1 more bedroom for them to have their privacy with the cousins on their floor. Above anything, we hope that everyone who comes to visit and stay would feel at ease, a feeling of staying at their own place would be a bonus.

Syahirah's room is on the 1st floor, whilst below is a guest room

The last photo of the house is my most favorite, it is a dining and the main living area for the guest. We are going to install the identical chandeliers at this area. I saw it from Houzz years ago. Hubby must have kept that photo for long time as he ensure that I would have it though it took so much time for his workers to make it happen. In fact it was the first few photos that I save into my idea books. Hubby had get his workers to spend so much time to lay the ceiling exactly how it was show in the photo.

For the record, I first came to know about hubby's intention to install chandelier at the staircase area when I happened to accompany him buying a mechanical motor hoist that will assist to bring down the lights for cleaning and maintenance. My head started to ache as I knew it would be a nightmare to search for proper and appropriate chandelier for that highest ceiling area of the house. When we accidentally found below chandelier in Harvey Norman, I thought our search is over. At that time, I was thinking to buy a simple chandelier without crystals from Ikea which price tag is about 10 times cheaper. But the light shop in Kelantan changed my plan. It was an Egyptian crystals that is used for chandeliers whilst the Harvey Norman 1 was a crystal from China. Anyhow, instead of 1, we will  gonna have 4 chandeliers altogether hung inside our new house.

The 1st Chandelier that we purchased at Harvey Norman for the staircase area

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Malaysia Federal Territory Mosque (Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan)

Date: 26th January 2017

It was my first time driving around in Jalan Duta's Federal Government Complex. I've been called to the magistrate court for traffic offence as summoned by JPJ. The court session started at 8.00am. I arrived at Jalan Duta before 7.30am and accidentally passed by this jewel which look so stunning from a distance, the KL Mosque (Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan). KL Mosque or the Federal Territory Mosque is a major mosque in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. It is located near MATRADE complex and the Federal Government Complex off Jalan Duta, just opposite the KL High Court.

Image from the mosque's website, ""

The Mosque was constructed between 1996 to 2000, situated on a five hectare site near the Government Office Complex along Jalan Duta. It's official name "The Wilayah Persekutuan (Federal Territory) Mosque" was opened to the public on 25 October 2000 and was officiated by the 12th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Syed Putra Jamalulail. It is the 44th mosque built by the Government within the city limits. The mosque can accommodate 17,000 jamaah (worshipers) at any one time. This are the facts that I gathered from the mosque website.

Mosque that surrounded with water features and beautiful landscape

If Shah Alam Blue Mosque is in my opinion, a 100% Malay architectural design that reflects a true Malaysian arts and pride, these are not the case for the KL Mosque. In my eyes, the mosque's design is a blend of Ottoman and and a little bit of Malay architectural styles, heavily influenced by the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It has 22 domes made from a composite material of glass fibre fabric mixed with epoxy resin to make it durable and light. The domes obviously a copy and paste all of the Ottoman's mosque design. Those who have been touring Turkey, especially Istanbul would agree with me. For the record, the mosque has attracted tourist from all over the world, 198 countries to be exact and I maybe the late guest. As a Malaysian, I feel shy to admit this.. hehe, apologies to all Malaysian people!!! 

Construction of the mosque area was realized on 25 Shawwal 1416 Hijri, i.e. 15 March 1996 and was completed on 30 August 2000. It took 4 years to built this magnificent complex. The ceremony of handing over the property to the Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) was immediately held in September 2000. JAWI is the official custodian of the huge complex. The whole complex occupied ​​about 13.4 hectares seated on the site of a former court and government offices which later was shifted to Putrajaya. The master mind behind the proposed mosque was inspired by none other than our one and only Tun Dr. Mahathir who then became the Prime Minister for the fourth time. It is a project of the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department Kuala Lumpur (Jawi) and being recognized the status of the State Mosque. Thank you Tun, we are greatly indebted for your intelligent and wise wisdom.

Federal Territory Mosque is located in a hilly area in Jalan Duta, near the intersection to the center of Kuala Lumpur. The mosque is named Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan with an iconic concept of "a mosque in the garden". It's purely designed and built using traditional Ottoman mosques in Turkey, on the external facade that resembles Istanbul Blue Mosque. However its internal architectural design and decoration is a combination of an East Malaysia Malay tradition concept. It is indeed a national landmark added to the whole Government Complex of Jalan Duta. The mosque built up area is about 47,000 meters square, complete with modern facilities.

Community centers and science complex are included to form the basis of the design concept. It has adequate facilities for JAWI to spread the Islamic teaching in this country. Masjid Federal Territory Mosque became one of the main mosques in Kuala Lumpur, seated near the complex Matrade and government official. Tun Mahathir has brought an original drawings of Ottoman mosque ideas filled with the past glorious history of this century added and/or combined with an influence of the Middle East and Malay architecture. Like I said earlier on, the mosque has the effect of architecture of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. The entrance facade (as seen in below photo) is adapted from Iranian mosque, an influence of shiah's design. I'm sorry to those who might disagree with my opinion. My years of travelling abroad has made me reach to that conclusion.

The design of the dome is a unique series consisting of a main dome, half domes, a vault and other small domes above it's main centre domes. The main prayer's dome height is 30 meters reaching up to 45 meters of the floor space at the main prayer hall. As a whole there are 22 domes altogether in this mosque. Apart from the main prayer hall built in the middle of the building, there are plenty of other areas that is also serves as a prayer interaction, i.e. in the court yard, an open concept similar to the Jama Masjid in Delhi. The main hall, multi-purpose hall and dormitory is all equipped with air-conditioning system. The mosque is also equipped with fire-extinguishing systems, service elevator to the 4th floor, and an escalator that connects to the 1st floor and 3rd floor.

Reminded me so much of the Moghul architecture when I saw the mosque courtyard

A delicate and unique carvings can be seen not only on  a plastered wall finishes but on a high or low plastered ceiling that has been carved and shaped using a special mold. Special motif, mostly on wood carvings that adorn the mosque is shaped from five kinds of fragrant flowers like flowers pierced wildebeest (flower mas), frangipani, ylang, cape, jasmine and green leaves like ferns.

Wood decor specially carved from East Coast craftsmen

And all these wood decor consists of cengal carved by skilled local craftsmen brought in from Terengganu and Kelantan. The interior of the mosque is decorated with lights that emit light sparkled from inside out. The chandeliers that hung on the inside of the dome-shaped is of a modern and exclusive design. Its beauty is revealed when all the lights were installed, especially at night. I was there in the morning, hence the beauty and the charm of this chandeliers cannot be seen at that time. Hubby has done shopping 4 chandeliers for our new house. Soon, I would be surrounded with the crystals beautiful lights. I am so indebted to Allah for granting me with not only 1 chandelier but 4.

Stone carvings were made at the main gate and the chamber. Type of stone used consists of marble "Makarana" (I honestly do not know what it was). The stone is organized from 3 centers located in Agra, Jaipur and Makarana in Rajestan, India. These stones were carved by skilled artisans in India using the concepts of in lay out of precious stones and assembled at the construction site by local workers and updated and refined by Indian workers. No wonder I have the same kind of feeling when visiting this mosque. Not only it adopt an Ottoman architecture, it also has a Moghul architecture element brought in. Indeed, a very unique mosque.

KL Courts seen from the KL Mosque

Various types of precious stones such as rock layers of lazuli, black onyx, malachite, jasper red and golden, mother of pearl and tiger eye has makes this mosque as a very special and majestic complex. "Thuluth" calligraphy also plays an important and meaningful role as a decorative calligraphy to this Territory Mosque. It is applied in certain places for people to easily appreciated and understood  the beauty and the meaning of it. Take note of this calligraphy, especially at the entrance gate.

There's no one apart of the 2 cleaners inside the main hall prayer areas when I stepped inside to snap some photos. The domes and the inner wall are mostly painted (or wall paper, I'm not sure here) with layered of a bee nest, that reminded me so much Chapter 16 of the Quran, An-Nahl or the Bee where Allah has reminded all Muslim to gathered in the mosque for learning the Quran and spreading its wisdom to all. Let me share with you 2 verses from Surah An-Nahl, 16:68&69 "And your Lord inspired to the bee, "Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]." There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought".

Finally, I like touch a little bit on the hard landscape and external layout. The pedestrian lanes that are provided around the pool is paved with pebbles from the river. Indoor water fountain is equipped with seven refined and artificial waterfall added with natures softness and tranquility. The pool is equipped with bio-filters to keep the water clean all the time. Landscape concept for the mosque is a mosque in the palace garden as oriented in Islam's teaching. Beautiful gardens complete the mosque as a center of education, research and recreation. The mosque is surrounded by a pool of water created an atmosphere of comfort, peace and quiet. The mosque is equipped with walkways and fountains. Visitors will be impressed by the beauty of the various species of flowers and plants that are grown here. That was the purpose.

The mosque facing the Government Administrative Complex and the Court Complex

Last but not least, I hope I shall visit more mosque in Malaysia in the future and blog about it.