Warlords in Nur Alam Grand Mosque

A assumption which never materialized was to entering Tuan Kadi Halfway House. I wanted to sit relax in it and enjoyed history strands in its small cubicles. Simultaneously, sweat which had continued to melt in my temples, slowly but surely shed every assumption in my head. House doors were tightly closed as if it said to me “Just go, enough for you to just see my beauty“.

I went…..

Footsteps which I was unconscious began to little bit drag, indicating that I needed a lot of rest after four days before in exploring Medan, Samosir Island and Pematang Siantar. Alas!, my desire to know about Pekanbaru had beated feet tiredness which had actually screamed to stop.

I began to enter Kota Baru Street. Giant bolts, rolls of thick wires, large pipe casings seemed scattered in shop house rows which were transformed into mechanical workshops. Every swing of my steps seemed to recharge my enthusiasm to immediately arrive at Kampung Bukit area where Pekanbaru City was established.

In this area, a land plot of former new market (Pekan Baharu) which was pioneered by Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah stands a special heritage, the oldest mosque in Riau Province.

Again….Yellow dome symbolizes Malay greatness.

A mosque which was born as a consequence which was carried on Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah shoulders, the 4th Sultan who moved the center of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate from Mempura Besar to Bukit Senapelan in the mid XVIII century.

It is “Tali Berpilin Tiga” tradition which makes King’s Palace, Custom Deliberative Hall, and Mosque as requirements which must be fulfilled by the Sultan if he intends to move the sultanate. The King’s Palace symbolizes government, the Custom Deliberative Hall symbolizes ancestral custom and the Mosque as a religion symbol.

Half of dome in arch canopy reminds me to Mughal architecture at Taj Mahal.

By the Sultan, the Palace Building was named Istana Bukit, the Custom Deliberative Hall was named Balai Payung Sekaki and the Mosque was given a name as Alam Mosque which was taken from the Sultan’s youngname, King Alam.

Some people call it Pekanbaru Senapelan Mosque, also some people call it Pekanbaru Grand Mosque.

I arrived at the mosque as a Masbuq (late for prayer), didn’t want to be left behind of entire rak’ah, I rushed to ablution room and immediately followed the last two rak’ah in prayer congregation. After completing last 2 rak’ah, I began to be stunned by six large white pillars which on its top were covered with golden domes and didn’t really support the roof, like a lighthouse.

Sunlight which was penetrating permanent glass windows on top wall increasingly displayed typical Persian arches. While golden calligraphies which set in a typical Middle East green background seemed to circle around mosque as an interior.

A green-roofed golden pulpit with golden crescent moon tower.

Went out from mosque, I headed east to a cemetery gate. Named as Marhum Pekan Cemetery Complex which is cemetery complex of Pekanbaru city founders such like Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah (4th Sultan), Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam Syah (5th Sultan) and their loyal warlords.

Gate of Marhum Pekan Cemetery Complex. Marhum Pekan itself is a term for Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam Syah (founder of Pekanbaru city).

Nur Alam Mosque is a closing for my exploration about Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate. Satisfied and happy to get to know more about the famous sultanate in Sumatra land.

Come on …. Back to hotel, check-in and lunch!

Sharia Law Behind Tuan Kadi Halfway House

I began to leave the Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Green Open Space on foot. Along Wakaf Street, I slowly approached a traffic policeman who was arranging an intersection. Not awkward, I called him when he still sounded his whistle following flashing green lights which automatically moved dozens of vehicles to cross the intersection.

Unsure of answering my question, he shouted at his colleague at a police post. After his friend stretched his arms parallel to the road and followed by his palm which turned to right, this young policeman was very sure to tell the closest direction to Siak River to me.

Mutiara Merdeka Hotel in Jembatan Siak I Street.

Enjoying one part of Siak River, was able to amaze me, this is inseparable from historical facts behind its water flow. Siak is the name of sultanate which ever stood in this river body. If I could reconstruct journey history of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate which had ever triumphed, it would certainly perfect my exploration in Pekanbaru.

Linger over Siak Bridge I, as far as eye could see, it was clear that Siak III Bridge was right in front of me and looming behind it was Siak IV Bridge (better known as Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah Bridge) which hadn’t yet finished its construction. While from my standing position, in my back side was Siak II Bridge.

Siak River which was formerly known as Jantan River.

Bright brown of water color and river width which represents Siak River valor is enhanced by greeny river body which soothes anyone in its banks. Geographically, the river passes through four districts i.e Rokan Hulu, Bengkalis, Siak and Pekanbaru.

Next, I continued to go through a small road on edge of the river until I came to an open park under Siak III bridge, better known as Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam Syah Bridge. Many young people looked cheerfully chatting with their friends or their partners enjoying peaceful atmosphere around the river. At other side, it was clear that Water Police Office of Riau Regional Police was busy. Seen two fast patrol boats leaning on river edge.

Riverside park under Siak III Bridge.

While next to riverside park was a stilt house with a dominant light yellow color. With greeny graded lawns and black-orange square patterned tiles which at the edge was bordered by a blue mosque and river viewpoint area. This courtyard is known as Tuan Kadi Park.

Tuan Kadi Halfway House.
Tuan Kadi Park.

Tuan Kadi / Qadhi is a title which Sultan has proclaimed to someone who is appointed as an advisor in Islamic sharia law (Nasyih) and acts as a munakaah judge in marriage matters and heirlooms distribution in Siak Sultanate.

After Dutch Colonial occupation , Tuan Kadi/Qadhi title was pinned to Chairperson of Siak Sultanate’s Shariah Deliberative Board. This house itself is owned by Qadhi Haji Zakaria bin Haji Abdul Muttalib who ever held that position. And in his time, this house was ever be a stopover for Sultan Syarif Kasim II, the 12th Siak Sultan.

Hhmmhh …. Already past noon, let’s do Dhuhr prayer…..Come on, went to Siak Sultanate’s inherited mosque!

A pair of Bono in Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Park

Failed to check-in sooner, I decided to explore Senapelan area for next three or four hours, an area where Sultanate of Siak Sri Indrapura had reached its golden age. I tried to trace sultanate history by visiting its legacies which enduring until now.

For that reason, I went to Siak River which is famous and legendary in my country. Just imagine!, Siak River was once be the deepest river in Indonesia.

Chinatown on Dr. Leimena Street was still quiet that morning, only one or two cars passed. I turned left when I started cutting Ir. H. Juanda Street and then found a green area which seemed to be acquiring a junction area which is bounded by Riau Street and Jend. Ahmad Yani Street. Not far away, I estimate about half a kilometer north of my hotel.

To right: Ir. H. Juanda Street, straight: Jend. Ahmad Yani Street and to left: Riau Street

A park which covering an area of two times football fields is like many city parks in Jakarta. Exhibiting a name board and providing sidewalks as a barrier between main road and park area.

Here it is the park name.

Tunjuk Ajar Interigitas Green Open Space is a famous playground spot in Pekanbaru and is a favorite park for residents who live in Senapelan area.

Inevitably, even in the heat of day, there were still some small families who bring their children to the park and did some activities in sand playing area which is equipped with a swing seats, kids up-down stairs and kids slides.

While some park cleaners in a light-green long t-shirts looked busy in pulling weeds, watering plants and sweeping every park corner. The park is vast, but its cleanliness can’t be doubted.

Occupying a former office of Public Works Service, USD 600,000 of funds which is invested in park construction are reflected in spacious area and complete facilities which is provided in park.

In four corners of park are provided a concrete canopy with a mushroom-shaped roof and a canopy is right in the middle of park with a Malay roof and ornamented selembayung.

In left side, there is a circular open space which is arranged like a theater complete with a three-levels podium. Some young people seemed to sit in a canopy and holding their own skateboards. While owner of a battery-powered toy car appeared to arrange his rental toys in a shady area.

Jogging track splits the park.
Multifunctional open area.

Tunjuk Ajar” which means “Giving an Example” and “Integritas” which represents a “Leadership Attitude“, is sufficient to explain that this park is a vehicle for modeling integrity in community leadership. This meaning is emphasized by an existence of a monument at one side of park.

Integrity Monument.

Built and owned by Riau Provincial Government, this park is dedicated to corruption resistance program in regional government.

The Integrity Monument features Kampar River’s Bono and Rokan River’s Bono as well as Malay keris. Bono refers to a wave which is formed at both of Kampar and Rokan River estuary as a result of the meeting of fresh water which is leading to sea and seawater which headed ashore. While Malay keris describes a process of establishing integrity at all levels of society.

No loss too, stopped by in a park which I accidentally found before reaching Siak River banks.

From Sri Indrayani Hotel….The Adventure was Began

I still didn’t budge with an offer of taxi drivers, while other INTRA Bus passengers preferred to use taxi services towards their final destination in Pekanbaru.

Several time later, from across the street, an online motorcycle taxi driver waved to me. Of course he knew, I was wearing a blue jacket with same color backpack. I had sent a description to him via message in application.

Are you originally from here, Sir?” I asked in back seat.

No, I’m from Padang, Sir. Are you from Java? your accent is typical“, he answered and asked.

I ever studied in a college at Yogyakarta, Sir. Which Java are you from?“, I didn’t have answered yet, He had asked again.

I’m originally from Solo, Sir. Are local residents nice, Sir?”, I began to wonder.

Most of Pekanbaru residents are from Padang, Sir. Calm down, Sir, anywhere is safe“, he soothingly said .

From an article I read afterwards, it’s true that 40% of Pekanbaru residents are Minang native migrants. Indeed, Minang people are great in odyssey

Not even 10 o’clock in the morning, I arrived.

The three-star hotel which I booked through Airy Rooms exactly on nine days before my arrival in Pekanbaru was only USD 6 per night. Cheap, right?

I deliberately chose to stay in Senapelan area just to tracing the glory of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate. Looking at economic activities of city residents, remembering that the name of Pekanbaru came from words of Pekan Baharu, a market which was pioneered by Young Sultan named Tengku Muhammad Ali, the 5th Siak Sultan. It can be said that Senapelan area was the forerunner to the formation of Pekanbaru City which was born as a positive impact from Sultanate economic development.

Hotel front yard is on an edge of Sam Ratulangi Street.

Coming too early, I tried my luck in front of reception desk. Maybe they could put me faster to rest in hotel room.

The room isn’t ready, Sir. Just wait in our lobby until 13 o’clock”, young staff on duty said in neat uniform.

Oh well, Sir. Can I put my backpack here. I better go around the city first, then come back when I can check-in“, I replied.

Oh sure, sir. Just put it here“, he asked my backpack to put behind the table.

Sir, is there a power outlet to recharge my handphone?“, I asked him

Oh, the plug is in hotel’s restaurant at right of the lobby. Just go in, Sir!“, His index finger pointed at a door.

Straightening my waist for a while in the lobby, I was still staring at the authentic reception room, golden yellow dominated. Three roofs with three selembayung at the end. praying hand shape symbolizes the close relationship between living things and God.

In addition to selembayung, motifs like a Malay songket is beautify the room.

After my camera and handphone was charged, to take advantage my time while waiting for check-in, I began to explore some traces of Siak Sultanate which were clearly represented along Siak River, Tuan Kadi’s Halfway House and Nur Alam Grand Mosque

Entering twin bed room at 2 pm.
Cheap but luxurious hotel room for me.

Sri Indrayani Hotel was originally a guesthouse which was rented by an airline for its air crew since 1971. Along with Pekanbaru development, this guesthouse perfected itself by transforming into a leading shariah hotel in Pekanbaru during the city’s development. Its location which opposite the Chinatown also made hotel development was quickly its time.

Finally, I found warm water after didn’t bathing for 38 hours.
The park behind hotel is bordered by Bangka Street.

From Sri Indrayani Hotel, my adventure to exploring Pekanbaru was began. It was time to got around the city and got to know about the capital of Riau Province.

7 Tourist Attractions in Pekanbaru

Entering Pekanbaru, all INTRA Bus passengers were unloaded in a non-permanent restaurant building which is made from green colour wood. Entering in back of restaurant, long row of simple bathrooms made me easy to washing my face and preparing myself to explore “Madani City“.

Entering city’s roads for the first time on an online motorcycle taxi seat, I began to save my curiosity about destinations which I could visit in the city. Until I finally arrived at Sri Indrayani Hotel lobby before check-in schedule. After charging my camera and smartphone to several cell bars in the hotel restaurant, I immediately swung my steps to nearest spots.

  1. Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Park

Not far away, half a kilometer to northwest of hotel, there is a fairly well-known park in Pekanbaru. It is Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Park which has became a favorite play ground for city residents whice its development is dedicated to corruption resistance program in local government.

Integrity Monument in the park.

Not yet midday, hot air began to feel. Forcing me to took a shelter on park edge. Visitors was still quiet, considering I didn’t visit on weekend.

2. Siak River

Continuing my steps, I went down to Wakaf Street before finally being led by a traffic policeman to turn right and passing Jembatan Siak I street then reached edge of Siak River.

Visiting Siak River and imagining the glory and prosperity of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate who once stood on this river edge was a thing that was interested me to made it as one of my destinations this time.

Panorama of Siak I Bridge.

3. Tuan Kadi’s Halfway House

Still wandering along the river, now I headed to Siak II Bridge. People call it as Bridge of Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam Syah, taken from name of the 5th Sultan of Siak Sultanate.

Stunned to stare at a building under the bridge, an original house since golden era of Siak Sultanate. This tourism site is known in the name Tuan Kadi’s Halfway House. Kadi or Qadhi itself is a famous title during the sultanate. The first owner of this house is Qadhi Haji Zakaria bin Haji Abdul Muthalib who had served as Chairperson of Siak Sultanate’s Shariah Deliberative Board.

It was once be a stopover for Sultan Syarif Kasim II, the 12th Sultan.

4. Nur Alam Grand Mosque

The sun began to slip from its highest position, meaning that I was able to entering Sri Indrayani Hotel’s room. Taking southeast direction, I intended to stop by and praying Dzuhur at Nur Alam Grand Mosque before arriving at hotel.

The oldest mosque in Pekanbaru.

The relic mosque of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate still firmly stands with its yellow dome as a symbol of Malay greatness. It feels, Pekanbaru residents worth give a thank to Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah, the fourth Sultan who had built this magnificent mosque.

5. An-Nur Great Mosque

The heat of city began to subside, especially after I finished to bathing in hotel. Finishing lunch then I continued my exploration. After visiting the oldest mosque, now I headed to the grandest mosque in Riau Province.

Exhausted after walking almost 4 km, I chose to use an online motorcycle taxi towards An-Nur Great Mosque, two kilometers to southeast.

Indonesia’s Taj Mahal.

An-Nur Great Mosque itself has been a religious icon of Riau Province since the first year it was built, in 1963. Make sure that you don’t miss to visiting it when you are in Pekanbaru.

6. Putri Kaca Mayang Park

Next, I hurried to downtown. My next choice was Putri Kaca Mayang Park. Located on a side of Pekanbaru’s protocol street, this park looked more presentable than the first park which I visited.

The park name is taken from a princess name in a legendary tale in society.

Time that had slipped towards afternoon, one by one residents were seen coming to the park to just releasing fatigue or bringing their children to spending time by playing around the park.

7. Jenderal Sudirman Street

Like the same street name in Jakarta, Jenderal Sudirman Street in Pekanbaru also plays a role as a protocol road in the city.

As a main road, of course there are many things which can be enjoyed along the way. Road width with busy passing of vehicles is decorated by classy buildings architecture on both sides made Jenderal Sudirman street as a photography spot which worth to visiting.

The Soeman HS Library, Lancang Kuning Tower, Riau Governor’s Office and Dang Merdu Tower are architectures which look striking and different from other buildings along Jenderal Sudirman Street.

The road is decorated with Asmaul Husna along its edge.

Come on, vacation to Pekanbaru!