Bertolak ke Masjid Agung An-Nur dari Pecinan

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Kusempatkan memejamkan mata sejenak begitu menyelesaikan proses check-in di Hotel Sri Indrayani. Semalam yang tak nyenyak di bangku tengah Bus INTRA, bersambung dengan empat jam berjalan kaki demi mengeksplorasi daerah Senapelan telah membuat otot betisku kelelahan dan mataku terasa berat.

Smartphone yang masih mengisi ulang daya itu pun berteriak membangunkanku, tepat satu jam sebelum Shalat Ashar. Waktu shalat memang menjadi pilihan sebagai penanda mula untuk kelanjutan petualanganku di Pekanbaru. Itu karena aku memilih untuk mengunjungi sebuah masjid termegah di seantero Provinsi Riau atau boleh dikatakan sebagai salah satu yang termegah di tanah air.

Tak mengulur lagi keterlambatan bersantap siang, aku menyusuri daerah Pecinan di sepanjang Jalan Dr. Leimena yang tak jauh dari gerbang hotel, hingga menemukan sebuah kedai yang memaparkan harum rempah dan terlihat sangat ramai pengunjung. Seluruh bangku di lantai bawah ruko itu hampir penuh dan tanpa pikir panjang aku segera menduduki satu bangku diantaranya.

Mie dengan tauge bercampur potongan lontong, udang, telur dan diwangikan dengan taburan bawang goreng…beuhhh, nikmat

Menenggak pelan asam manis es jeruk dingin menjadikan tubuh mendingin sejenak di panasnya kota. Dan tepat di tegukan terakhir, ojek online itu datang menjemputku.

Menuju ke tenggara sejauh tiga kilometer dan tiba di gerbangnya tepat dua puluh menit sebelum waktu Ashar tiba. Begitu banyak polisi di halaman masjid yang tampak tengah mengamankan sebuah agenda penting siang itu. Setiap kendaraan yang masuk area masjid tak luput dari pemeriksaan ketat.

Mau kemana, Bang”, tegur polisi muda bersenjata laras panjang di gerbang masuk. “Shalat Ashar, pak”, password yang begitu ampuh untuk melewati pemeriksaan itu.

Mirip Taj Mahal, bukan?
Kubah bak gasing terbalik dan pohon-pohon kurma itu….Hmmmhh.

Aku belum juga memasuki ruangan masjid. Sibuk di pelataran menikmati keindahan arsitektur yang tersaji di depan mata. Masjid dominan hijau berusia setengah abad dengan luas area yang kuperkirakan lebih dari sepuluh hektar…..Sungguh, luas sekali.

Lihat saja bagaimana lapangnya salah satu sisi parking lot.

Mughal masih saja menjadi corak arsitektur yang mendominasi, lengkungan-lengkungan khasnya mirip lengkungan pada persemayaman terakhir Mumtaz Mahal di Agra. Sedangkan nuansa sekeliling masjid sedikit mengadopsi atmosfer Masjidil Haram di Mekkah dan Masjid Nabawi di Madinah.

Corak Melayu disematkan oleh warna hijau pada bangunan utama, warna merah pada ornamen di menara dan kuning emas pada ormanen interior beserta seni kaligrafinya. Lalu adat Melayu digambarkan pada lantai dua tingkat dengan beranda dibawah. Mengadopsi konsep rumah panggung Melayu.

Rukun Islam dilambangkan pada lima kubah dan kepemimpian Khilafah sahabat Nabi direpresentasikan pada empat menara.

Kini aku bersiap untuk beribadah Ashar, menyucikan diri di lantai bawah dan menaiki tangga demi tangga menuju ruang peribadatan utama di lantai kedua. Atmosfer di dalam yang begitu khusyu’, membuatku merasa bersyukur karena masih diberikan kesempatan untuk mengunjungi rumah Tuhan yang megah ini.

Enam pilar raksasa berdasar hijau dan berlapis putih di bagian atas.

Kulamakan waktu dudukku di bagian belakang untuk menikmati ikon wisata religi Provinsi Riau yang konon bisa menampung hampir lima ribu jama’ah.

Lengkung kubah dari dalam.

Karya arsitektur kenamaan di Pekanbaru ini tak lepas dari tangan dingin Kaharuddin Nasution, Gubernur kedua Provinsi Riau yang memindahkan Ibukota Provinsi dari Tanjung Pinang di Pulau Bintan ke Pekanbaru pada tahun 1960-an. Perpindahan itu tentu membawa konsekuensi baginya untuk memfasilitasi kegiatan keagamaan mayoritas masyarakat yang notabene memeluk agama Islam. Oleh karena itulah Sang Gubernur merasa penting untuk menghadirkan Masjid Agung An-Nur ini.

Keren ya…… 

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

7 Destinasi Wisata Pekanbaru

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Memasuki Pekanbaru, semua penumpang Bus INTRA diturunkan di sebuah bangunan warung non-permanen berbahan kayu warna hijau. Memasuki bagian belakang warung makan, deretan panjang kamar mandi sederhana memudahkanku untuk berbasuh muka dan besiap diri untuk mengeksplorasi “Kota Madani”.

Memasuki jalanan kota untuk pertama kalinya diatas jok ojek online, aku mulai menyimpan rasa penasaran tentang apa saja yang bisa kukunjungi di kota. Hingga akhirnya aku tiba di lobby Hotel Sri Indrayani lebih cepat dari jadwal check-in. Setelah mengisi daya kamera dan smartphone hingga beberapa cell bar di restoran hotel, aku segera mengayun langkah ke beberapa spot terdekat.

  1. RTH Tunjuk Ajar Integritas

Tak jauh, setengah kilometer di barat laut hotel ada sebuah taman yang cukup terkenal di Pekanbaru. Adalah Ruang Terbuka Hijau Tunjuk Ajar Integritas yang menjadi play ground favorit bagi warga kota yang pembangunannya didedikasikan untuk program perlawanan korupsi dalam pemerintahan daerah.

Tugu Integritas dalam taman.

Belum juga tengah hari, udara panas mulai terasa. Memaksaku untuk berteduh di tepian taman. Masih sepi pengunjung, mengingat aku tak berkunjung saat weekend.

2. Sungai Siak

Melanjutkan langkah, aku turun ke Jalan Wakaf sebelum akhirnya dituntun oleh seorang polantas untuk berbelok ke kanan melewati Jalan Jembatan Siak I dan mencapai tepian Sungai Siak.

Mengunjungi Sungai Siak dan membayangkan kejayaan serta kemakmuran Kesultanan Siak Sri Indrapura yang pernah berdiri di tepian sungai adalah hal yang menarik minatku untuk menjadikannya sebagai salah satu destinasi kali ini

Panorama dari Jembatan Siak I

3. Rumah Singgah Tuan Kadi

Masih berkelana di sepanjang sungai, kini aku menuju ke Jembatan Siak II. Khalayak menyebutnya sebagai Jembatan Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam Syah, diambil dari nama Sultan ke-5 Kesultanan Siak.

Tertegun memandangi bangunan di bawah jembatan, rumah asli sejak era keemasan Kesultanan Siak.  Situs pariwisata ini dikenal dengan nama Rumah Singgah Tuan Kadi. Kadi atau Qadhi sendiri adalah gelar tersohor pada masa kesultanan. Pemilik awal rumah ini adalah Qadhi Haji Zakaria bin Haji Abdul Muthalib yang pernah menjabat sebagai Ketua Kerapatan Syariah Kesultanan Siak.

Pernah menjadi tempat singgah Sultan Syarif Kasim II, Sultan Siak ke-12.

4. Masjid Raya Nur Alam

Matahari mulai tergelincir dari posisi tertingginya, artinya aku sudah bisa memasuki kamar Hotel Sri Indrayani. Mengambil arah tenggara, aku berniat mampir untuk bershalat Dzuhur di Masjid Raya Nur Alam sebelum tiba di penginapan.

Masjid tertua di Pekanbaru.

Masjid peninggalan Kesultanan Siak Sri Indrapura ini masih berdiri kokoh dengan kubah kuningnya sebagai simbol kebesaran Melayu. Rasa-rasanya, rakyat Pekanbaru pantas berterimakasih kepada Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah, Sultan Siak keempat yang mendirikan masjid megah ini.

5. Masjid Agung An-Nur

Panas kota mulai mereda apalagi aku sudah selesai berbasuh badan di hotel. Selesai menyantap makan siang maka aku melanjutkan eksplorasi. Setelah mengunjungi masjid tertua, kini aku menuju ke masjid termegah di Provinsi Riau.

Kelelahan telah berjalan hampir 4 km, aku memilih menggunakan ojek online saja menuju Masjid Agung An-Nur, dua kilomoter ke tenggara.

Taj Mahalnya Indonesia.

Masjid Agung An-Nur sendiri telah menjadi icon religi Provinsi Riau sejak tahun pertama dibangun, yaitu tahun 1963. Pastikan kamu tak terlewat mengunjunginya jika berada di Pekanbaru.

6. RTH Putri Kaca Mayang

Berikutnya, aku bergegas menuju ke pusat kota. Pilihanku berikutnya adalah Ruang Terbuka Hijau (RTH) Putri Kaca Mayang. Terletak di sebuah sisi jalan protokol kota Pekanbaru, taman ini terlihat lebih rapi dari taman pertama yang ku kunjungi.

Nama taman diambil dari nama seorang putri dalam dongeng yang melegenda di masyarakat.

Waktu yang sudah menggelincir ke arah sore, satu persatu warga terlihat mendatangi taman untuk sekedar melepas penat atau mengajak anak-anak untuk menghabiskan waktu dengan bermain di sekitar taman.

7. Jalan Jenderal Sudirman.

Seperti nama jalan yang sama di Jakarta, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman di Pekanbaru juga memainkan peran sebagai jalan protokol di kota Pekanbaru.

Sebagai jalan utama tentu banyak hal yang bisa dinikmati di sepanjangnya. lebarnya ruas jalan dengan sibuknya lalu lalang kendaraan dihiasi oleh arsitektur bangunan-bangunan mentereng di kedua sisinya menjadikan Jalan Jenderal Sudirman menjadi spot fotografi yang layak dikunjungi.

Perpustakaan Soeman HS, Menara Lancang Kuning, Kantor Gubernur Riau dan Menara Dang Merdu adalah arsitektur yang tampak mencolok dan berbeda dari bangunan-bangunan lain di sepanjang Jalan Jenderal Sudirman.

Jalan berhiaskan asmaul husna di sepanjang tepinya.

Yuk, berlibur ke Pekanbaru.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Heading to An-Nur Great Mosque from Chinatown

I took a moment to close my eyes after I finished check-in process at Sri Indrayani Hotel. An uneasy night on a middle bench of INTRA Bus, continued for four hours on foot to explore Senapelan area had made my calf muscles exhausted and my eyes felt heavy.

My smartphone which was still charging, shouted to wake me up, exactly one hour before Asr Prayer. Prayer times was indeed an option as a starting marker for continuation of my journey in Pekanbaru. That was because I chose to visit the grandest mosque in the whole of Riau Province or it could be said as one of the grandest in the country.

No longer postpone for late lunch, I went through Chinatown along Dr. Leimena Street which isn’t far from my hotel gate, until I found a small restaurant which exposed fragrant spices and looked very crowded. Its entire seat in downstairs was almost full and without long thinking, I immediately occupied one seat in between.

Noodles with bean sprouts mixed with lontong (Indonesian compressed rice), shrimps, eggs and fragrant with a sprinkling of fried onions….Hmmh, delicious.

Slowly drinking a sweet-sour of cold-orange juice made my body felt cool for a moment in the middle of city heat. And right at a last sip, an online motorcycle taxi came to pick me up.

Heading southeast for three kilometers and arrive at the gate exactly twenty minutes before Asr Prayer arrived. So many police officers in mosque courtyard, it seemed to be securing an important agenda that afternoon. Every vehicle which entered mosque area didn’t escape from strict inspection.

Where are you going, Sir?” a young policeman which armed with long barrel gun said at entrance gate. “Asr prayer, Sir“, a password was so effective for passing the inspection.

It’s like the Taj Mahal, right?
Domes like an upside down “spinning top” and that palm trees….Hmmmhh, nice.

I hadn’t entered yet the mosque room. Busy in courtyard to enjoy the beauty of architecture which was presented in front of my eyes. A greeny dominant mosque which is a half of century old with large area which I estimate to be more than ten hectares….Really, very vast.

Just look at how spacious a parking lot side is?

The Mughals are still be dominant architectural style in it, its distinctive arches resembling arches of Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb in Agra. While nuances around the mosque was slightly adopted Al-Masjidil Al-Haram atmosphere in Mecca and Al-Masjid An-Nabawi in Medina.

The Malay style is embedded to green color of main building, red color on tower ornaments and yellow gold color on interior ornament and calligraphy. Then the Malay custom is depicted on two levels of floor with veranda below. It adopts a concept of Malay’s houses on stilts.

Five pillars of Islam are symbolized by five domes and leadership of Prophet’s Caliph is represented on four towers.

Now I was preparing to Asr Prayer, purified myself on lower floor and then climbed stair by stair leading to main worship room on second floor. The atmosphere inside was so solemn, it made me feel grateful because I was still given an opportunity to visit this magnificent God house.

Six giant pillars with green color in base layer and white on top layer.

I made my sitting time so long in the back to enjoy this iconic religious tourism of Riau Province which is said able to accommodate almost five thousand worshipers.

Dome arch from inside.

This famous architectural creation in Pekanbaru can’t be separated from Kaharuddin Nasution cold hands, the second Riau Province Governor who moved Provincial Capital from Tanjung Pinang on Bintan Island to Pekanbaru in the 1960s. Certainly, this displacement had consequences for him to facilitate religious activities of residents majority who in fact embraced Islam. That is why the Governor felt it was important to present An-Nur Great Mosque.

Cool……

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!

Eight Facets in Al Mashun Grand Mosque Architecture

That green mosque with dominant white was clearly visible from Maimun Palace gate. It’s a 111 years old mosque which is be a memory of Deli Sultanate greatness. According to story, Sultan wanted to build a mosque more beautiful than the palace where he lived as a service for religion. So the palace and mosque are an architectural package which were planned by Sultan Deli which you must visit when you are in Medan.

Impatient steps made me sweaty panting and my back was increasingly achy because burdened by a backpack which even I have carried for 4 hours since leave Kualanamu International Airport.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight….Oh, eight facets“, I murmured in heart when I got around outside of the oldest mosque in Medan. The main dome with dark color is surrounded by three twin domes. A unique form and rarely found in any mosque.

Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam needed for 3 years for finishing the building.

Dhuhr azan reprimanded me for immediately turning off the camera and purifying myself with wudu (ablution) in a separate building at east of mosque.

Wudu (ablution) place.

After put my shoes, I walked on a rubber track into mosque’s worship room. I was looking around and admiring mosque’s interior which is very charming.

Able to accommodate 1,500 worshipers at a time.

Eight buffer pillars are coated by marble which was imported from Itali by the architect – Mr. Tingdeman -. Combined with the elegance of a chandelier from France which its form like a reverse birthday cake. Then walls on every sides consist of doors with Spanish arch style and are completed with large stained glass from China. Then islamic nuances of Taj Mahal are represented on wall motifs and pulpit (minbar) carvings….AMAZING.

Al Mashun Grand Mosque dome are black from outside.

After Dhuhr prayer, I watched an Aussie tour group who visited the mosque using hijab which were provided by the mosque. They looked fascinated when entering mosque’s door.

Some mosque worshipers were seen heading to tombs on west side and made a pilgrimage to Sultan tombs. Al Mashun Grand Mosque looked solemn inside and outside.

Do you know the meaning of word “Al Mashun”…. “maintained” is the meaning of its name.

Pedestrian bridge which its shape is influenced by mosque architecture.

I tried to approach Sisingamangaraja street to enjoy the mosque from a distance. Its beauty increasingly become when I observed it from pedestrian bridge

Madani Hotel is in across of the mosque. See!. It have a dome too….Beautiful.

See Al Mashun Grand Mosque situation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGM70L6JeaQ

That was my adventure in Medan’s second destination….Come with me again to another good destination !.

Tracing Shah Jahan, Enjoying Taj Mahal at Mehtab Bagh

After tired in taking care of Mughal government, I usually head to Taj Mahal to monitor progress of its construction. In afternoon, I invited some Taj Mahal workers to cross Yamuna river and I continued to take shelter under trees in a field to enjoy Taj Mahal which stood majestically doused by orange-red sunset….So beautiful, I imagined it. Imagine?….Yes, because I’m not Shah Jahan. Only he who can do that activity in the past. Who am I ?….Haha.

Taj Mahal was captured from Mehtab Bagh.

I arrived after 10 minutes earlier still exploring Itimad ud Daulah in Northwest Mehtab Bagh. The beautiful and spacious garden hadn’t stolen yet my attention, because I was more interested in old man action who flipping through his fried food so that it gave off aroma of arouse my appetite. No wonder, many people were willing to queue to taste it. I paid for USD 0.75 to redeem and devour it, hot french fries with a faint aroma of curry became my snack menu before entering Mehtab Bagh.

Buying a ticket first before entering.

I immediately headed to gate and buying a ticket for USD 3. Suddenly amazed by park condition. Neatly arranged pathway is embellished with an elongated flower column in the middle. Also facilitated by benches in several spots. All benches were almost all occupied by many Indian young couple who were infected by romance. I couldn’t dismiss it, because the park was very romantic, as its name mean. You know the meaning of “Mehtab Bagh”words?….Mehtab Bagh has same meaning as Moonlight Garden….Wouw..

Really neat right?….

When many young people looked at each other’s interests, I was more interested in going to right of park. Because from distance, appearance of Taj Mahal was so eye-catching. Now I just found out, why Shah Jahan often spends his afternoon to just look at his project here. He even intended to make a black twin Taj Mahal in Mehtab Bagh. But his intention was canceled because he was caught and be a house arrest at Agra Fort after coup by his own son. His son was worried about their kingdom finances which his father was prone to spend it for realizing his intention to build black Taj mahal.

Look at that foundation!….Forerunner of Black Taj Mahal which failed.

All visitors exactly feel safe when in park, because two young armed soldiers patrolled around park to secure its situation.

Soldier: “Where are you come from?”, asked with smile.

Me: “Indonesia, Sir”, answered with simle too.

Soldier: “How about Taj Mahal?. It’s good. Are you happy?”

Me: “Yes, Sir. It’s beautiful. I Love it”, answered.

Soldier: “Enjoy

Me: “Thanks Sir”.

Shady trees in the park.
Other side of park.

I couldn’t really head to Yamuna river bank because It was restricted with iron wires. I saw an european tourist look professional when taking out long binocular DSLR and capturing lots of Taj Mahal pictures from various sides which he liked, right in front of wire fence. I just imagined that one day I could have a camera like that and travel around the world then taking great pictures for you to see. By the way, finally 3 months later I had a Canon EOS M10 mirrorles camera. Not as good as his, but enough for me who have small salary to capture better pictures….Hahaha.

It was enough to imitate Shah Jahan actions at Mehtab Bagh. Now I would see Agra Fort where Shah Jahan is imprisoned….Sad ending.

Itimad ud Daulah….Taj Mahal Blueprint

Description: D:BLUE PRINTtravelingpersecondBaby Taj 01.JPG
Itimad ud Daulah

Taj Mahal is may be an famous heritage on earth. But actually behind its fame, there is an architectural creation which the world has agreed that It is a Taj Mahal’s blueprint. This prototype is in Itimad ud Daulah.

Very grateful, I had an opportunity to visit it on that afternoon. Like a surprise when reading a novel. This time, The Preliminary Chapter began with a suddenly appearing of donkey rows carrying red bricks which was accompanied by the owner’s song. Amazed to see donkeys which were saying “excuse me” in front of me. This is my first time in seeing this animal about a meter in front. The owner just smiled to me when he saw me gaping without blinking eyes while pressing record button of my mobile phone.

Donkeys and its owner.

Spending USD 2.8, I entered into “Baby Taj” yard. (“Baby Taj” is a favorite call for Itimad ud Daulah).

Get the ticket at front gate.

If Taj Mahal belongs to Mumtaz Mahal, then Itimad ud Daulah belongs to Mirza Ghiyas Beg who is none other than Mumtaz Mahal’s grandfather . Taj Mahal was built by Mumtaz Mahal’s husband, then Itimad ud Daulah was built by Nur Jahan who was Ghiyas Beg’s son.

A door before entering the tomb.
Here it is the grave of Mirza Ghiyas Beg and his wife.

Tracking it part by part, my mind confirmed that Itimad ud Daulah was a mini form of Taj Mahal. Not exactly same but its architecture, interior and exterior design are close to similar. Still the same, It is relying on white marble as main display.

Itimad ud Daulah interior.
It’s good, is not….

The weather began to warm, making me comfortably sat while enjoying the beauty of this mausoleum. This time, my gaze was slightly interrupted by the arrival of a beautiful tourist with long blond hair. It wasn’t her face which teased me, but my admiration for her effort to came to Itimad ud Daulah in her condition with crutches and casts that indicated there was a severe injury in her right leg. She struggled to sit on the ground while directing her DSLR to and fro. Occasionally interspersed by reading Lonely Planet which was issued from her small backpack. Unfortunately, I didn’t dare to say hello. Her beauty makes me stunned….Damn, I was a coward backpacker.

Closing Chapter of Itimad ud Daulah’s exploration began with stepping to a gate on right side. I was really fascinated by the vast expanse of a river which began to dry up. I certainly knew that it is Yamuna river which is considered by Indian Hindus to be Goddess Yamuna, the Goddess who is believed to be able to free them from death torments when purifying themself with its water.

The gate is directly adjacent to Yamuna river.
Yamuna river.

So….Yamuna River was my exploration closing session in Itimad ud Daulah. Curious in waiting for various surprises for the beauty of Agra architecture in other locations which I will visit until late afternoon.

Stepping out, I began to open my map and stirred my intention to visit Mehtab Bagh, a charming park which was the best point to enjoy the beauty of Taj Mahal.

Let me show you where it is!

Total Failure when Visiting Taj Mahal

My passionate spirit of visiting Taj Mahal which wasn’t higher than my trifling guts of conquering cold of every drop of water which coming out from GoStops Agra’ shower, had embarrassed myself on a saturday morning.

Needle is exactly on number 7, a taxi which we rented for full-day through sharing costs arrived and the driver was waiting in hostel’s lobby while tightly holding his hands as a sign that he had been hit by a stabbing cold weather in streets.

Do you want to know our white taxi rent fare?….Sure….USD 17.8 divided by four people. So, I had to give USD 4.4 as my transportation budget that day.

Brushing my teeth without bathing, I approached and talked while waiting for 3 other tourists to come down. “No need long time to reach Taj Mahal, brother“, he said first while shaking his head in Indian style to open a conversation that morning. “Nice“, I said while busy fixing my winter jacket and syall which coiled around my neck.

Ten minutes later, his exhaust fumes began to acquiring thick fog along Agra-Bah Road. Sure enough as he said, 15 minutes later he asked us to come down and point to a bajaj with fare about for USD 2.9 to continuing our journey to Taj Majal Eastern Gate. No problem with price because we finally rode that bajaj with all of us….Oh No, we were unpolite tourist….Hahaha.

At 7:30 a.m, tourists queued to hunt for tickets with fare for about USD 7.2.
A ticket in my hand.

What a fool!….Blindly curiosity had closed my logic that morning. Never clearly thought since leaving my hostel that thick fog storm in Agra would perfectly close Taj Mahal courtyard….Ah, I annoyance stood with a long sigh at Taj Mahal entrance. Not able to see anything 10 meters ahead. Only a thick fog which made me slowly freeze.

There was no choice, like it or not, I had to start exploring Taj Mahal with a definite guarantee that I would never fully enjoy its beauty.

I started slowly up the stairs and entering first gate of that famous site. The first gate is named Jilau Khana.

The area around Jilau Khana or often called Forecourt.

What happened was really out of reason. I haven’t finished yet in enjoying Jilau Khana’s red bricks, my automatic footsteps were unstoppable in approaching main building. Taj Mahal like a magnet for anyone who visits it.

Connecting road between Jilau Khana and main gate

Before arriving at main building….About 100 meters later, I reached the grand Main Gate.

Its name is Darwaza-i-rauza or often called Great Gate.

Tourists complaints began to hear while blaming the mist. “I can’t take a picture“, He complained to his fellow friends. Wry smile, I didn’t care about same disappointment.

Look at carvings inside the Darwaza-i-rauza!

Then, where is Taj Mahal main building which is always hunted by world travelers?

Yup….350 meters at north of Darwaza-i-rauza is Taj Mahal location, the tomb of two legendary “lovebirds“. Shah Jahan as the king and Mumtaz Mahal as the “Persian descent” empress who have a extraordinary beauty.

Not long, I immediately put a shoe cover then I got ready to entering Taj Mahal

Shoe cover will be given when buying a ticket.

Like the commonly mosque, Taj Mahal is equipped with four minarets on each side. The greatness of Mughal kingdom is reflected in every inch of Taj Mahal which composed from white marble which was specially imported from Rajashtan and sapphires which was sent from Sri Lanka.

Minaret as high as 40 meters with a cylindrical wall.

Another intriguing thing when visiting Taj Mahal was when each visitor regularly walked to follow a path which had been made by officers to enjoy each side of Taj Mahal main room where Mumtaz Mahal tomb is located. Three heavily armed police closely watched every visitor. Sometimes they gave order to some tourists to immediately move because taking photos for a long time could make a path to be stuck.

Taj Mahal wall.
Taj Mahal window.
Beautiful art of calligraphy in Taj Mahal.
Not bad….Than not at all.

Such is the fact, the 372-year-old Taj Mahal is indeed charming. No wonder, 4 million tourists are interested in visiting it every year.

After enjoying Taj Mahal, then I immediately retreated and returned to eastern gate for approaching taxi which was waiting for me.

I went back east….Which way did you choose to go back?

Jhelum Express from New Delhi to Agra

It was time to execute the ticket.

11078 which was my departure number only appeared once on display board. After a long time, it didn’t appear, I sat on platform and continued to observe that display board….It’s gone!

Endless waiting on platform 4.

Me: “Sir, can you give me some information?. My train number 11078 is never appear again in that display board. Even though my train will depart on 10:15 am.”.

He: “If your train number disappears from the screen. That means your train is getting delay. “Haze storms” which routinely occur every year indeed often make many trains delay for hours.”

I went back to counter and asked about this problem. They only apologized and confirmed that train was delayed. He estimated that train will leave at 16:00….God.

To drove away endless boredom, I headed for Khan Market. Instead of being stunned, I’d better collected a tourist destination in New Delhi to share with you about it….Later, I will definitely write it.

A corner of Khan Market, New Delhi.

—-****—-

On 14:00 hours…. Ensuring every bond and lock in backpack, I immediately headed to New Delhi Railway Station to ride Jhelum Express which would soon come to pick me up.

An extraordinary curiosity to immediately mingle with Indians in an economy class train, making me be the most impatient person in the world that afternoon.

Portrait of inequality in India’s Capital.

The dull red locomotive shrill screams when approaching me, grimacing and bite the rails to precisely stop on platform 4.

The locomotive hadn’t completely stopped each wagons yet, passengers were running….crowding in front of wagons. I just smiled and was stunned by uniqueness of Indian citizens. While they crammed, I was still busy understanding the wagon numbering because there were wagon numbered 10 and 10A. Very unique person who has the idea of numbering system like that. After back and forth, I finally found my wagon….Yups, Wagon S3 seat No. 41 Low Berth (lower seat).

It was true, the complexity which I imagined from the beginning when buying a ticket occurred. The train inside was very crowded and made it feel cramped.

The allocated seat of three passengers facing each other plus one long folding stool above my head which is used as a sleeper seat (Upper Berth)….Ah, I loved it. an amazing condition.

Hello Sir, excuse me“, a young man passed in front of me holding his wife hand and sat facing me. A sinless smile makes my lips do the same thing. How not, now, in front of me has sat 4 passengers on seats which should for only three passengers….Haha.

While the train was running, I hear faint bluff which is either angry or just normally like that. A fat and whiskered conductor checked his guest tickets one by one. A passenger in opposite side of my seat was scolded, He was unable to showing his ticket, then he showed a laminated card from his wallet. And I didn’t know what was that, It was being able to effectively drove out that fat conductor….Damn.

A office worker in front left of me took out a something from his bag. Like Indian films, their culture is still upheld. He held up high a long stack of four stainless steel dinner box with curry scented. If he knew my heart’s face, he would have smiled when see it was roar laughing….Oh God, this was an original Indian. As if it was be a trigger, another passenger on my left and right was doing the same thing.

Their generosity emanated when they offered me to eat together as a family on train. Did I accept? Nup….I also brought out a local burger package with price about USD 0.75 which I purchased at station’s platform that afternoon. Let’s eat together….Ahhaaa.

A passenger at window seat became the busiest person on our journey because he had to keep closing a wooden window whose locking hooks were worn out. Every few minutes, that window would automatically open and put super cold air into wagon.

Maybe that condition was used by “chai” seller to focus on my wagon to sell his wares. “Chai“, another name for “pulled tea” which be legendary in Dhaka, be favorite in India and spreading to Malaysia. Excited, the stack of paper cups which he held was getting shorter. He would go home with a multiple profit this time.

Cuteness of a children’s toy seller made whole train passenger endlessly burst out laughing. He throwed a rubber spiderman every where as he pleased. Amazingly, the spiderman could perfectly stick….Haha. It was be an entertainment to forget many problems at that day which they have faced.

Guys….When did the last time our trains (Indonesia’s trains) still had sellers of all kinds inside it?….Hahaha….I forgot. It was long time a rule about seller restriction in our trains.

The train which stopped….brought down its passenger….took its passengers….Then drove back and kept repeating it at each station made me realize that there was never an announcement where did the train stopped?

Me: “How long will the train run to its last destination?”

He: “Jhelum Express will stop in Pune on 6 am tomorrow morning

Me: “Thanks Sir”, I bitterly smiled with worry.

Now, my enemy was one….i.e Information….the absence of data packets in my gadget further strengthened my mortal enemy that night. I had to asking questions a lot to defeat it.

Me: “Where will you stop, Sir?”

He: “At Mathura Junction Station

Me: “Do you know Agra Cantt Station?

He: “Sure, 2 stops after my station

Me: “Oh, nice”, I was relieved…. Once he got down, I just had to count 2x stops. That was Agra Cantt.

He: “Are you from China?

Me: “No, I’m Indonesian”.

He: “What for do you go to Agra?”

Me: “Taj Mahal, Sir

He: “Oh, very happy to hear Indonesian goes to Taj Mahal

Me: “Taj Mahal….My dream to visiting it

He: “Nice”. Shaking my hand with his happiness which can’t hidden.

That was 10 minutes conversation before he got off at Mathura Junction Station. After that I would get off at next two stops namely Agra Cantt Station.

A side of Agra Cantt Station.

I finally arrived in Agra on 20:30 hours.

It was time to go to hotel….Then slept.

Delapan Segi ala Masjid Al Mashun

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Masjid hijau dominan putih itu terlihat jelas dari gerbang istana. Itu adalah masjid berumur 111 tahun yang menjadi kenangan kebesaran Kesultanan Deli. Menurut cerita, Sang Sultan berkehendak membangun masjid lebih elok daripada istana yang beliau tinggali sebagai bakti buat agama. Jadi istana dan masjid adalah satu paket arsitektur karya Sultan Deli yang harus kalian kunjungi ketika berada di Medan.

Langkah tak sabar membuatku terengah penuh keringat dan punggung yang semakin pegal karena terbeban oleh backpack bahkan telah kupanggul selama 4 jam semenjak keluar dari Kualanamu.

Satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima, enem, tujuh, delapan….Oh delapan segi”, gumam hati ketika aku mengelilingi setiap bidang luar masjid tertua di Medan itu. Kubah utamanya yang berwarna gelap di kelilingi oleh tiga kubah kembar. Bentuk yang unik dan jarang kutemukan di masjid manapun.

Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam menanti selama 3 tahun untuk menunggu bangunannya selesai.

Adzan Dzuhur menegurku untuk segera mematikan kamera dan mensucikan diri di sebuah bangunan terpisah di timur masjid.

Tempat berwudhu.

Usai menitipkan sepatu aku melangkah di jalur beralas karet menuju ruangan ibadah masjid. Aku bak orang kampung yang celingukan kesana kemari memperhatikan interior masjid yang sangat menawan.

Mampu menampung 1.500 jamaah dalam satu waktu.

Delapan pilar penyangga yang dilapisi marmer yang konon didatangkan oleh Meneer Tingdeman dari Italia. Dipadukan dengan keelokan lampu gantung bak kue ulang tahun terbalik khas Perancis. Kemudian dinding di berbagai sisi di cipta mirip lengkungan pintu Spanyol dengan kaca patri besar buatan Tiongkok. Kemudian nuansa islam Taj Mahal direpresentasikan pada motif dinding dan ukiran mimbar….MENAKJUBKAN.

Kubah Masjid Al Mashun yang dari luar tampak berwarna hitam.

Selepas shalat, aku mengamati para rombongan mudi Aussie mengunjungi masjid dengan menggunakan jilbab yang disediakan masjid. Mereka tampak terpesona ketika memasuki pintu masjid.

Beberapa jamaat masjid terlihat menuju makam disisi barat untuk berziarah ke makam para Sultan. Masjid Al Mashun terlihat khusyu’ luar dalam.

Tahukah kamu makna kata “Al Mashun”….”Diperlihara” adalah makna namanya.

Jembatan penyeberangan yang bentuknya tertular arsitektur masjid.

Aku mencoba mendekati sisi Jalan Sisingamangaraja untuk menikmati masjid dari kejauhan. Keindahan semakin menjadi ketika aku mengamatinya dari atas jembatan penyeberangan itu.

Madani Hotel di seberang masjid. Lihat dong punya kubah juga….Ishhh cuakep.

Begitulah petualanganku di destinasi kedua Medan….Yuk ikut aku lagi ke destinasi bagus lainnya!.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->