Unique Perak Mosque Restored

Text and photos by Lau Sook Mei

Front section of Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah.

You will be surprised to know that this 1938 mosque, also known as Masjid Lama Kampung Dal, was not built by local Malay builders but Chinese artisans who involved the local community in the gotong royong (teamwork) spirit. It was built at a cost of RM8,000, borne by the 30th Perak Sultan, Sultan Iskandar Shah (r. 1918-1938). Incidentally, the Sultan is the head of the Islamic religion of the state.

Located at Kampung Kuala Dal, Padang Rengas, less than 2 km north from the interchange after you exit the North-South Expressway Toll Plaza in Kuala Kangsar, Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah was accorded national heritage status upon completion of its restoration in December 2009.

Back section of the Masjid.

According to the website of the Department of National Heritage, Jabatan Warisan Negara, while returning from his Royal Highness’ favourite picnic spot at Lata Bubu, Sultan Iskandar Shah saw that the locals had only a dilapidated madrasah where they conducted prayer sessions. He vowed to have a mosque constructed for his subjects if his son recovered from an illness. He did and Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah was built on waqaf land originally endowed by Juragan Abdul Syukur Mohamad Ali.

Intricate woodcarvings for ventilators.

The two-storey building has a unique shape, for a mosque, and a design that resembles a bird cage. Its architectural style is very much in tune with the Sultan’s Istana Kenangan (completed 1931) in Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar. It has a low-pitched roof of zinc sheets. The walls are woven bamboo (kelarai), and above the windows the ventilators are adorned with intricate carvings in wood.

Istana Kenangan...make a comparison.

Kentong - a traditional method for the calling of prayers.

Abandoned since 1976 when the Masjid Al-Wahidiah was built in the same compound, the Masjid Lama fell derelict.  Because of its historical significance, the Department of National Heritage undertook to restore it. Taking almost a year, restoration work adopted traditional construction method, with the woven bamboo wall-cladding and woodcarvings done by  craftsmen in the district. The diamond-shaped Arabic geometry pattern of the kelarai was painted the colours of the Perak flag.

Paint peeling off the kelarai.

Concrete base of skirting revealed.

During a recent visit to the Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah in late May, barely half a year after its  restoration, the PHS team was dismayed to discover that the paint on the kelarai and some parts of the concrete skirting has come off. Could these be the result of our harsh tropical weather or is it inappropriate paintwork? Surely, once restored, buildings need maintenance and monitoring so that they do not degenerate to a miserable state, like the Rumah Kutai on the Ipoh Road outside Kuala Kangsar.

Something needs to be done to ensure the paint stays on the kelarai of this enchanting mosque.

Please visit https://perakheritage.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/phs-3-5-ecopy.pdf for related story.


2 Responses to “Unique Perak Mosque Restored”

  1. 1 S.Sundralingam June 27, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Sook Mei great photos and good writeup.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Perak Heritage Society

Persatuan Warisan Perak
(Reg. No. 1254) was registered with the Registrar of Societies in August, 2003.

Office and Postal Address:
85C, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil,
30300 IPOH, Perak, Malaysia.
(opposite the Syuen Hotel)

Fax: 05-253 5507

Website: https://perakheritage.wordpress.com

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 119 other followers

Perak Map



All data and information provided on this blog site is solely for informational purposes.

PHS makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, topicality or validity of any information found here and will not be liable for any error, omission or delay in posting this information, or any loss, injury, or damage arising from its use or display.

All information is provided as-is. We reserve the right to review and reject any comment deemed unsuitable for general public reading.


© 2010 Perak Heritage Society
All articles and images featured are the property of the Perak Heritage Society, except where noted.

Please acknowledge and credit PHS for any material taken from our blog.

For commercial applications: To copy, download or use any text or image file, you will need our permission. Contact us before you take them.


%d bloggers like this: