The first time I saw the Masjid Zahir (Zahir Mosque) in a photo, I was in awe of its beautiful architecture. But seeing the mosque in the flesh, early morning and the sun is just a few degrees up in the horizon, I was bowled over.
The Masjid Zahir is the state mosque of Alor Setar, Kedah state’s capital. It was built in 1912 and inaugurated in 1915 and was inspired by the Masjid Azizi in Langkat, Sumatra. It is here where the annual Koran reading competition is held.
Looking at it, one can’t help feel in awe. Is it because of the five dark bulbous domes in different sizes? Or is it the white washed minarets and walls that cast a pleasing contrast to the domes? The muslim style arcade that runs almost the entire perimeter coupled by the long shadows cast by the low sun made the view more stunning.
The mosque’s land area is quite big, at 124,400 square meters, a prayer hall that is 62×62 square meters and several mezzanines. But it is because of this expanse, with the mosque at the center that makes it a wonderful view: a white and dark religious structure amidst a sea of green. Add to that the playful geometric design that is the hallmark of Islamic architecture.
That’s what I like about travel. You go to places. You discover. And you just come in awe of something in these places. And Alor Setar’s Zahir Mosque is one such place.
There is another beautiful, privately owned mosque in Alor Setar, the Masjid Albukhary.