Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque | A visit to the most beautiful and fantastic mosque in Southeast Asia.

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my 1st glance at this stunning Mosque

It is Brunei’s major landmark and famous tourist attraction which is located in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei Darussalam. It is hard to miss it because from afar the outstanding building really stands out in the centre of town, and  the magnificent golden-domed mosque as it stands out like a beacon.

After enjoying my langhap sarap chicken spaghetti meal from Jollibee just inside the Yayasan shopping mall- I grabbed my map and camera bag and whoolah heading to the famous golden dome mosque. The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is one of the most accessible attractions in the city of Bandar itself, as it is centrally located near plenty of restaurants, the Cator bus station, the water village and short walk from Yayasan shopping complex. You will not get lost finding this landmark cause as soon as you look up you will be able to see that Golden Dome of the Mosque.

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 Here I come now…

What makes it difficult for me to get here is the sun striking on the ground and I cant stand it. After like 10 minutes of walking I finally saw the most bragged about Mosque in every blog spot sites I have read when I was doing my itinerary for Brunei. During sunlight the dome was shining and white walls looked so warm and beautiful. And for the first 10 minutes my feet was glued on the floor-all I can say is WOW.

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I am not sure if he is a beggar though..

The grandeur mosque is built on a plot of 5 acres standing over the artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River at Kampong Ayer and surrounded by a large number of trees and floral gardens which in Islam symbolize heaven.

The mosque is named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei, who was the reigning Sultan at the time the mosque was built and who is known as the architect of modern Brunei. Construction started in 1954 and was completed in 1958.

 At a cost of around 5 million USD, the Bruneian Sultan spared no expense: imported Italian marble pillars and floor, granite from Shanghai, crystal chandeliers from England, ornate carpets from Saudi Arabia and a main dome of pure gold.

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very quiet and tranquil place 

From every angle and from every light of day, the mosque was spectacular to look. For avid photographers this is the best place to honed and test your photography skills. For me it is a very different mosque as compared to most mosques around the globe due to the setting it has been built in which gives the dramatic approach. One can just simply walk around and capture great photos of the mosque from all angles until you’re left with no space in your memory card.

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Inside you will be amazed by the esplendent marble and granite floors, stained glass,chandeliers from all over the world, beautiful carvings with arches and the luxurious carpets were flown in from Saudi Arabia and Belgium. The mosque can accommodate 3,000 worshipers.

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The boat-like structure on the lagoon is known as a mahligai and is a 16th century replica of a royal barge. It was built later in 1967 to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of Nuzul al-Quran. Religious ceremonies used to be staged at the barge during the 1970s.

 Indeed, at 52m, the mosque was for a long time the tallest building in Brunei, as no other buildings were allowed to be built higher than the mosque, to reflect the importance of Islam in this tiny Muslim country. Apparently the nearby Islamic Bank of Brunei building originally exceeded this height and so had its top storey removed by order of the sultan.

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 post card like photo of the Mosque

The mosque’s most recognizable feature, the main dome, is covered in pure gold.

AND TAKE NOTE THAT IT IS PURE GOLD

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 Parthenon ang peg..

Inside is blue tiled fountain for the faithful to perform their absolutions just outside the entrance.  Many perfectly manicured plants line the gardens around, presenting a serendipitous atmosphere of calm. There are faucets where they wash their feet before praying to Allah.

The mosque at most times is somewhat accessible to tourists. Only the main hall and one of the hallways allows visitors to freely explore. The other parts of the mosque are reserved for prayer. I did try to get inside the mosque and I was handed this black long robe I have to wear before they will allow me to see what’s inside.

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Took a photo from across the street..See I told yah take photos from all angles

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 let us cross the bridge to get there

The mosque has a single marble minaret and a golden dome. The main minaret is the tallest feature where it is equipped with elevator to the top that can view the entire city .A bridge links it to Kampong Ayer as it is the Sultan’s intention that the mosque be accessible to all while another bridge connects to a replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah mahligai barge.

It is a place of worship for the Muslim community but at the same time also best for pilgrims and travelers from around the globe.

the most impressive side of the mosque was looking back across the lagoon which showcases a replica royal boat.

Women have to dress in a long, ankle-reaching coat of course, provided for at the entrance and taking off your shoes is of course mandatory. Furthermore, non-Muslims should be aware that visiting times differ. Friday of course, entrance of the Mosque is restricted to Muslims only; Saturday and Sunday have also restrictions. The best days for a visit is Monday to Thursday.

Time passed-and didn’t even notice that it so after taking all the photos that I need I decided to my next attraction for the day. And because I know that at night brightly-lit mosque looks the most beautiful with its reflection captured in the mirror-like lake-so I went back again only this time the moon gives light to the golden dome. It is bathed in yellow and green light, the mosque shone, literally and metaphorically.

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I just feel like I have to see what it looks like at night and when the sun is up that’s why I went back-and it was absolutely worth going for the 2nd time.

ADDICT NOTES:

-Mosque is open daily except Thursday and Friday: 8am – 12pm, 2pm – 3pm, 5pm – 6pm.

-can go inside (outside of prayer time).

-dress appropriately if you plan to visit.

-best to visit at daytime and at night when the mosque is lit with bright lights.

-not allowed to take photo inside mosque.

-wear the black robe when planning to go inside.

-no admission fee.

-don’t forget to pay respect.

-avoid going on holidays or Ramadan as the place is closed for visitors.

-make sure your camera is fully charge before coming cause it is the best place for photo ops.

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