Generally Mosques aren’t the most elaborate of places – they tend to be open spaces where the masses can congregate and worship together unless there is some reason to make a ridiculously opulent and large mosque, as was such for the Hasan II mosque in Casablanca.
The biggest Mosque in Jakarta and South East Asia is the Istiqlal Mosque. The idea behind it was that the largest Muslim population in the world, should have a Mosque befitting the size of the community.
It is definitely a building of stature and getting there in Jakarta is quite easy. From the Le Meridien, it cost about 90000 Rupiah (10$ CDN to have a “Blue Bird” taxi driver pick us up, drop us off, wait on us and then back to the hotel).
The Mosque is supposedly open 24 hours a day, but I wouldn’t recommend testing that theory. We got there around 7pm and came back to the hotel around 8:30. The mosque was practically empty except for those who came for the last prayer, so we enlisted the help of a friendly guard to walk us around and show us the mosque.
The facts from Wikipedia – pics by me:
The rectangular main prayer hall building is covered by a 45 meter diameter central spherical dome. The dome is supported by twelve round columns and the prayer hall is surrounded by rectangular piers carrying four levels of balcony. Staircases at the corners of the building give access to all floors. The main hall is reached through an entrance covered by a dome 10 meters in diameter.
The interior design is minimalist, simple and clean cut, with minimal adornment of aluminium geometric ornaments. The 12 columns are covered with aluminium plates. On the main wall on qibla there is a mihrab and minbar in the center.
On the main wall, there is a large metalwork of Arabic calligraphy spelling the name of Allah on the right side and Muhammad on the left side, and also the calligraphy of Surah Thaha 14th verse in the center.
Outside the mosque is another large courtyard, where you can see the flame of the National Monument.
Three Minutes in Istiqlal Mosque