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|Saturday, 27-Aug-2005 00:00
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MENCARI PAK TUA : Episode 2
DI SINI AKU KETEMU DIKAU, PAK TUA
( FINALLY I MEET YOU HERE, OLD CHAP )
* A continuation from Episode 1.
In 1966, a big flood struck Kelantan.
Houses got washed away, people and livestock perished.
The Masjid Lama Kampung Laut was not spared either.
Almost got washed away by the current, it was damaged heavily and was no more used to hold prayer services. The mosque stood in wreck, waiting for another big flood to wipe it clean.
The mosque stood helplessly there for another 2 years.
Luck was at its side though, since the annual flood was not too strong enough to completely erase it from history.
In 1968, the Malaysian Historical Society, upon hearing the sad situation decided to alert the local government on the matter.
Long story made short, the approval was given, and the restoration work began in the same year.
Based on the report by Malaysian Historical Society in the society's magazine of December 1970 edition, the Masjid Lama Kampung Laut was dismantled carefully, moved to Jajahan Kota Bharu, was rebuilt and restored at a new site, far away from any future flood which might threaten its existence.
I continued my journey "searching" for Masjid Lama Kampung Laut to a place just outskirt of Kota Bharu town. The lush green paddy fields on both side of the road accompanied my journey. Northern Kelantan is in fact a vast system of Kelantan River delta where people have gathered for hundred of years to take advantage of the fertile plain. The land is washed annualy by mineral-rich flood water, explaining why the delta is good for agriculture alike.
A 30 minutes driving finally brought me to a place called Nilam Puri.
From my car, the historical mosque is clearly visible as it stood not far from the main road.
The mosque however is still in use, especially by the students of Arabic and Islamic study centre nearby.
Even though many of the mosque original parts had to be replaced during the restoration work ( like the long stilts which were cut short due to excavation difficulties, parts damaged by flood, old planks etc ), the mosque still retains its original shape and design.
The main pillars in the prayer hall exhibit elaborate Malay carvings,
and the doors are without metal hinges, just wooden pole like parts at the top and bottom, not seen in modern architecture, which acts like any normal doors. Not to mention the well known "nail-less" structure.
Indeed, our ancestors left us with so many remarkable stuff.
So remarkable, they represent the very essence of our existence as " Malaysian ".
finally I meet you here.
You went through 500 meaningful years
with challenges in between.
Now I wish you luck
for another 500 years to come.
From stories passed down the generations, the stilts of the Old Mosque of Kampung Laut used to be very long that a local feudal lord used to ride his elephant to the mosque and tethered the beast right under it.
Due to sedimentation by floods for hundred of years, the stilts were reported buried to a level almost reaching the floor.
The later generations questioned the logic of the mosque being "resting on tall stilts as high as an elephant" only to be dumbfounded later to find what the flood had exposed.
The Old Mosque of Kampung Laut as it is now.
The architecture and building material are SAID to be very similar to that of Masjid Agung Demak (Demak Grand Mosque) in East Java which was built in 1401. And therefore the Kampung Laut Old Mosque, with no written record to show us its exact construction date, is estimated to be at least 500 years old for the resemblence it shares with Masjid Agung Demak
* The black and white photos are all taken from The Malaysian Historical Society magazine, December 1970 edition, from an article entitled, " The Oldest Mosque in Malaysia Is Moved To A Safer Site " by Tan Sri Mubin Sheppard.
UPDATED 11 JUN 2006 :
ARKIB NEGARA MALAYSIA :
Collection of rare photos of the old Masjid Kampung Laut before restoration.
UPDATED 24 MAY 2009 :
* Majalah Tiga ( M3 )'s coverage on Masjid Lama Kampung Laut ...