Kapitan Keling Mosque at Jalan Kapitan Keling is the oldest historic mosque in Penang. Founded by an Indian Muslim’s headman Caudeer Mohudeen (though some refer as Cauder Mydin Merican instead) in 19th century, hence the mosque was named after him. The land of 18-acres was approved in November 1801 by British East India Company and construction began immediately to prepare a worship place for Muslims when Indian Muslims community surged back then in Penang.
The original Kapitan Keling Mosque was a single storey building of triangle sloping roof. After the deceased of Cauder Mohudeen in 1834, the land ceased to be recognized as the original grant. Hence public roads and houses were built surrounding it and the mosque size was gradually reduced to only 8-acres in 1903.
What we see today was the major renovation work conducted in 1916 when British gave a major face lift to reconstruct in accordance to Mughal architecture to incorporate a madrasah, a tall minaret, bulbous domes and turrets. In 1930, the mosque was enlarged to improve the interior and exterior structures with every piece in symmetry plus delicate ornamental detail and a park like surrounding which still holding intact Mughal Islamic-style.
Situated at the juncture of Buckingham Street and Pitt Street in the heart of George Town, Kapitan Keling Mosque is a prime mosque for folks living and working nearby to perform their daily prayers (of 5 fives a day). In addition to that, the mosque also holds religious festivals or ceremonies like marriage as what we saw on our second visit armed with camera!
The most recent refurbishment was carried out in 2003 to overcome water leakage and drainage problems. At the same time, an Islamic information office was also built on the ground of the tall minaret to assist visitors or tourists. Visiting for non-Muslims are allowed (in fact it is a free tour) however permission must be sought before entering. Polite and respectful clothing are also a must.
That day, we arrived about noon. With the lovely blue sky as backdrop and Kapitan Keling Mosque as our object, we were too preoccupied! Snapping came first after everything else. We were charmed – I guess! What a lucky day again as always!