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Documentary Of Masjid Kapitan Keling, Pulau Pinang

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Added by Shahrezan Sickander in Documentary News


Masjid Kapitan Keling is believed to have been constructed upon the reward of the 18-acre land by the Lieutenant Governor of Pulau Pinang at that time, Sir George Leith, to the Indian Muslim community in 1801, and 1803 is the earliest date that marked the development of George Town (which is the capital city of Pulau Pinang). The important figure who led the development of this mosque is Cauder Mohideen. At first, the mosque was built for the convenience of the Indian Muslims who worked for the East India Company some over 200 years ago. According to the historical facts, the original square framework of the mosque had 4 minarets and was pictured to feature a large pond in the middle of the square with a long bench located along each edge.\"One of the attractive aspects of this mosque is the element of the verandah which features minimal solid walls. In other words, the composition of the archway and verandah surrounding the interior of the mosque gives easy access and a welcoming experience to visitors. On the other hand, the internal ventilation of the building becomes more efficient that there is no need for the use of air conditioning system. This keeps the entire interior of the mosque very well-aerated and conducive to worshippers.\"This mosque has gone through several phases of renovation from 1893 until 1916. One of the factors that caused damage to the roofs of the mosque was the extension done to accommodate the increasing number of the committees of the mosque. The renovation processes posed implications to the architecture and interior wall decoration of the mosque.\"Speaking of these consequences onto the mosque, we need to refer to the refurbishment works which took place from 1916 to 1935 where the elements of Moorish architecture were adapted. Aligned with this building of that era would be the Sultan Abdul Samad building in Kuala Lumpur which speaks of the same architectural language.\"The original structure did not have any dome, and so, one of the renovation phases saw the introduction of the copper dome to the mosque in which the building material was hardly used in any mosque construction in this country. The copper dome is supported interiorly by a wooden structure on the inside and later with another metal structure. It has two layers of concrete and copper which are separated by an empty space. As time rolls by, this mosque begins to age and experience bad leakage predicament at the roof as well as the dome structure. In 2010, Think City Sendirian Berhad, a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, came into picture and acted upon this matter. Nik Rahiman was honoured the trust to carry out the restoration efforts and his company was assisted by the Australian architectural consultants (NSW Government Architect\'s office of Sydney). The committees of the mosque also cooperated in this project.\"During the restoration of the dome, when we conducted a site investigation, there were prominent holes on the outside layer of the dome which is caused by the previous poorly-done conservation phases. When we deal with copper, it must be done the right way and one of the reasons to the damage is actually the use of some other metal component with copper itself. So, the decision made in this context was to firstly remove all the nails found on the structure of the copper dome and to be replaced with a type of material called \'copper patches\'. To attach this material to the structure, blind rivet is used which is also made out of copper.\"After the success of the restoration works of the roofing structure and the dome, the next important criterion to consider is the maintenance aspect which will be done gradually by the committees of the mosque.\"We introduced the \'cat ladder\' and \'cat walk\' in the roofing area and also over it. This will ensure that the roof pieces would not be disturbed as this may lead to other damages. This facility allows convenient access to the roof as this mosque is 30 feet high, and therefore, it is a tall building. The usage of tall ladder is also not needed since there exists this facility, which also prevents further damages especially to the façade of the building.\"

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