By James Gough
The Ihsaniah Iskandariah Mosque or the Old Mosque located at Kampung Kuala Dal is truly unique.
I noticed the mosque in 2008 when driving to Taiping via the old road. Even though it was dilapidated and worn by the weather, it was worth making a stop and photographing it.
Two years later when I happened to pass by again, it had been fully restored.
The old mosque at Kg Kuala Dal is situated about 5km from Kuala Kangsar on the old road to Padang Rengas. It was built in 1936 during the time of the then Sultan of Perak, Sultan Iskandar Shah.
A report by the Star (dated Mar 2010) stated that the early mosque was constructed by Chinese artisans with assistance from the local community in their traditional gotong-royong manner.
It didn’t say who designed it but it clearly stands out as uniquely original. In fact, I have not seen another design like it in the whole of Perak…maybe even the country.
It is a two-floor structure, full timber on a concrete base and has a rectangular plan with ‘four boxes’ at the corners.
The walls were lined with thatched kelarai panels with a continuous diamond design and at the center of each panel was a rosette.
The top floor is the prayer hall and has full French windows, latticework and fixed louvres certainly suitable to enable adequate lighting and ventilation. From what I could make out from viewing the old structure, the ceiling was made of timber.
The downstairs is similar but above the windows are a fanlight which resembles twining leaves and above that are cut-outs of crescent moons and stars.
Imagine that this was constructed in the 1930; it says a lot for the artisans then.
The Ihsaniah Iskandariah mosque was in use till 1976 when another mosque, Masjid Al- Wahidah, was built at a site close to it, after which it was abandoned and fell into disrepair.
The Department of National Heritage restored it in 2008 and it was accorded heritage status after its completion in 2009.
The upgraded mosque has the state colours of yellow, black and white similar to Istana Kenangan at nearby Bukit Chandan.
A worthwhile piece of restoration for the present generation to appreciate and learn more about our heritage passed down through the generations.