Soroptimist Sisters’ Recommendation – Walkabout in Brickfields

Soroptimist Sisters’ Recommendation – Walkabout in Brickfields

Walkabout in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

- rich in heritage and history, a showcase of religious tolerance, so accessible from KL Sentral -

Brickfields, Malaysia’s official Little India, has rows of shops that sell everything from traditional Indian goods such as saris, flower garlands, spices and Bollywood music, to local delicacies such as vadai, thosai (Indian pancakes made from fermented rice flour) and more. On 27 October 2010, this RM35 million project was jointly unveiled by the Prime Ministers of India and Malaysia.

A 35-foot fountain at the entrance welcomes visitors to the sights and sounds of India. Turn left and along Jalan Tun Sambanthan modern landmarks have transformed Brickfields from what it was before when clay pits and brick kilns used to line the railway tracks.

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At Public Bank, turn right and walk to YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association). At the traffic lights, turn left. Passing narrow roads reach Jalan Scott, named after Sam Scott who had his Selangor Ice & Aerated Water Company at the end of the road, on land that is today occupied by the Sri Kandaswamy Kovil. Sri Kandaswamy Kovil is a Hindu temple located along Jalan Scott, Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The temple, over a century old is one of the most prominent Sri Lankan or Ceylonese Tamil temples in Malaysia.

The Sri Kandaswamy Temple was inaugurated in 1902 with the installation of the ‘Vel’ by His Holiness Sri Murugaswamy. In 1910, a semi-permanent hall was built, this being the fore-runner of the present Kalamandapam which was officially opened on 25th August 1973 by Y.A.B Tun Abdul Razak bin Dato Hussein, the Prime Minister at that time. Featuring a traditional Sri Lankan architectural style, the entrance is decorated with statues of hundreds of Hindu deities. Local devotees believe this shrine to be the threshold between the material and spiritual worlds. Sri Kandaswamy Kovil Hindu Temple houses a pavilion beside a reflecting lotus pond, with peacocks wandering through the main courtyard. The building’s hall has become a popular venue for weddings, cultural shows, seminars, lectures and social functions.

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Another iconic Hindu temple is the Sri Krishna Temple in Scotts Road. Lord Krishna is reputed in this temple to frequently bestow the gift of offspring. Many childless couples get their prayers answered at this holy place. Once their prayers are answered, the couples contribute towards the upkeep of the temple as a mark of appreciation.

Krishna Jeyanthi is celebrated on a grand scale when the temple becomes energetic with 13 days of festivities. On the very last day, Gokula Asthami is celebrated with much devotion. A holy cow is brought into the quarters of the temple for Komadha puja. This puja sanctifies the temple, as the cow is Lord Krishna’s favourite animal.

Sri Kandaswamy Temple was inaugurated in 1902 with the installation of the ‘Vel’ by His Holiness Sri Murugaswamy. A Reading Room was built in 1905 with plank walls, cement flooring and attap-roof. In 1910, a semi-permanent hall was built, this being the fore-runner of the present Kalamandapam which was officially opened on 25th August 1973 by Y.A.B Tun Abdul Razak bin Dato Hussein, the Prime Minister at that time, The building’s hall has become a popular venue for weddings, cultural shows, seminars, lectures and social functions.

Walk along Jalan Scott established on November 21, 1951 on the initiative of Major D.R. Bridges who was the officer in the Department of Welfare Services of Malaya.



This small surau was re-constructed to a new Masjid. The main language for preaching is Tamil. This is a Madrasah (school) too where children can learn Al-Quran. In the month of Ramadan, porridge (bubur lambuk) is prepared with rice and other ingredients to be distributed to everyone who breaks the fast.

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The Tamil Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur along Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad has services in English and Tamil as well as in Nepali, Telugu and Sinhalese. It traces its roots as far back as 1896, when Tamil Christians began church-planting activity in Kuala Lumpur, resulting in the founding of the Tamil Methodist Church on 18 June, 1897. Many Indonesian Christian workers employed in Malaysia attend Sunday services at this church.

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The Lutheran Church of Malaysia traces its history to the eviction of foreign Christian missionaries from mainland China in 1953, after the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Some missionaries from the United Lutheran Church in America were stationed to northern Malaya and worked among the ethnic Chinese community who were relocated to the New Villages as part of an attempt to stem the influence of the Communist Party of Malaya during the Malayan Emergency.

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This Roman Catholic church in Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad located across the road from SJK (C) St Teresa Brickfields, was the result of church planting carried out by French Catholic priests from the Paris Foreign Missions Society (Société des Missions étrangères de Paris, or MEP). Initially, the largely Indian Catholics were attending services at the Church of St Anthony, but as their numbers increased, the then priest Father Antoine Hermann initiated the founding of the Church of Our Lady of Fatima.

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Free vegetarian lunch,donations from devotees is available on every First and Fifteen Day of the Full Moon Lunar calendar.

Two Bodhi trees taken from the sampling of the original Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lankan are a welcome sight. You can say a prayer and go around clockwise 3 or 9 times in quiet contemplation.

On Wesak Day (Vesak Night), an annual procession of colourful floats with statues of Buddha makes its way to the city centre and back. Located opposite the Shrine Hall is the multi-storey Wisma Dharma Cakra. The complex also houses the Buddhist Institute Sunday Dhamma School (BISDS), Tadika Sudharma, Parama Business & IT Training Centre and the Asoka Hall.

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On the next corner is the Temple of Fine Arts (TFA), an imposing modern building completed in 2008. The role of the TFA is to help the younger generations of Malaysian Indians to remain in touch with their Southern Indian cultural roots and traditions. It houses function rooms and performance venues. On the ground floor is a smart Indian restaurant called Annalakshmi and a shop selling Indian gifts and handicrafts, Savanya Arts.



Opposite the temple is a magnificently preserved traditional wooden house in Malay style. It is a pre WW2 (World War II) house with an entire street that once had that design. The house was occupied by the parents of a Malaysian tycoon, who has since restored it and kept it for private use.

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The brick-paved Jalan Tun Sambanthan is lined with white street lamps and creamy-yellow arches with purple embellishments to match the newly painted purple buildings along the street

Along Jln Tun Sambanthan, I pass florist shops selling garlands of jasmine, rose and other colourful blooms hanging from racks. Pause awhile to watch the speed in which the florist weaves her fingers through the petals to create garlands of various combinations. I continue through shops blasting Bollywood music with rows of Indian CDs, fruits on makeshift tables and trinkets of various sizes and shapes.

Colourful saris and churitas with matching accessories attract my attention, and am indeed lost for choice.

It’s lunch time and I walk into Sri Paandi Restaurant. Brickfields is popular for its affordable eateries, most importantly, restaurants specialising in banana leaf lunches, Roti Canai and thosai. Many of the businesses here operate late into the night and some even run round the clock.

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The Vivekananda Ashram constructed in 1904 was named in honour of the Indian spiritual leader Vivekananda, who visited Malaya in 1893. His statue stands in front of the entrance. The building is now protected as a heritage site. Spiritual education classes and prayer meetings are held here.

These are among some of the many attractions you will see in your walkabout in Brickfields. Make this your travel discovery when you sign up to attend the SI Convention KL 2019, 18-21 July 2019.

Do contact Malaysian Soroptimists Indira Naidu ( or Pushpa Ratnam ( to plan your visit.

Soroptimist Sisters’ Recommendation – Kelantan

Soroptimist Sisters’ Recommendation - Kelantan

Longest Sleeping Buddha in Southeast Asia

As perception goes, Kelantan is viewed as a pre-dominant Islamic community. Yet, it showcases a melting pot of different religions and cultures that belie its conservative strain of religious tolerance.

An hour away from Kota Bahru is Tumpat, whose appeal rests on the 25 Buddhist temples or “wats” found in this district. Tourists and devotees flock to admire these attractions which are mainly Thai influenced both in culture and architectural splendor, as Tumpat is near the Thai border.

Not to be missed are Wat Photivihan, the largest reclining Buddha in South-East Asia. Measuring 40 m long, 11m high and 9m wise, this statute was completed in 1979 by Thai craftsmen. Other attractions at this wat are the Chinese pavilion, a hall featuring Tibetan architecture, and the statue of the 18-arm Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

Wat Machimmaram or The Sitting Buddha in Kampung Jubakar, is among the largest in the region. It is a work of art that took 10 years to build.

You might be mistaken to think that this is a Chinese temple with its pagoda like structure. It is not. Popularly known as the “Beijing Mosque”, this mosque also combines Indian and Uzbekistan features in its interiors. Sited on a 3.7 hectare site in Rantau Panjang, this mosque can take in 1,000 visitors.

Bijan Bar and Restaurant

Bijan Bar and Restaurant

Experience Malay cuisine at this chic restaurant to get a taste of local cuisine at its finest.


Price range $$ - $$$
Distance from KLCC 2.5 km
Address 3-5 Seri Bukit Ceylon, 8 Lorong Ceylon Off,
Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur
Contact (60)3 20316568

Soroptimist Sisters’ Recommendation – Perak

Soroptimist Sisters’ Recommendation - Perak

Trip out of Ipoh

Did you know that you can hop on an electric train ride from KL Sentral and head straight to Ipoh town, north of Kuala Lumpur, the focal point of the SI Convention Kl2019? In 2 hours time, you and your aficionados can begin your food trail and heritage discovery.

Alternatively, rent a car to coordinate your trip. Or contact Soroptimists from Ipoh, Malaysia to help you coordinate your plans for a day affair or a stay over, which will allow you to explore more of Perak’s attractions including eco-resorts like the Banjaran Hot Springs, the Haven and many others.

Ipoh is the birthplace of the famed White Coffee (do check out what this is), and is touted to have the most authentic principally Cantonese, street-hawker and city food.

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Whilst savouring the food delights, don’t miss out on Ipoh’s heritage landmarks and other points of attraction. Plan for a heritage walk to view the iconic Ipoh Railway station, the Ipoh Town Hall and not forgetting the Birch Memorial Clock.

5 kms south from Ipoh city is the must-see Perak cave temples or Sam Poh Tong as it is famously called. A top international tourist site nestled on a scenic limestone hill, you will be greeted by a cave entrance and some of the oldest Buddhist statues (40 of them) and murals within the temple complex. Carved among natural stalactites and stalagmites, overall it is an impressive work of art & deep faith.

After the gastronomic treats, and your stamina holds, climb the 246 steps to the top of the hill. The reward – a panaromic view of Ipoh city & its beautiful surroundings. If not take a break by the pond and feed the tortoise (sign of longevity) or cast a wish at the wishing well.

 There is another point of attraction to explore.

In the Batu Gajah district near Ipoh stands Kellie Castle. Built in 1915 by a rag-to-riches Scottish planter, William Kellie Smith for his wife Agnes, find out why this beautiful mansion was subsequently abandoned. A Malaysian Taj Mahal story some might conclude. Hence the tag ‘Kellie’s Folly’.

Built by 70 craftmen from Madras, Keliie’s Castle was the site for the film ‘The King & I’(of Jodie Foster’s fame)

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Of course, a trip to Ipoh would not be complete without a visit to Ipoh’s famous pomelo farm. ‘Limau bali’ as Malaysians call them, is a citrus fruit akin to a large grapefruit. Pomeloes are native to South and South East Asia. Given the agro-tourism drive by the Perak government, you will plenty of pomelo farms to visit.

If you plan on staying longer, the Tambun Hot Springs can be a welcomed balm and much needed treat. Rejuvenate and enjoy magical moments in mineral rich bio-thermal hot spring pools. Now that’s a real treat!

Contact your Soroptimist sisters from SI Ipoh or the Hospitality Committee when planning your Ipoh trip.