KLIA Ekspres stopped at an ordinary railway station, called Putrajaya-Cyberjaya where I put my first step outside the glitzy KLIA Airport and KLIA Ekspres.Struggling with the backpack I reached the bus terminus adjacent to the station premises. With my first view of an alien country(as I never went out of the Subcontinent till now), I found it too quiet considering the crowd and honking, we are generally used to.Various buses(mostly Nadiputra) lined up in the platforms(bays). I bought a ticket of the Putrajaya Tour , a meticulously planned tour for solo travelers while transit to Kuala Lumpur running short of time and may be budget. I was the first to arrive, then a group of Chinese tourists turned up. Longing to start a conversation, it could not help due to inability of speaking English of the Chinese. Then a group of Indian’s turned up and were too busy within themselves. Hence, I chose to doze off a little before the tour starts.
After waiting about an hour, the driver turned up and was fluent in English.The tour takes round the awe inspiring palaces and structures in Putrajaya, the newborn Federal Territory of Malaysia. The Government Secretariats were moved to a planned brand new territory in the Sepang district of Selangor state in 1999. It is the brainchild of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, former prime minister and named after Tunku Abdul Rahaman Putra, the first premiere of independent Malaysia.
As soon as the bus moved a km, the beautiful country of Malaysia started to unveil. Broad avenues criss-crossing the precincts adorned with greenery, gardens, lakes and dazzling, monstrous palaces all around. On first looks, I found it very quaint, with very scarce population and vehicles on the roads.Streets were squeaky clean, pavements made of colorful concretes.
First stop was on Seri Wawasan Bridge over the Putra Lake which offers commanding views of the palaces around the shores and the bridge is itself a visual delight. Then it led to the huge Putra Square.Designed as two concentric plazas surrounded by Putra Perdana Park, the circular ceremonial area is an open hard landscape encircled by gardens, which acts as a transition between the parks and the ceremonial area. Inside the gardens is an interplay of paths, water channels, flower beds and trees.
The Square is divided into 11 segments, in the pattern of an 11-pointed star. The outer 11-pointed star represents the 11 states of Malaya when the country gained independence in August 1957, the inner 13-pointed star represents the 13 states of Malaysia and the 14-pointed star includes the new addition of the Federal Territory.
At one side of the square, is the mesmerizing Putra Grand Mosque, an architectural marvel with its huge dome, tall minaret and dazzling grandeur. The mosque unfolds its interiors to be even bewildering. Frescoes, Calligraphy and Artworks adorn the walls and gateways. Majestic chandeliers and glass work augments its brilliance beyond words.
On another side is the Prime Minsister’s Office called Perdana Putra. It is another gigantic building with huge bulbous domes and sits atop an elevated platform as if emerging straight out of the Arabian Tales.
The next stop was the Court of Justice or Istana Kehakiman, another structure beautiful beyond words.The Palace of Justice’s design incorporates influences of Classical Islamic culture like Taj Mahal in India, Moorish culture, like the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala Lumpur and Western Classical influence.The classical design gives depths to the building skin and creates interesting articulated facade.
Opposite to this palace lies the innovative creation the Iron Dome Mosque. It is not as large as the grand one but made of Iron and the shiny metallic glaze out of its facade interspersed with fountains, arches and gardens makes it adorable.
Next, the bus went towards the PICC(Putrajaya International Convention Centre).The design idea of this unique and impressive building is based on the shape of the eye of ‘pending perak’ (a silver Malay royal belt buckle).PICC confines an area of 135,000 square meters, or approximately 1.3 million square feet. It is situated on a hill top and offers stunning views of the city and its finest architectures from the vantage point.
The final stop was the China Malaysia Friendship Garden.It is a vast sprawling garden with beautifully decorated pathways, graffiti, fountains and numerous vantage points to shoot the amazing structures from innovative perspectives. It also has a Chinese Temple and some orchidariums inside the periphery.
This short trip ended here and I went ahead towards Kuala Lumpur by KLIA Transit once again. Putrajaya is too vast to explore in such short time. One must spent a entire day for seeing and shooting the magnificent palaces, mosques, gardens, bridges and it offers another perspective when it lits up at night.