Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar

Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar
Ubudiah Mosque in Kuala Kangsar is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful mosques in Malaysia.

While in Kuala Kangsar recently I took the opportunity to peek inside Ubudiah Mosque since it was early in the morning and no prayers were going on.

This mosque is thought by many to be the most beautiful in Malaysia, even though it was designed by a British non-Muslim. The government architect was Arthur Benison Hubback who was also responsible for KL railway station,  Ipoh railway station and many other famous Malaysian landmarks. The architectural style is said to be Mogul-Gothic, drawing on elements found in Mogul mosques around India. It was built during 1913-1917.

Bulbous onion dome of Ubudiah Mosque.
The mosque features a bulbous onion dome and four main 126 feet high minarets each topped by an Indian style ‘chatri’.

The main prayer hall is octagonal and surprisingly small, about 20 yards across. In common with all mosques, there is no furniture inside other than a carved wooden screen, segregating the women’s section, and the minbar (pulpit). The space is air-conditioned.

Interior of Ubudiah Mosque
Interior of Ubudiah Mosque.

The recessed mihrab (the niche designating kiblah, or direction of prayer) is lined with naturally patterned Italian red marble.

Woollen Persian carpet at Ubudiah Mosque
This Persian carpet covering the interior is probably not the original from Hubback’s time.

There is a fine wall-to-wall Persian carpet and a chandelier hanging from the intricately decorated ceiling.

Intricately decorated ceiling of Ubudiah Mosque
Intricately decorated ceiling of Ubudiah Mosque.

The mosque’s guardians found that it was too small for modern day purposes so new verandahs were added in 1993 to accommodate additional worshippers.

Spacious verandahs were added to Ubudiah Mosque in 1993 to accommodate additional worshippers.
Ubudiah Mosque was extended in 1993 by adding verandahs. These have matching red, black and white marble floors to complement the original design.

Next door to Ubudiah Mosque is the Royal Mausoleum where Perak’s Sultans and family members going back to the 1800’s are buried. It is built in similar style to the mosque.

Non-Muslims are welcome to visit the mosque provided they are appropriately attired and visit outside of prayer times.

Kuala Kangsar

GRAND TOUR – continued.

Kuala Kangsar is a lovely little town.

Being a royal town, home to the Sultan of Perak, it contains three palaces, two of which have been converted to museums.

Istana Iskandariah

Istana Iskandariah is the more modern one and is the actual Royal Palace.

Istana Kenangan

This quaint old palace, Istana Kenangan now serves as the Perak Royal Museum but on my visit today was unfortunately closed for upgrading works.

Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah

The third palace, Istana Ulu, is now the Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah. It is tastefully laid out and displays personal and official possessions of the Sultan and his wife including crown jewels, costumes, photos, medals, gifts, kris, and mementoes  from his educational, working and sporting life. I liked his collection of Mont Blanc pens.

Ubudiah Mosque 

Just down the road is the Ubudiah Mosque, one of Malaysia’s most famous and attractive mosques. Construction started in 1913 but was delayed when two elephants had a fight and completely wrecked the marble which had been imported from Italy for the project.

Malay College Kuala Kangsar

Kuala Kangsar is also home to the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, an all-boys and all-Malay boarding school founded in 1905 – Malaysia’s equivalent of Eton. The Latin motto means ‘Manliness Through Wisdom’.

Pavillion Polo Tower

Opposite is the Pavilion Square Tower, built in 1930 for the Royals and VIPs to watch polo matches.  The structure is now unsafe to enter.

First rubber tree in Malaya.

In the same street is what is said to be the oldest rubber tree in Malaysia, having been one of the original nine seedlings brought over to Malaya in 1877.


Kuala Kangsar is known for its gourd shaped earthenware jars called labu sayong. They are used to keep water cool. Some say water stored in these jars acquires healing powers. I bought one to take home – RM12.

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