Palembang Journey (1) : My First Journey to Sumatera – Baitul Quran Al Akbar Museum


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It’s been a long time since my last posting in this blog. During the time I felt terribly stuck for what I should write. My brain could be fogged and it made me like in the middle of nowhere.

Okay, that’s enough…I’d like to tell you about my story and the story is about my short journey to Palembang, the capital of South Sumatera and ancient Sriwijaya kingdom. I went there for spending Eid-Ul-Adha holiday along with long week-end as it fell on Friday (1 September) and lasted till Sunday (3 September). It sounds ridiculous, because this was my first time stepping my feet on Sumatera Island or Swarnadwipa. I never go anywhere but around Java or at last Madura and Bali islands, while the farthest is Malaysia! Sumatera? That’s on my dream but alhamdulillah I, finally, could realize my long term wish..visiting Sumatera. Palembang is the chosen one as the first city I stepped in.

I stayed in my friend’s house, Haryadi Yansyah for two days and two nights, as I had planned the trip for months. Because at the time he was not really busy and well prepared, he became my Palembang city tour guide. That’s why, there were several places I visited during the journey and this is the first part of it.

Baitul Quran Al-Akbar Museum

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The first place I visited in Palembang was Baitul Quran Al- Akbar Museum. Haryadi said it was better for coming to the farthest first and then the closest one. I agreed and we rode there. It’s located on Jl M Amin Fauzi, Soak Bujang RT 03, RW 01, Kelurahan Gandus, Kecamatan Gandus, Palembang and located on the same place with Al-Ihsaniyah Islamic Boarding School of Gandus, Palembang.

It is a gigantic Quran museum which its foundation was commenced between 2002-2009 but officially launched and opened for public by the sixth president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on 30 January 2012 and attended by 51 Islamic countries delegations along with PUIC (World Islamic Countries Parliament Conference). H. Syofatillah Mohzaib S.Sos I was the initiator of the first gigantic Quran museum. He was helped by 35 carvers and all carved carefully according to the real mushaf. The museum itself consists of 4 stores and contains of 30 juz. All were handmade, using trembesi wood and carved in typically Palembang style with golden and brown predominated colours. Prior placed to the museum, all inscriptions were displayed at Palembang Grand Mosque (Masjid Agung Palembang) for three years in order to get review from the audiences.

The Baitul Quran Al-Akbar also got award from Indonesian Record Museum (MURI) as the Indonesia and world’s largest sculptured Quran, and even Turkish parliament leader gave a gold medal for H. Syofatillah as the initiatior. Temporary The Bait Quran Akbar is part of H. Syofatillah’s private house and consists of four stores. Visitors just pay IDR 5,000 for entrance ticket and must modestly-dressed up. No tank top, no shorts, all covered. Unveiled female visitors can borrow headscarves available in the building. From all stores, only first floor is opened when I came there because the second and up floors still need to be improved.

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In general, the museum is very wondrous for me. Brown and golden ornaments dominated the interior and Quranic verses were carved clearly. People can visit and enjoy its beauty as well as reading God’s messages over there. It’s luck for me because I and Haryadi came earlier at 8.30 am and not many people there as on the week-end, the museum was terribly crowded till you cannot even take your selfie freely. Unfortunately when I was there, no guides were available, only one local who guided us and explained anything about the museum. I thought he should already been the museum guide as well.

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Do not forget to leave your footwear to the available locker and pay as you wish because it’s part of infaq too. By the way, I also saw a big piggybank for visitor’s aim. Besides for the museum, it’s also used for developing education the neighbouring islamic boarding school. On the parking lot, there were several stall which sell souvenirs as well as food if you’re hungry or thirsty. On Sunday, the parking lot will be full and you have to park your vehicles outside.

This museum should be placed as one of your destination in Palembang. It serves as religious tourism and also part of Islamic learning, but it needs to be more professionally managed in the future. The plan for develop the museum into 11 floors should be realized so that’s why tourists can explore more and more about the messages hidden inside the verses.

Remember, you should visit the place and I hope it again so.

At 9.30 am I and Haryadi had to finish our journey to Baitul Quran Al-Akbar Museum for heading to the next destination.

 

To be continued

Tangerang, 4 September 2017

Photo credit : my photos..none else

 

Bambang Priantono

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