When I mention the neighbourhood of Brickfields, some of us may merely think of the colourful main shopping road Jalan Tun Sambanthan. This street is decorated on both sides with festive arches and houses rows of distinct shops where one can enjoy a lovely Indian meal, purchase spices, or get hold of traditional accessories and clothing. But there is obviously more to the area.
I had visitors in town recently and did a little more digging into Brickfields’ heritage sites. I was quite surprised to find that there were so many located nearby one another for such a relatively small neighbourhood.
Let’s start our Brickfields walk!
We started at NU Sentral Mall, crossed the road and were ready for the walking tour through Brickfields that would take about 2-3 hours. Sidewalks are plenty in Brickfields and not occupied much by bikes, which made our walk very pleasurable.
After crossing at NU Sentral, we cut through the restaurants row to reach Jalan Thambipillay. Turn left and very soon after you will see the pink back wall of the Buddhist Sam Kow Tong Temple. The unassuming back wall is very much compensated by the beautifully decorated frontside of the temple. With its vibrant colours and dragon carvings everywhere, it is a gem to the eye!
The main road in front of the temple is called Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad. From here, turn left and follow the main road all the way to the end. You will pass Gandhi’s Vegetarian Restaurant which gets very good reviews from visitors.
More amazing temples
We passed by Ghandi’s and hit the intersection with Jalan Scott, where we immediately got mesmerized by the sight of two jaw-dropping Hindu temples right next to each other.
Sree Veera Hanuman Temple, is open to visitors and just beckoned us to come in. The right temple, Kuil Sri Krishna is beautifully decorated with statues and carvings of Lord Krishna.
The temple was quite busy with visitors: worshippers were praying in every corner of the temple and some, like us, were wandering around in awe of the beautiful murals and hand-drawn paintings on the ceilings.
Passing the Kuil Sri Krishna Temple we headed towards the intersection with Jalan Tebing where another magnificent temple awaited us, the Sri Kandaswamy Temple.
We followed Jalan Tebing onwards, passed yet another restaurant with good reviews called Ceylon Flavours, and at the next intersection, turned into Jalan Sambanthan 4. Turn left into Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad (again) and you will see a host of different religious buildings on this road – all at a stone’s throw away from one another.
On the opposite side of the road, you will see the Madrasathul Gouthiyyah Mosque and further on the memorable triangle-shaped building of the Tamil Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur (TMC KL).
Turn into Jalan Berhala, where you will pass the Temple of Fine Arts. It is dedicated to the promotion of traditional Indian arts and culture and its vegetarian restaurant Annalakshmi is highly recommended by patrons.
A Malay house and a church
Surprisingly, a little further on the corner, you will find a traditional wooden Malay-style house dated before World War II. You will also find the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple opposite, a place that offers a peaceful and quiet meditation environment.
Follow Jalan Berhala until you hit the intersection again with Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad. Have a quick turn right if you would like to see the serene and beautiful Zion Cathedral.
Cross Jalan Tun Sambanthan, and at Jalan Sambanthan 1 where you will find the Orthodox Syrian Cathedral of St. Mary The Theotokos, reported to be the first and oldest Orthodox church in Malaysia, built in 1957.
What better way to end the Brickfields walk with a stroll via Jalan Tun Sambanthan back to NU Sentral. Don’t forget to quickly stop by the beautiful white building of the Vivekananda Ashram, dedicated to the Indian spiritual leader Vivekananda.
Both my visitors and myself were left with many beautiful impressions of Brickfields in such a short period of time: historically rich, aesthetically pleasant and religious wise so diverse. We truly enjoyed the outing!
- Do bring sunscreen and a hat, good walking shoes and some water.
- Make sure to bring extra clothing in case you’re visiting the temples.
- Kids from 6 years and older could join for this walk.
This article is written by Sue Ann Kunath.