The Jakarta Post
The majestic Dian Al Mahri Mosque, known for its golden dome on Jl. Raya Meruyung, Cinere, Depok, south of Jakarta, has become the most popular tourist destination in the municipality, attracting tourists and generating additional income for local residents.
Parking lots and a row of humble food stalls line the alley that leads to the mosque, which is also proudly called the Kubah Emas (golden dome) Mosque.
Manak, a local resident, said her family immediately built three additional rooms and public toilets in their backyard after the mosque was opened to the public in 2006 to accommodate late night visitors. She also opened a food stall that served local food, which was run by her niece.
'Thank God, the mosque has brought blessings for us. I have five rooms and charge Rp 200,000 [US$17.5] for one room. I even have regular guests from Banjarmasin [South Kalimantan],' she told The Jakarta Post recently.
She said visitors who arrived on big buses could get a special price of Rp 650,000 where they could use the rooms and the remaining floor on her terrace to sleep. She charged Rp 2,000 for visitors who used her public toilets.
'The guests usually only spend one night here. They will visit the mosque the following morning and continue to other tourist destinations such as Mbah Priok graveyard [North Jakarta], Taman Mini Indonesia Indah [East Jakarta] or Ragunan Zoo [South Jakarta],' she said.
Manak said the mosque welcomed many visitors on weekends and holidays, peaking in the fasting month where people from outside the city performed i'tikaf, a ritual where people spend the night praying and reciting the Koran in mosques to reach total submission during Ramadhan.
'I choose to do tarawih [extra prayer service during Ramadhan] in a nearby small mushola [small mosque] because tarawih in the big mosque is very long and tiring. However, visitors who come a long way do not mind,' she said.
Designed by architect Uke Setiawan, the mosque, which sits on an 8,000 square meter property, is the only tourist destination listed on the official website of Depok city.
It was built in 2001 and financed by a property and service businesswoman from Banten, Dian Juriah Maimun Al Rasyid, and her husband Maimun Al Rasyid, an oil businessman.
The tourist ambiance in Kubah Emas Mosque was even stronger than the Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Central Jakarta, dubbed the largest mosque in Southeast Asia in terms of structure and capacity.
After passing the alley and approaching the beautiful building, visitors to Kubah Emas Mosque may be greeted by a number of men offering a picture service, which costs Rp 20,000 per printed picture.
Some visitors do not only go to the mosque to pray but also to take in the design of its architecture, splendid crystal chandelier and shiny five domes that symbolize the Five Pillars of Islam.
These pillars are reportedly coated with 24-carat gold leaf.
Teenager Aulia Rahman who came from Bandung in West Java with his five friends, decided to use the photography service on offer.
'My friend was curious about the mosque so we decided to visit. We used GPS to find it as we have never visited,' he said.
Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)close x