The Jakarta Post
Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni in Medan, North Sumatra. (Shutterstock/Zalifah Binti Ahmad)
Visiting Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, you are likely to meet a diverse community from different ethnic backgrounds. Its location along the northeastern coast of Sumatra made it a busy trading hub in the past, bringing in settlers from such countries as China and India.
Due to its diversity, Medan is also dubbed "Little Asia" and hosts many places of worship, from mosques and churches to temples and viharas.
Among many places of worship in Medan, kompas.com compiled a list of six places that you can visit in Medan.
Masjid Raya Medan (Great Mosque of Medan)
This mosque was originally built in 1906 as part of the Maimoon palace complex. It is located on Jl. Sisingamangaraja, with a capacity of 1,500 worshipers. The architect of the building is JA Tingdeman, who was handed the project by Dutch architect Theodoor van Erp, the designer of Maimoon palace.
Masjid Raya Medan (Great Mosque of Medan) (ANTARA FOTO/Irsan Mulyadi)
Designed with an octagonal symmetrical layout, the mosque combines elements from Morocco, Europe and the Middle East. Meanwhile, its minaret is an ornate blend of Egyptian, Iranian and Arabian styles.
Kuil Sri Mariamman (Sri Mariamman Temple)
This temple is no longer only a place to worship the Goddess Mariamman. It is also a tourist destination where visitors can observe architecture similar to those of Hindu temples in South India and Sri Lanka.
The temple also houses the statues of Hindu gods, namely Vishnu, Ganesha, Shiva, Durga and Murugan.
Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni (Our Lady of Good Health Catholic Church)
Also known as a Marian shrine, the building was inaugurated by an Indian Jesuit priest, Father James Barathapura, SJ. The shrine is dedicated to the Blessed Mother Mary, who is known in India as Annai Velangkanni Arokia Matha.
Velangkanni comes from the name of a village in coastal Tamil Nadu (South India) that is believed to have seen an apparition of Virgin Mary in the 16th century.
The shrine has a lofty, imposing structure with an Indo-Mughal architectural blend.
Vihara Gunung Timur (Gunung Timur Temple)
Located close to Hindu temple Shri Mariamman and the Medan Grand Mosque, this temple is a good representation of unity in diversity.
This temple, with the name that means "east mountain", is always packed with worshipers during Chinese New Year, the Cap Go Meh holiday and the Chit Gwee Pua festival.
Masjid Al-Osmani (Al-Osmani Mosque)
Dating back more than 160 years, Al-Osmani Mosque looks distinctive with its yellow facade and green accents. Said to incorporate influences from China, India, Europe and the Middle East in its design, the mosque is topped with an octagonal dome.
The mosque now serves as a place to pray, commemorate holy days and a point of departure for haj pilgrims. Initially, in the 19th century, the mosque was used by the sultan of Deli to meet his people. (mut)