Due to its glorious history during the Sriwijaya kingdom of Palembang, the city is a melting pot of different cultures. In our last day in Palembang, we visited 3 different areas which relate to the cultures and religions of the people of Palembang. Known as the centre of Islam many years ago, Palembang attracts thousands of tourists to pay respect to Al-Quran Al Akbar, a giant woodcarving of the verses contained in the holy book of Islam, Al-Quran. It is the largest of its kind in the world.
When our coaster left Aryaduta Hotel Palembang and drove us to a village area, I thought to myself, why did a significant tourist attraction is isolated from other tourist attractions. Al-Quran Al Akbar is located 9km from the city and it may take as long as 45 minutes to reach there. The coaster dropped us at the parking area, which was within 5 minutes-walk from Al-Quran Al Akbar, Palembang. Before entering the sacred area regarded by the Muslims, shoes must be taken off and for free-hair females, head must be covered by shawls or hijab provided at the entrance. I would also advise the non-Muslims to do the same, out of respect.
The entrance fee is IDR 5,000.00.
Upon entering, I could not help but got awe-struck at the majestic art work. There stood the 14cm gigantic hard woods comprised of 6 columns and 5 rows. The sunlight shimmered the golden colour of the verses’ calligraphy. It took 6 years to complete Al-Quran Al Akbar with atleast 17 people working for the project, which costs IDR1.2 billion.
The verses of the Al-Quran were carved on the surface of the hard wood locally known as ‘kayu tembusu’. Each hard wood is sized 177cm width, 140cm length and 2.5cm thick. Altogether, there were a total of 630 hard woods. To date the Al-Quran Al Akbar can accommodate up to 15 juz’ of Al-Quran. Another building is being built to accommodate the other 15 juz’.
Back to the ‘tembusu’ hardwood, it is the best hardwood available in the South Sumatera. It is normally used to build the traditional Palembang house, ‘rumah limas’.
You can buy souvenirs and religious trinkets outside Al Quran Al Akbar building or near the car park.
Address: Jalan M Amin Fauzi, Soak Bujang, RT 03, RW 01, Kelurahan Gandus, Kecamatan Gandus, Palembang, Sumatera Selatan