Kuala Lumpur is a city of contradictions, where old and new peacefully coexist
A car parked at the gate, a bicycle in the shed, flip-flops on a mat, normal items you would see outside a house, except that all were defying gravity and hanging upside down. Inside the house, the cabinets in the kitchen hung from the ceiling while the flowers on the windowsill remained inside an upturned pot. We were at the upside down house, inside the Kuala Lumpur Tower complex. A cheerful yellow and white building resting on the spine of its sloping roof inside a garden filled with potted plants and palm trees. A fairy tale house begging for a story. And so different from the majestic towers all around Kuala Lumpur, especially the Petronas and KL Towers.
The buildings in Putrajaya on the other hand presented a different picture. The green domed Putra Perdana or the Prime Minister’s office complex, the Putra mosque and assorted buildings housing the offices of the government, dominated the landscape amidst clean and wide roads that were curiously not too crowded.
Putra Mosque, made out of rose coloured granite, sits on the banks of the Putra lake. The water body, a 600-hectare large artificial lake created to cool the city, also provides recreation opportunities. The courtyard surrounding the mosque offers an expansive view of the lake with the Putra Bridge on left and the asymmetrical Seri Wawasan Bridge on the right. As we stood and watched the lake take on the palette of colours painted by a waning sun, a ferry glided out from beneath the Putra bridge completing the picture. The splendour of the city was further enhanced when lights came up on the bridges and the surrounding buildings at dusk. The dome of the Perdana Putra glowed jade green while the chandeliers in the mosque glittered in the moist air, making us feel as if we were walking inside a giant jewel box.
Under a canopy of red lanterns, the crowd inside Petaling market, the Chinatown of KL, waxed and waned even as the faithful thronged the nearby Sri Mahamariamman and the Kuan Ti temples standing opposite each other.
Red lanterns were a ubiquitous sight, whether hanging down inside the mall at the Petronas Towers, lining the front path of the Berjaya Times Square or adorning the entrance to the century old Central Market. Thean Hou Temple, the six-tiered temple also known as the Temple of the Goddess of Heaven was almost invisible under the canopy of the lanterns strung all around the structure.
Nestled inside the complex housing the KL Towers, the KL Forest Eco Park beckoned with its fame of being the oldest reserve in the country. A signboard at the entrance advised caution, asking visitors to keep a lookout for snakes, scorpions and poisonous invertebrates. We wondered if this could be the reason for the silence in the park. The Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve as it was called previously sits right in the middle of the city and offers several trails for those interested in exploring it. We took the canopy walk, a pathway of connecting bridges that wound through the canopies of trees, offering a view of the surroundings from 20 metres above ground. As we walked the deserted trail, we could hear the excited cries of people coming from an amusement park nearby contrasting with the quietness of the park. startled crows and buzzing flies kept us company