Colombo Jami Ul Alfar Muslim Mosque in Pettah is known as the Colombo red and white Mosque.
Colombo Jami Ul Alfar Muslim Mosque in Pettah
The colourful white and red candy striped Jami UI Alfar Mosque can be found in Pettah, north of the Colombo Fort Railway station at the end of 2nd Cross Street near the junction with Bankshall Street. It is worth the trip as it is architecturally very distinctive.
Red and white contrasting bricks have been used to create a variety of patterns on the flat outside walls or on the columns. It is very near the Dutch Museum and the Hindu temples of 1st Cross Street and Sea Street. Pettah is a busy congested narrow street scruffy shopping area clogged with bikes, cars and tuk-tuks.
The exterior of the Mosque is well maintained but the street in which it was built is dirty with rubbish lying in the gutter and on the walk ways. If the council was not cleaning the street often enough I would have thought that the Mosque elders would employ someone to keep the immediate area around the Mosque clean. Inside the faithful have to wash themselves before they prey. It would be good to keep the outside of their place of worship clean as well.
The Colombo red and white Mosque
There has been a Muslim community in Colombo for over a thousand years. The first Arab Muslims arrived on boats as traders looking for spices and other riches. As their trade prospered they built warehouses near the port and housing. The Pettah Muslim community built this mosque in 1909. During prayer times and all day Fridays the Mosque is closed to non-Muslims.
The Muslim community in Colombo can be divided into three main groups: the Sri Lankan Muslims, Indian Muslims, and Malays who originate from Java and the Malaysian Peninsula. The Malay Muslims arrived in Sri Lanka when the Dutch occupied the island. They each have their own history and traditions.
Muslims make up about 8% of the population of Colombo. The majority live in the Pettah region of the city. The green stripe on the flag of Sri Lanka represents the Muslim minority. The Jami Ul Alfar Muslim Mosque only took a year to build having been started in 1908. Inside the central court yard is the ablutions water tank lined with light blue tiles that jarringly contrast to the ornamental red and white stripped interior. If you are hopping to be invited into the mosque you will have to be conservatively dressed. No exposed skin and head gear is advisable to be respectful.