Brickfields, one of the pioneer settlements in Kuala Lumpur during the 19th century , is now a vibrant and thriving area dubbed as Little India for its predominantly Indian character and the high percentage of Indian residents and businesses there. Beautiful arches carved by artisans from India greet its visitors once they enter Brickfields. These vibrant colourful arches line the pedestrian footpath, giving the area a festive atmosphere throughout the day.
The historical relationship of Brickfields to the development of modern Kuala Lumpur goes back to the late 19th century. Brickfields was initially developed by Yap Kwan Seng, the fifth and last Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur. He took advantage of the rapidly growing Kuala Lumpur and the new Kuala Lumpur by-law which required that all new buildings be built of bricks and established a kiln here. Brickfields soon became the centre for brick-making and as a result, the area was named Brickfields.
Later on, following the establishment of the Railway and Public Works Department Offices in the Brickfields area, many jobs were created. Workers found it convenient to live along the Brickfields road to be near their work. Brickfields then became a small residential district.
To complement the new development of Brickfields, tourists and culture enthusiasts can now participate in a guided walking tour of Little India @ Brickfields every first and third Saturday of the month. This guided walking tour is a free service provided by Kuala Lumpur City Hall starting from 15 January to 17 December 2011.
Unknown to many, Brickfields holds many of the city’s historical landmarks. From temples, churches and a 100 year-old government quarters, the guided walking tour gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of the community here.
The buildings and places of worships here show a unique mixture of influences. The Sri Kandaswamy Temple, built in 1902, is one of the most prominent temples in Malaysia. It showcases rich Sri Lankan architecture and is said to be inspired by the Nallur Kandaswamy temple in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The Holy Rosary Church (1903) on the other hand was built in the French Gothic Revival Style and took eighteen months to build.
Meanwhile, a walk along Jalan Rozario will take visitors to the Hundred Quarters which was built in 1905. The charming quarters are named in accordance to the exact number of quarters that were built for civil servants of all races in Kuala Lumpur, most of whom were in the clerical service.
Brickfields is also home to a large population of the visually impaired who live and work in the area. The Malaysian Association of the Blind and the National Council for the Blind located on Jalan Tun Sambanthan are where the visually impaired practise their trade as skilled masseurs.
A trip to Brickfields will not be complete without a visit to the Temple of Fine Arts, a sanctuary for the arts especially music and dance. Students here are taught Bharatanatyam, folk dances, semi classical movements, and they learn to play musical instruments such as mridangam, veena, flute and the harmonium. Founded by His Holiness Swami Shantanand Saraswathi in 1981, the Temple of Fine Arts has captured the imagination of art lovers in Malaysia, Australia, India and even USA.
For more information please contact:
Ms. Noraza Yusof
Kuala Lumpur City Hall,
Level 14, DBKL Tower 3,
Tel : +603-2617 6273