National Textile Museum – Kuala Lumpur

Imagine unleashing a hyperactive kid inside a candy store!!…. Now crank up the crazy a few levels up!…  What you get is “me” inside the National Museum of Textile in Kuala Lumpur!!

I’m a fashion fanatic! I love everything that has anything to do with fashion, I live fashion! And I also love travel as much as I love fashion! So when I search for things to do or places to see at “where ever i’m shipping myself to next”, I never forget to pull up a few fashion related places/ or activities to balance the crazy in me.

whether it’s a museum or a workshop or even just a traditional authentic fabric shop, if its anywhere near where i’m at, you WILL find me there! Every time I end up coming home with a head full of ideas and a bag full of fabrics (so much for my minimalist travel goals!)

The National Textile Museum in Kuala Lumpur was one such precious findings of mine, while planing my trip to Malaysia. This museum is truly under rated compared to other tourist attractions in KL, as many don’t even know of its existence. But trust me when I say, visiting this museum was one of the best things I did in KL. It may only be appealing to a certain genera of crazy ( such as “me”) but I do feel it has something to make everyone happy. And if you are not as crazy as I am about fashion and textiles, you can just drop in for a swift glance through the galleries and you will be done in less than half an hour. Located in Merdeka square the museum is not that hard to find, nor is it off the normal tourist route so you won’t be making any detours. And best of all entry is free! (so basically its regret proof!)

To get to the museum you can ether directly take a taxi, use the rapid-KL bus route or the “Hop on Hop off ” bus (stop number 17).

The museum is housed in a beautiful heritage building of Neo- Maugal style architecture, which is a combination of  elements from Maugal – Islamic style architecture and British architecture. Just the building alone can give an art lover a rush!


The museum is mainly divided in to 4 galleries and one small gallery that houses special exhibitions.

  1. Pohon Budi gallery
  2. Pelangi Gallery
  3. Teluk Berantai gallery
  4. Ratna sari gallery
  5. Saindera Gallery- which houses special exhibitions.

From textiles, traditional dress forms to jewelry, the content of the museum displays the history and diversity of the textile industry of Malaysia in a very comprehensive manner. It also showcases how techniques from different cultures can influence each other to create a unique and beautiful culture of its own.

The most interesting aspect of this museum for me is that they have displayed many of the traditional processes in “step by step” form so anyone interested can learn and understand the process in depth.

Step by Step – Batik 


The Ratna Sari Gallery houses a collection of traditional jewellery and adornments that belong to the different ethnic groups of Malaysia. Ranging from head ornaments, crowns, beaded shoes to Kamarbands the pieces on display showcases the impressive craftsmanship of this ethnically diverse country.


Throughout the museum you will come across mannequins displaying the different traditional costumes of Malaysia bringing life in to the textiles.

Traditional hand embroidery techniques, Sarawak beading techniques, Baba and Nyonya beading techniques, traditional motif designs, gold thread embroidery, weaving patterns are just a few of the traditional textile related art forms that can be observed throughout the museum.

And as it turns out we were lucky to come across a special exhibition on ethnic head dresses that was on display in a small room on the top most floor of the building. The artistry of there unique traditional head ornaments were breath taking and mesmerizing.

If your curiosity towards Malaysian culture and costumes has  been awoken, a more comprehensive explanation can be found in one of my previous articles which you can read here.

According to the brochure, the museum is open daily from 9.00 am till 6.00 pm. I was extremely luck to be there at a time when there was hardly anyone inside the museum other than me,  the unfortunate souls i dragged there by force and 1 or 2 rushed visitors who couldn’t care less. This gave me all the freedom in the world to run around like a crazy kid to my hearts content!!

So if you are someone interested in learning about textile and fashion history of Malaysia do visit the National Textile Museum and be inspired by all that it has to offer. And even if you are not interested in such thematic museums do drop by just to get the feel of it, you never know you might end up falling in love with textiles.

Until next time,

Safe travels

A City with a History- Anuradhapura

A history buff heading to Sri Lanka? Then Anuradhapura is the place for you!

Anuradhapura is an ancient historical city located in the north central province of Sri Lanka. A UNESCO world heritage site, Anuradhapura is such a city that where ever you stand you’re bound to be standing near or even on top of an ancient ruin. It’s a city filled with well-preserved ruins bearing witness to the great ancient Sri Lankan civilization that once was.

If you ever step in to Anuradhapura you are bound to be amazed at how much there is to see. From gigantic stupas, monasteries to ruins of palaces – the standing witness of an old civilization.


Ruwanwali Maha Saya (stupa)

A gigantic stupa built by king Dutugamunu, Ruwanwali Maha Stupa is located in close proximity to Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. Today the stupa stands at a height of 103 met and 290 met in circumference.  Around the Stupa you will see stone statues of king Dutugamunu, Queen Viharamaha Devi (Mother of king Dutugamunu) and King Bhathika Tissa. It is said that Lord Buddha himself predicted the making of this magnificent stupa in the location that it is. Also it is common belief that the most number of Lord Buddha’s relics are enshrined here making it one of the most worshiped stupas in Sri Lanka .



Jethawanaramaya Stupa

Jethawanaramaya Stupa is the largest stupa in Sri Lanka (even the world) standing at a height of 122 meters. It was built by king Mahasen and it is believed that a part of the sash worn by lord Buddha is enshrined in this stupa.




Isurumuniya is a Buddhist temple built by King Devanappiya Tissa. The temple is mostly famous for the fine carvings that can be found at the premises. The most famous being the one of the “Lovers” and the “Man and the Horse head”.



Kuttam Pokuna (twin baths)

A set of pond located in Anuradhapura, which was built in 6th -8th century by king Aggabodhi. It is belived to be used by the monks of the Abhayagiriya monastery. One pond is larger than the other and the two ponds are connected by a underground pipeline. Water first enters in to the larger tank through the mouth of a Makara, after going through a complex filter system and then proceeds in to the smaller tank.




Mihintale is the location where the meeting between Arahanth Mahinda Thero (The Monk who introduced Theravada Buddhism to Sri Lanka) and king Devanampiyatissa happened. It is said that lord Buddha has visited this place back in the day when it was called “Missaka pabbatha”. Arahanth Mahinda cave is a cave located nearby and is the cave used by Arahanth Mahinda Thero during the rainy season. Also close by you will get to see the Kalu diya Pokuna, a black water pond.



Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

It is a sacred fig tree, the right wing branch of the original fig tree from Budhgaya under which lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It was planted in Anuradhapura in 249 BC, making it the oldest living cultivated plant in the world.





The first ever stupa built in Sri Lanka, Thuparamaya was built by King Devanampiya Tissa According to the request of Arahanth Mahinda Thero. Enshrined in this Stupa is the collarbone of Lord Buddha.



Abhayagiriya Stupa

Built by king Walagamba this stupa has the relics of lord Buddha enshrined in a figure of a bull made with pure gold.



Samadhi statue

Samadhi statue is a statue of Lord Buddha in the position of “Dhyana Mudra”, thought to be made in the 3rd or 4th century. It is said that when you look at the statue from three sides (middle, left and right) you can see 3 different facial features (Neutral, sad and happy).



Mirisawatiya Stupa

Another stupa built by kind Dutugamunu. The septa of the king containing the sacred relics of Lord Buddha is enshrined in the stupa. Carvings of the septa can be found on a pillar on one side of the stupa.



Moon stone and Guard-stone

Locally known as “Sandakada Pahana” the moon stone is a carved semicircular slab of stone placed at an entry way or at the bottom of a stair case. The carvings on it symbolizes the Buddhist cycle of “samsara”.

A well preserved “Naga Raja” guard stone can be seen at the entry way of the Rathnaprasadaya. Guard stones of Sri Lanka bear the symbols for prosperity and protection.

Lankarama stupa

Built by king Walagamba this stupa has pillar stones around it suggesting that once there might have been a Watadage (house encircling the stupa) around the stupa.


The Royal Palace of King Vijayabahu 



The remains of a massive 9 story structure that was built by king Dutugamunu. According to literature it was once 150 ft in height, had 1600 stone pillars as support and the roof was thought to be of copper- bronze plates. Today you will see the stone pillars and a small modern structure resembling the old building.




A forest aramic complex home to 23 caves having drip ledges to keep the rain water away. It was thought to have housed 500 monks. There are a few paintings in one cave but they are very much faded.




There are a few museums around Anuradhapura that’s worth a visit. Archaeological museum, Folk museum and Abhayagiriya museum are the main once.


Gal Palama (stone bridge)

The remains of a stone bridge believed to have been built in the 5-9th century.



Reservoirs of Anuradhapura  

Anuradhapura is home to one of the most complex irrigation systems of the old world. Many artificial reservoirs or “Wawa” are scattered around the city, the main water source even today. Ancient reservoirs such as Basawakkulama, Nuwara Wawa and Thissa Wawa were built by kings to collect water and serve as the main water source for the inhabitants of that area.




Anuradhapura today is a well-developed city offering all the luxury you need from restaurants to hotels. The new city is a bustling hub with modern shops and hotels.

Getting to and around

Anuradhapura is well connected to most of the major cities of Sri Lanka both by rail way and roads. As for getting around you can ether hire a car, tuk tuk or you can hire a cycle and paddle around the old city.

Tips – I have read on many blogs that many travelers were bored after visiting too many Stupas, If you think that will be the case for you just visit the main Stupas Ruwanwali Maha Saya and Jethawanaramaya and visit the other non- stupa ruins (you will get to see most of the other stupas on the road side, along the way).

Hope you enjoyed reading this rather long post and hope it will be of some use to anyone planning to go to Sri Lanka (or simply interested in reading about Sri Lanka). Feel free to comment down below and let us know what your thoughts are on Anuradhapura and what-not!

Safe travels,