Brickfields was named thus as it played an important role as the place bricks were made and kept in, after a horrible fire and terrible flood swept through Kuala Lumpur in 1881, devastating all who lived, work or migrated there….

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pic credit to google

The double disasters had after all taken turns destroying the town’s wooden and thatched structures.

It was Sir Frank Swettenham, British resident at that time, who then ordered the use of bricks in the construction of new buildings, and this was how Brickfields came to be…

Clay pits and brick kilns used to line the railway tracks here but there is no longer much evidence of this around especially since KL Sentral was built, turning Brickfields into a transportation hub…

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Our #aboutkl little trip there began from the KL Sentral where we headed into NU Sentral mall and exited at the ground floor… from the mall, we turned right and walked towards the Little India part of Brickfields, pausing for a little while at the roadside to allow Yati, one of our tour guide to tell us a little about the Vivekananda Ashram which was opposite the road. This elegant whitewashed building with Moghul style embellishments was named in honour of the Indian spiritual leader Vivekananda who visited Malaya in 1893. You cannot miss his statue which is standing in front of the entrance. It was almost demolished in 2004 but somehow is now protected as a heritage site instead.

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Our little walk continued towards the brightly painted Little India District which had been given a makeover that included an elaborate elephant fountain and a grand entrance archway, along with brightly coloured pavements and some very colourful paint on the buildings lining the two main streets. The overall effect is hard to miss… hahaha… but quite nice…really….

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We traipsed along half the street and checked out shops offering beauty treatments, general grocery stores selling incense and produce from India, shops selling saris, jewellery, Indian sweets and kueh and more.

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Then we crossed the street and turned into a little road and passed a Tamil Methodist Church, which was established in 1896 and continued on to pass by the Maha Vihara Buddhist Temple located on Jalan Berhala. The Maha Vihara Buddhist Temple was founded by the Sinhalese community in 1894 … and is of course more then a century old… and it is said that there is a Bodhi tree that is grown from a cutting taken from the sacred Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka…

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Across the temple is a lovely and magnificent Malay styled traditional wooden mansion. I consider it a mansion as it is far bigger and grander than any kampong house you can see… It is a pre World War 2 house and the whole street was once that design. The house is still standing as well, it was the childhood home of Malaysian tycoon, Ananda Krishnan who have had it beautifully restored and keeps it for private use.

Our little trip to Brickfields came to an end at the Temple of Fine Arts, an big three storey building completed in 2008. The role of the TFA is to help Malaysian Indians to remain in touch with their Southern Indian cultural roots and traditions. It houses function rooms and performance venues. On the ground floor is a lovely Indian restaurant called Annalakshmi , a veritable hidden gem in Kuala Lumpur…

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We were excited about having a chance to indulge in some authentic Indian cuisine here… I know we were told to dress up in smart casual with no shorts or slippers but I would not have quite expect Annalakshmi to be such a classy restaurant. Our group was met at the door warmly by a volunteer and then ushered to our seats. The restaurant was definitely spacious and it was quite a haven from the humidity outside…Annalakshmi is ‘Where Vegetarian Dining Is A Cultural Experience’

We then learned that Annalakshmi follows the Swayamvara concept based on the philosophies of Swami Shantananda Saraswati, their founder. Swayamvara encourages selflessness and peace and because of this, 80 percent of the staff here are all volunteers…

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The delicious food is prepared by some elderly lady volunteers, called mummies, who cook it the way they do at home.. and well, the food here is vegetarian.

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pic credit to Shamsul Bahrine

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They serve the food buffet style, so you should just pick up a stainless steel plate, a couple of small stainless steel bowls & take your pick from the buffet line which ranges from rice, different vegetables cooked and served in a variety of ways, soy/gluten curry, plain rice or pilaf, rasam, sambar, dhall etc……. each of the dishes have its own distinct taste and they all complement each other beautifully. The curries are also not too spicy and suitable for everyone.

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The mummies will also come over and fuss over you to make sure you have enough to eat and inquire if you want some dosai, prata or chappati. Do try the dosai… it is smaller than what you will order from the mamak shop, sweeter, and crispier too and so good you can eat it on its own…

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We had a selection of drinks from ginger lassi, mango lassi and mint lime.. I loved both the mango lassi and the mint lime…. Hard not to when it is so refreshing….

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We also learned that there were actually two sections to the restaurant… – the main dining area where we were where you pay RM18-20 per person,…

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….and Annalakshmi Riverside, a canteen and semi-open seating area where it carries a charitable “pay as you wish” policy for students of the TFA as well as anyone in search of a good meal. The meal here is served as it is in the restaurant, however it is in an open area with just fans to cool you down. But you can pay as you like or as you can afford… or if you cannot afford to pay for the meal, maybe you can pay in kind, help volunteer to wash the dishes for half an hour or so, or help serve the community back…they always welcome any help whether in cash or kind…

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pic credit to Fawzy

It is Annalakshmi’s policy that no one leaves the place empty stomach or hungry and I think it is such a noble cause and that you cannot believe how very successful many of the volunteers are. They are actually very highly respectable engineers, doctors, architects , businessmen etc…

There is also a free clinic near where Ananda Krishnan’s home is….

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Annalakshmi Vegetarian Restaurant, Temple of Fine Arts, Jalan Berhala, Brickfields.

Open 6 Days a Week / Closed on Mondays
Lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm , Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.00pm
Tel: 03 – 2272 3799


  1. We have Annalaksmi in Singapore also and it’s a lovely place. The place that you visited looks so vibrant and ginger lassi is something I would love to try.


  2. Pingback: Temple of Fine arts - Visit Kuala Lumpur

  3. Pingback: Temple of Fine arts – Visit Malaysia Today!

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