KNOWN before as Prang Besar, Putrajaya has transformed from a land of rubber and palm oil plantations into Malaysia’s administrative capital.
Prang Besar, loosely translated into Big War, looked like a Man vs Nature battleground during its initial phase of development as trees were removed and earth was flattened to make way for the new city.
Prang Besar was later renamed as Putrajaya in honour of Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj, for his invaluable contributions to the nation.
Located between Kuala Lumpur city and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the site was chosen to be the federal government administrative centre in view of its strategic location.
Work began in August 1995 to transform the plantations into a sprawling administrative capital as envisioned by then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The city was initially planned to relieve the rapid development in Kuala Lumpur.
While Kuala Lumpur remains as the country’s capital and premiere financial and commercial centre, Putrajaya has taken over as the federal government capital.
Putrajaya has also carved its name on the tourism map with its various attractions and events throughout the year.
Tourists and locals alike flock to this city that is famous for its bridges each year for its renowned International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.
The fiesta, which started in 2009, attracted more than 300,000 visitors during its four-day event last year and had been a staple attraction annually.
Visitors have the chance to ride the hot air balloon hoisted up to 60 feet off the ground and a bird’s eye view of Putrajaya.
Countries such as France, Germany, Japan, the United States and Belgium took part in the 2013 fiesta, creating an experience not to be forgotten with their eye-catching and unique balloons.
Usually held in March, visitors from all over the country would flock to Putrajaya for the unique event.
This year’s International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is scheduled for March 27 to 30.
Another major attraction in Putrajaya is the highly-anticipated Putrajaya Flower and Garden Festival or better known as Floria Putrajaya that is usually held in June every year.
Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) had worked hard to improve the standard of the annual event that has established itself as one of the major attractions in the city’s yearly calendar.
PPj has sent officers to visit the Melbourne Flower Show in Australia, Keukenhof Flower show in the Netherlands and Chelsea Flower Show in the UK to watch and learn the ropes in organising a flower show that is of international standards.
Floria Putrajaya has also achieved a record as the World Flower Council has acknowledged the event as an event of global standard.
Last year’s festival saw many innovative displays, such as the longest landscaped vertical wall measuring 343m, which made it into the Malaysia Book of Records, as well as the Royal Garden, designed based on Alor Setar’s Istana Kota Tengah, the Innovation Garden and the Tea Party Garden.
Floria Putrajaya was also held together with Malaysia International Tourism Night, or better known as Magic of the Night where boats decorated in flowers would float across Putrajaya Lake. The night would then end with a five-minute fireworks.
With more than 800,000 visitors recorded last year, the organisers expect this year’s numbers to increase with the launch of Floria Putrajaya’s permanent location in Precint 4.
After a four-year hiatus, the Putrajaya International Fireworks Competition was back with a bang last year.
The competition made a record in the Malaysia Book of Records as the “Most Number of Fireworks Shots in a Single Event” with more than 12,600 fireworks fired throughout the six-day event.
What makes the competition interesting is that the fireworks display was accompanied by 25 minutes of non-stop music.
Visitors were also treated to a variety of showcases that represented the culture and uniqueness of the participating countries, choreographed by experts from the respective countries.
Various technologies were adopted for the competition, to create a greater impact to the performances, including the incorporation of microwave wireless transmission and fully synchronised music.
Putrajaya Marina served as the perfect venue as the fireworks are fired from barges on the lake, thus, creating a mirror effect on the lake surface.
Sports competitions are another of the main attractions in Putrajaya such as Malaysian National Waterski and Wakeboard SEA Championship, Putrajaya International Dragon Boat, Festival Red Bull International Air Race World Championship Putrajaya-Malaysia, and Para Cycling Asia 2014.
Putrajaya has also hosted various marathons in the past year such as the Night Marathon and Malakoff Powerman Challenge, the Mens Health And Shape Night Run and Putrajaya Starwalk 2014.
Putrajaya is currently being developed as a City in a Garden.
About 38% of its area is being developed into parks, lakes and wetlands while the rest is reserved for government offices, commercial and residential development, public utilities and amenities.
The 600ha man-made Putrajaya Lake serves as a climate moderator.
Currently, lake activities available are boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. PPj organised Fishing Carnival four times a year.