The photos below were taken at Denpasar’s international airport in Bali, Indonesia. The more we travel, the more we’re seeing these praying rooms (sometimes called non-denominational chapels or meditation rooms) at airports around the world, especially in the west. We’ve recently seen these at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (Detroit’s gargantuan international airport) and Amsterdam Schipol airport, to name two examples.
In many parts of the globe these have always been a feature of an airport or at least have been around for a long time. The prayer room at Denpasar’s international airport, officially Ngurah Rai Airport, is signposted with an international-style sign in two languages. The context is interesting. The island of Bali is an overwhelmingly Hindu region (90%) in a country that is overwhelmingly Muslim (87%).
The praying rooms are non-denominational, not specific to a religion, and are a practical, important architectural feature that accommodates a diverse religious culture, especially in a country where the majority religion’s observant practitioners are required to pray several times a days. The signage, like much of the international standardized visual vocabulary used in airports globally, has a quickly understandable symbol of a person kneeling. No matter what your religious beliefs, the meaning is clear.