Royal Buildings: Istana Jahar of Kelantan

 

Visiting the Istana Jahar turned Museum.  

Jahar Palace (Istana Jahar) is a well-known landmark in the capital city of Kelantan, on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. A road trip here takes you 6 hours from Kuala Lumpur with a view of the rural setting along the way.

The palace was built in 1887 during the reign of Sultan Muhammad II as a gift to Long Kundur, the Raja Bendahara (or what we call the Royal Treasury) and the third in line to the throne. It was the official Royal Residence of the then Sultan and several others that came after him.

In 1992, the Jahar Palace was turned into a museum of Kelantan Royal Traditional customs & ceremonies with a name that comes from a Jahar tree that grew in the Royal compound.

The large balcony with a view overlooking the Kota Bharu town.

The large balcony with a view overlooking the Kota Bharu town.

 

Keeping an eye on the architecture details. 

The keeper of the Palace decided to maintain everything and this included the wooden flooring, the pillars, the traditional, giving it a fresh coat of paint (windows in yellow symbolizing Royalty status). From the front, the Jahar Palace doesn’t feel large but when you enter it, you’ll see the grand dark wood spiral staircase with its gorgeous railing leading to a long corridor on the upper floor.

The balcony is big enough to host a meeting with Official dignitaries or any other special royal family events. There are plenty of rooms in the palace as we walked from one to another, learning about the customs of the Royal family as they grew up here.

I love these carved light ornaments which can be seen in Jahar Palace.

I love these carved light ornaments which can be seen in Jahar Palace.

 

Learning about the Royal ceremonies. 

One of the things I learned in the museum is the traditional ceremonies surrounding the birth of the Royal family member and official events. In one of the rooms upstairs, you could see a platform decorated in long white cloth, while a small container of rice and “nasi kunyit” can be seen underneath it. This was for the Bathing ceremony for the mother who will be bathed in 7 jars of various water, decorated with weaved coconut leaf.

You could also see the following customs on the first floor:

  • Shower of blessings
  • Laying the cot
  • Head shaving and touching the earth
  • Circumcision ceremony with nasi kenduri (feast rice)
  • Eating ceremony

Along the corridors, there are picture frames with stories of the Royal family, including the past and present. The tour continues on the ground with a display of the Bride and Groom’s room, traditional costume for the Royalties, like the custom jewelry like the gold comb used for the female Royal member.

Just outside the Jahar palace is the Royal Platform (Panca Persada), where a prince or princess would be cleansed and given the royal bath before being married. It is placed within the Royal compound, close to a well or water source. It is made of wood structured in hexagon shapes of three tiers, with steps leading up to the platform.

The long corridor with rooms displaying the traditional Royal ceremonies.

The long corridor with rooms displaying the traditional Royal ceremonies.

Standing at the balcony looking down at the arch entrance of Kota Bharu.

Standing at the balcony looking down at the arch entrance of Kota Bharu.

A ceremony setting for a Royal baby.

A ceremony setting for a Royal baby.

The circumcision ceremony display for the Royal prince or princess.

The circumcision ceremony display for the Royal prince or princess.

The Royal Platform in the Royal grounds.

The Royal Platform in the Royal grounds.

 

Information:

Location: Jalan Sultan, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia | Phone: +6 09 748 4477 | Visiting Hours: Saturday-Wednesday (8:30am-4:45pm), Thursday (8:30am-3:30pm), closed on Fridays | Entrance Fees: RM2 (Malaysian Adults), RM3 (Non-Malaysian Adults)

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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