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Tuesday, December 13, 2016
A myriad of attractions in Kelantan
The Istana Jahar was used by the state’s Raja Bendahara during the reign of Sultan Muhammad II.
Once an administrative centre of Kelantan, the location of Istana Jahar (Jahar Palace) itself portrays the state’s rich royal heritage and the tradition of its people.
Eastern and Western influences
The palace, which combines eastern and Western influences, is equipped with a pentagon-shaped porte-cochere rich with woodcarvings. It was for the use of the Raja Bendahara Long Kundor, who was the third-in-line to the throne, during the reign of Sultan Muhammad II.
The interior decoration is equally grand, with its unique designs determined by Islamic values and themes, while the motifs are heavily influenced by local flora and fauna.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the Janji di Tepati programme and had a walk-about at the Siti Khadijah market during his day-long visit to Kelantan in January 2013
It took the name from the Jahar tree that grew in the palace ground.
Back in the day, the first floor balcony of the palace was used for royal family members to watch ceremonies, such as istiadat bersiram, pijak tanah, berkhatanand even royal weddings, said Royal Traditions and Customs Museum assistant officer Zuhaini Mohd Zain.
“In 1981, it was converted to a museum and is now open to the public to showcase Kelantan’s unique culture,” said Zuhaini.
Built in the 1880s, the museum, situated in Kota Baru’s tourism and cultural zone, has close links to Sultan of Kelantan Sultan Muhammad V, who ascends the throne as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong today.
Istana Jahar also showcases costumes of ancient warriors.
The museum showcases a royal collection which includes textiles, brass and silverware, and artifacts related to the royal rituals.
Its Malay Weapon Gallery showcases many unique traditional Malay weapons, including keris, lembing, badik and kelewang, among others.
According to the Tourism and Culture Ministry’s Kelantan director Mohd Aidil Afizie Mohd Daud, the Jahara Palace is currently the second most popular tourist site in the state after the Siti Khadijah Market.
Istana Batu was donated to the state in 1991 and was consented to be turned into a royal museum.
Another famous tourist attraction is the Istana Batu (Royal Museum), which once served as the royal residence of Sultan Yahya Petra Sultan Ibrahim Petra when he was the Crown Prince.
Istana Batu, which has a pale yellow structure and facade, was donated to the state in 1991 and was consented to be turned into a royal museum.
The richly adorned rooms give visitors a glimpse into the past royal life.
It showcases, among others, personal belongings, including collection of personal letters, royal attires, hats, fine China and photos of the Kelantan royals, which were well preserved in its original state.
Istana Balai Besar
Visitors also must not miss the Istana Balai Besar (Grand Palace), which was built in 1844, along the Malay architectural lines that were hugely popular in the 19th century.
The Grand Palace was built by Sultan Muhammad II, who wanted a new palace to replace his old residence on the banks of the Kelantan river.
It is believed that skilled carpenters from all over the state constructed the palace from specially chosen cengal timber.
Istana Jahar’s interior decoration reflects Islamic values and themes while the motifs are inspired by flora and fauna.
It later became the royal residence of several Sultans who ruled the state. In present day, the palace, which houses the royal throne and regalia of Kelantan, is only used for royal ceremonies such as investitures and important functions.
Siti Khadijah market
Another way to experience Kelantanese culture is by paying a visit to the Siti Khadijah market, named after Prophet Muhammad’s wife. The traders in this market are predominantly women. It is a busy market selling Kelantanese food and traditional products.
The Siti Khadijah market is Kelantan’s most popular tourist site and the traders there are predominantly women.
Visitors can choose from fresh vegetables, including pickle petai, keropok losong and cincalok (fermented small shrimps) to a long list of sweets and desserts such as akok (a traditional Kelantanese dessert made from coconut, palm syrup and eggs), cendol pulut tapai, bunga tanjung, jala mas, sira labu, butir nangka and tahi itik.