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Makam Mahsuri (Mahsuri Mausoleum), Langkawi

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Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiMakam Mahsuri, Langkawi (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri (GPS: 6.33868, 99.78411) or Mahsuri Mausoleum is the grave of Mahsuri, the ill-fated Langkawi maiden who was executed for adultery. It is today located along Jalan Makam Mahsuri, Langkawi. Of likely aristocratic blood, as she is often called Princess Mahsuri, she was wedded to Mat Darus, the son of Dato Karma Jaya, chieftain of Langkawi.

While her husband was away fighting the invading Siamese army, Mahsuri became friends with a travelling musician from Malacca by the name Deramang, who has put up at Mahsuri's parents' house. Very soon rumours were flying around the village that Mahsuri was involved in an affair with Deramang. When the rumour reached her father-in-law, Dato Karma Jaya, he was furious and ordered that she be put to death.

Despite protesting her innocence, Mahsuri was put to death. When the kris was plunged into Mahsuri, she bled white blood, signifying her innocence. With her dying breath, she laid a curse on Langkawi that it would remain barren for seven generations.

Her heart broken husband Mat Darus eventually left Langkawi to settle with his infant son in Phuket, where today there are about thirty living descendents of Mahsuri.

Locals believed that Mahsuri's curse did take effect, for Langkawi was soon invaded by Siam. To starve the invading Siamese soldiers, Dato Karma Jaya ordered that all the rice on the island be collected and burned at Padang Matsirat. It was again another of Dato Karma Jaya's foolish move, for it backfired on the islanders who were themselves starved to death.

In an intertwining of fact and fiction, Langkawi stayed desolate for seven generations, and was only rediscovered recently. Locals believed that the seven generations have passed, for Langkawi has since leapfrogged into becoming one of Malaysia's major tourist destinations.

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiMahsuri's grave in 2018. (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiMahsuri's grave in 2005. (5 June, 2005)

Mahsuri's Mausoleum Today

The grave of Mahsuri has in the past decade been beautified and landscaped into a mausoleum complex called Kota Mahsuri. At the entrance, there is even a pond and pavilion with walkway over the water. Visitors to Kota Mahsuri has to buy tickets to enter the complex. At the time of my visit, the entrance fees for Malaysians with MyKad is RM12 for adults.

Kota Mahsuri complex, LangkawiKota Mahsuri complex, Langkawi (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiPond with pavilion at Makam Mahsuri, Langkawi (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiLots of fish in the pond at Makam Mahsuri, Langkawi (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiPond teeming with fish at Makam Mahsuri, Langkawi (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiSite Plan of Makam Mahsuri (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiTickets to enter Kota Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiEntrance to Kota Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiInformation Counter at Kota Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


Upon entering Kota Mahsuri, visitors pass through a set of galleries. Among the exhibits here include a board showing Mahsuri's family tree (below).

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiEntrance to Kota Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


There is an information counter, and then a second entrance.

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiA second entrance at Kota Mahsuri leads to the gallery of exhibits. (8 September, 2018)


Beyond the second entrance is an eclectic collection of items, among them a horse carriage, a cannon, cannon balls, drum and urn. It is not clear how these items come to be assembled together here. However, upon reading the interpretive board, I learned that the urn belonged to Dato Pekerma Jaya, the chieftain of Langkawi who was also the one who ordered Mahsuri to be executed (he also happened to be her brother-in-law).

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiA cannon, a drum and an urn are some of the items on display. (8 September, 2018)


Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiDiorama at Kota Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


The above diorama depicts Penghulu Wan Yahya, who also goes by the title Dato' Seri Pekerma Jaya, accompanied by his wife Wan Mahora. They are flanked by his assistants Panglima Sang Serot, Panglima Hitam and Panglima Ali Dagang.

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiMusical troupe. (8 September, 2018)


After the diorama, we entered the next gallery, where a troupe of musicians were assembled. With the arrival of visitors, they play a short number to entertain.

From there, we emerge into the outside once more. There is a long corridor that leads towards Mahsuri's grave. The last time I visited the place was in 2005. A lot has changed since then, so much so that I could barely recognise the place anymore.

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiHere we are, standing in front of Mahsuri's grave. (8 September, 2018)


It is so different from 2005, when we were able to sit next to Mahsuri's grave. Nowadays, a wall has been built to encircle it.

A short distance from the grave is the Spear Monument. An interpretive board explains the difference between a spear (lembing) from a lance (tombak). A spear has a straight and tapered tip, like the blade of grass, while a lance has a spilt and wider tip.

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiSpear Monument at Makam Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


The next item we passed by is an oversized Congkak board. An interpretive board explains how Congkak is played.

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiSpear Monument at Makam Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


Next is another children's game, Tengteng, which is similar to Hopscotch.

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiTengteng board at Makam Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


Leaving behind the section on children's game, we entered the section of Kota Mahsuri called Kedah Village. This section displays traditional Kedah Malay houses. The grandest among them is the Rumah Penghulu, or Headman's House.

Rumah Penghulu at Makam MahsuriRumah Penghulu at Makam Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


Rumah Penghulu at Makam MahsuriRumah Penghulu at Makam Mahsuri, seen from the porch. (8 September, 2018)


Rumah Penghulu at Makam MahsuriRumah Penghulu as seen from the outside. (8 September, 2018)


Rumah Penghulu at Makam MahsuriInterior of Rumah Penghulu. (8 September, 2018)


Rumah Penghulu at Makam MahsuriThings exhibited inside Rumah Penghulu. (8 September, 2018)


Rumah Penghulu at Makam MahsuriGallery inside Rumah Penghulu displaying portraits of Malay women and rocks - a truly unlikely combination. (8 September, 2018)


I believe most of these houses were restored traditional houses that have been relocated here from various parts of Kedah, similar to the traditional Malay houses at Bon Ton Resort, where we were staying.

Teratak Sri Menong, one of the houses in Kedah Village, used to be the residence of Dato Md. Ali. This building has now been converted into a gift shop selling various souvenir items.

Teratak Sri Menong, traditional house at Makam MahsuriTeratak Sri Menong, traditional house at Makam Mahsuri (8 September, 2018)


Teratak Sri Menong, traditional house at Makam MahsuriAnother view of Teratak Sri Menong. (8 September, 2018)


Teratak Sri Menong, traditional house at Makam MahsuriVerandah of Teratak Sri Menong. (8 September, 2018)


Teratak Sri Menong, traditional house at Makam MahsuriFront door of Teratak Sri Menong. (8 September, 2018)


Teratak Sri Menong, traditional house at Makam MahsuriThe whole space inside Teratak Sri Menong is occupied by the gift shop. (8 September, 2018)


Another house in the Kedah Village compound is Teratak Sri Tama. This was the home of Panglima Hitam, possibly the same Panglima Hitam who was a warrior for Dato Pekerma Jaya, the 19th century chieftain of Langkawi.

Teratak Sri Tama, traditional house at Makam MahsuriTeratak Sri Tama, traditional house at Makam Mahsuri (8 September, 2018)


Teratak Sri Tama, traditional house at Makam MahsuriTeratak Sri Tama, traditional house at Makam Mahsuri (8 September, 2018)


Teratak Sri Tama, traditional house at Makam MahsuriInterior of Teratak Sri Tama. (8 September, 2018)


At the centre of Kedah Village is Rumah Mahsuri. The interpretive board does not say why it was given such a name, and whether there is any connection between Mahsuri and this house. It is certainly one of the loveliest house within the compound.

Rumah Mahsuri, traditional house at Makam MahsuriRumah Mahsuri, traditional house at Makam Mahsuri (8 September, 2018)


Rumah Mahsuri, traditional house at Makam MahsuriBeautifully restored wooden panelling of Rumah Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)


Rumah Mahsuri, traditional house at Makam MahsuriView of Rumah Mahsuri from a different side. (8 September, 2018)


Rumah Mahsuri, traditional house at Makam MahsuriVisitors entering Rumah Mahsuri. (8 September, 2018)

Mahsuri's Well

At the further part of Kota Mahsuri is a well, known as Telaga Mahsuri, or Mahsuri's Well. I remember seeing it during my 2005 visit. It is there, as it was, hardly changed from before.

Telaga Mahsuri, or Mahsuri's WellTelaga Mahsuri, or Mahsuri's Well (8 September, 2018)

Malay snacks

After exploring Makam Mahsuri, most visitors should start to feel the hunger pangs. They need not go far to find things to eat, for right within the complex, one can purchase traditional Malay snacks, which are made on site. That way, you get to see how these snacks were made. Among the snacks being made included Kuih Loyang, Kuih Caras, Peneram and Karipap.

Ladies making kuih for sale at Makam MahsuriLadies making kuih for sale at Makam Mahsuri (8 September, 2018)


Peneram, a type of Malay snack sold at Makam MahsuriPeneram, a type of Malay snack sold at Makam Mahsuri (8 September, 2018)

Makam Mahsuri, Langkawi on Google Maps Street View

Makam Mahsuri in 2005

Makam Mahsuri, LangkawiMakam Mahsuri, Langkawi (5 June, 2005)

Makam Mahsuri, Langkawi is on the map of Langkawi

List of Mausoleums in Langkawi, Mausoleums in Kedah and Mausoleums in Malaysia

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