Sunday, November 10, 2013

Istana Bandar, Jugra

Jugra was the royal capital of Selangor when the then ruling monarch, Sultan Abdul Samad built Istana Jugra (Jugra Palace) and moved there in 1875. It was situated in a strategic location, not exactly at the river mouth but easily accessible from the Straits of Malacca, and protected by a hill, Bukit Jugra; which stands clearly out above the low-lying mangrove swamps. For centuries it served as a familiar landmark to navigators of the Straits of Malacca. Chinese, Arab and European mariners marked it in their charts; Bukit Jugra was also known to many foreign navigators as Parcelar Hill, derived from the Arabic name for it, balasar.
It was during this time that Jugra also briefly became the centre of British administration in Selangor, although this was soon moved to Klang, and a decade later to Kuala Lumpur. The Sultan continued to live at Jugra until he died in 1898, and the new Sultan, Sultan Alauddin Sulaiman Shah also known as Sultan Sulaiman was proclaimed there. This was the last important occasion in Jugra.

The fifth Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Alauddin Sulaiman had a dream. He visualised a big palace made of wood and marble, with fifteen rooms to cater for countless royal functions. He would design for his Queen a spacious and beautiful courtyard where she could repose and enjoy her moment of quietude. He would also need a grand balcony from where he would stand behold, while addressing his subjects. In keeping with Malay architecture, the roofs of the palace would be adorned with trimmings of intricate wooden carvings.

In 1905, his dream came to life. Sultan Alauddin remained in residence at Istana Bandar for 35 years. From this palace he governed, received numerous important British and foreign dignitaries, held important official and religious ceremonies, and taught his descendants the strategies of becoming powerful rulers.

There are unmistakable marks of Islamic influence in its aesthetic design - a delightful blend of Indian and Middle Eastern elegance; all this inspired Sultan Alauddin in building his dream palace. Masterful craftsmen from China were shipped in, their skills utilised in the making of wooden carvings, adding a dash of Chinese brilliance in the general overall artistry.

I have never been inside the palace.. but I found these photos from another blog.

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