Friday, December 28, 2007

Palace fit for a Sultan

One of the more interesting tourist attractions in Malacca is the Istana Kesultanan Melaka (Malacca Sultanate Palace). It's a full-scale replica of the royal palace that was razed to the ground by the Portuguese when they attacked Malacca in the 15th century.

The current palace was built to specification as described in the Malay Annals (Sejarah Melayu) and was believed to be the royal abode of one of Malacca's most celebrated Sultan, Sultan Mansur Shah.

As we entered the palace, we were ushered into the Main Hall, where dignitaries and envoys from all over the old world would come to pay their respects to the Sultan, bearing gifts and royal decrees from their respective Kings and Emperors.

There were local officers, businessmen, warriors and religious leaders sitting bersila in a row. It must have been quite boring... coz it looked like some of them were dozing off already.... ;)

Melaka was a de facto protectorate of the Chinese Empire as evidenced by multiple visits from the famous Chinese viceroy Cheng Ho. Boy did he look ugly.

There are three levels in the palace, and the entire building is completely air conditioned. Which was a welcome development as far as I was concerned as it was freaking hot outside. Still, I reckon the original 14th century palace would have been quite cool with its airy corridors and high ceilings.

At one corner of the second floor is the royal bed chamber. So red..... it reminds me of a chinese wedding night.

Also on display were various decorative items like hair pins, broaches as well as traditional attires.

Wah, the women of old Melaka all had very deep set eyes and sharp noses.....

Would this be a 15th century clay whistling kettle, perhaps?

Looking at these water jugs made me thirsty for a ice cold coconut drink.....

More female accesories for the fair haired, sharp nosed women of Malacca. ;)

Hey, this looks like my Baju Melayu. Sigh it looks better on him than it does on me.

The kris, a wavy dagger with patterns carved onto the blade, is a proud Malay symbol of heroism and gallantry.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the Malacca Symphonic Orchestra!!!!

Hey, don't these 'Bengali' traders know that ivory is a banned item?

All in all, it was a very educational trip down history lane and a very cooling one too. ;)

As we stepped back out into the sunshine, it felt like we were in a time warp and had just returned to the present 21st century. A really great educational way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, don't you think?

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