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Kedah Sights & Visits ~ Alor Setar

• Intro & Background • Sights and Visits  • Langkawi • Kedah Map •

• Menara Alor Setar • The Zahir Mosque • Balai Nobat • • Balai Besar •
• The Big Clock Tower • The Royal Museum • Birth House of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad •
•Nikradharam Buddhist Temple • Pekan Rabu Bazaar •

Alor Setar, the capital of the state of Kedah has historical and cultural
attractions to go sightseeing. Many of them are a walk away from one another and sited at Jalan Raja, West of Sungai Kedah, which runs through the town.

To start off the tour of Alor Setar (or Alor Star), it is probably best to head for the most prominent landmark - The Alor Setar tower. From here one would be able to orientate and locate the other sights of interest

Alor Setar Tower (Menara Alor Setar)
Located in the heart of Alor Setar, this tower, standing at 165.5 metres tall is a prominent and modern landmark that signifies the rapid development in the state of Kedah. It functions as both a telecommunications tower and a tourist attraction. The Tower's platform allows visitors to enjoy a breathtaking view, that stretches from Gunung Jerai (formerly known as Kedah Peak) to the Straits of Melaka. From the tower, you will see vast expanses of paddy fields which lies outside of Alor Setar - an amazing view especially during harvest time.
Location – Heart of Alor Setar town
Visit Rating -

The Zahir Mosque
Another outstanding landmark built in 1912, is one of the most beautiful mosques in the country. Built with the Moorish traditional architecture depicting beautiful Islamic architecture and intricate creation of craftsmen during yesteryears, it is a mosque with numerous arches and columns, black domes and imposing minarets.

The site of this mosque before it was built was the cemetery of the Kedah warriors who had died while defending Kedah from Siam (1821). The architecture of the mosque was inspired by the AZIZI Mosque in Langkat town, north Sumatra. This mosque is enhanced with five prime large domes symbolizing the five Islamic principles.
Location – Jalan Raja / Visit Rating -

Balai Nobat

This 18 metre-tall and 5 metre-wide three-tiered octagonal tower sole purpose is to house the royal musical instrument set known as the Nobat. This nine-piece musical set is comprised of three drums, a gong, two flutes, two instruments called the cheng-cheng, and and a trumpet-like instrument called the Nafiri, which produces the haunting strains of nobat music.

The Nobat is played only by the Royal Orchestra during royal ceremonies including inaugurations, royal births, weddings, and funerals. It is believed that the Nobat originated from the Hindustani culture centuries ago when one of the brothers of the then ruling Sultan made a visit there. This tower, however
is closed to public
Location – Jalan Raja - Opposite the Zahir Mosque
Visit Rating -

Balai Besar (Great Hall)
It is an impressive classical wooden building built in 1898, embodying certain Malay-Thai architecture. It is an example of the historical and cultural relationship between Kedah and Thailand.

Balai Besar or great hall was where the Sultan gave audience to his subjects and administered justice. The first building was destroyed by the Bugis of Selangor in 1770. This intricately carved building is frequently used for royal and state occasions
Location – Jalan Raja (near Balai Nobat and facing Masjid Zahir)
Visit Rating -

The Big Clock Tower
The construction of this Big Clock has connection with the Zahir Mosque in its role and function. Built in 1912, this tower in terms of its architecture, there are two elements that are being portrayed here, that are the Islamic and Hindu aspects.

The Islamic elements can be seen around the dome section with the crescent, a symbol that is usually seen on the roof of mosques. The carvings surrounding this tower are also Islamic design. However, if we observe the lower section of that tower, the carvings represent Hindu elements, especially at its entrance. It is a blend influence of the Islam religion and past Hinduism.
In the past, this tower will chime at every prayer time, followed by the beating of the Nobat at the Balai Nobat, and accordingly the call to prayer is made from the Zahir Mosque.
Location – Jalan Raja - Near Masjid Zahir
Visit Rating -

The Royal Museum (Muzium Diraja)
This building which originated from the Kota Setar Palace is a wooden building that was built by HRH Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin Muazzam Shah, the 19th Sultan of Kedah (1710-1778), who was the founder of Alor Star town in 1735. This building had undergone demolitions several times due to attacks by the Bugis (1770) and Siamese (1821).

A fine example of local architecture, this early 18th century building which has been converted into a museum houses a veritable collection of Kedah's royal and cultural heritage, including the bridal chamber and the royal thrones are displayed
Entrance: Free / Location – Jalan Raja
Visit Rating -

Birth House of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
On the outskirts of the town is the humble attap house where Malaysia's former statesman and Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahatir Mohamed  was born and raised. Memorabilia related to the life and times of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad are displayed in the interior and around the exterior of the house.
Entrance: Free / Open everyday ( 9am to 6pm )
Location –No. 8. Lorong Kilang Ais. Visit Rating -

Nikradharam Buddhist Temple
Given Kedah's history and its close proximity to Thailand, the latter's influence on Buddhists is readily discernable. The local Chinese community donated money to build this Thai Buddhist temple in the Siamese architectural style. A golden Garuda suspends over the main entry. Adorned with statues, paintings, and colourful mosaics, its outer walls contain inscriptions of Buddha's teachings in three languages
Entrance: Free / Location – Jalan Telok Wajah.
Visit Rating -

Pekan Rabu Bazaar
"Pekan Rabu" which literally means Wednesday Market which is located between City Plaza and Medan Bandar on Jalan Tunku Ibrahim in the middle of Alor Setar. Open Bazaar, similar to flea market concept, collections of small stalls selling variety of stuff. Here one can shop for a variety of local wares and handicrafts as well as sample traditional fares like dodol, a popular Malay sweetmeat.

The complex which is well known is not only the pride of Malay entrepreneurs in Kedah but also the pride of all Malay's in Kedah. Moreover the former Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir, once was a
 trader in Pekan Rabu.
Location –  Medan Bandar
Visit Rating -


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[Alor Setar] [Historical Sights] [Forests & Waterfalls I] [Forest & Waterfalls II] [Lakes & Beach] [Recreation]

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