Having a royal fantasy is a phase where most people would go through growing up. Imagining we are some sort of a ruler, King or Queen of our own self made empire in our castle. In movies, palaces stood opulent and exclusive. But did it ever came across your mind there’d be a dental room and a cinema in a palace! But of course, we’re talking about real monarch here and not some actors playing a role. Since the month of June is the King of Malaysia’s Birthday, let’s re-visit the Royal Museum, which was once used to house the monarch of Malaysia.
The Old National Palace (Istana Negara Lama) used to be the residence for all monarchs in Malaysia until 2011, where a new palace was built. Located at the South of Kuala Lumpur along Jalan Syed Putra and Jalan Istana, the Old National Palace now functions as a museum that exhibits the original rooms, furnitures and royal collections of the past Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia.
The History of Istana Negara
Stretching over 13 acres, you could only imagine what the palace bare around and within. As fascinating as it could get, the palace has its own life story considering it has been around since the 1920s. Originally called ‘The Big House’, it was made for a local Chinese millionaire but then was occupied by the Japanese Governor from 1942 to 1945 due to war.
After the Japanese surrendered, it was used by the British Military Administration. With the formation of the Federation of Malaya in 1950, the Selangor State Goverment rented the place for the residence of His Majesty the Sultan of Selangor. Later, it was bought by Federal Government to be converted as the residence for the newly created sovereign post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaya in 1957.
A Peek Inside
At the front of the Istana Negara, there is the main entrance which resembles an arch. On each side of the arch, two guard posts shelter two members of the cavalry in their full Malay traditional attire which becomes a must stop for visitors to pose for the camera. The driveway, leads to two entrances – an entrance to the West Wing and the other to the East Wing.
The East Wing is home to the Balairong Seri – the throne room of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which is only used for official and ceremonial functions. This is the room most often seen in pictures and telecasts of the palace; it sometimes serves as a banquet hall.
The West Wing of the palace is dedicated to the Bilik Mesyuarat Raja-Raja – Kings’ meeting room – where the Conference of Rulers is usually held. The second floor has a few thematic rooms including the Dewan Mengadap, where the King receives honoured guests, the Bilik Duta, a room dedicated to the King’s meetings with the Prime Minister and the Bilik Permaisuri, where the Queen entertains her guests.
The interior concept of Istana Negara is highly influenced by the Palladian style which carries a clarity and symmetrical notion. This gives a rustic yet classic styling to the whole angle of Istana Negara. From the columns, pediments, to the furnishing choice, everything seems fitting and compliments each space which gives the royal feeling to it.
Visit Royal Museum and Behold Its Majestic Charm
Although not every part of the palace is open for the public, you could still enter the gallery and the Balairong Seri to witness the remnants of the royal collections and rooms. Learn how the monarchs live their lifes and you might just uncover some royal secrets there.
Jalan Istana, 50460 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2272 1896
• Adult: RM 5.00 • Adult: RM10.00
• Children (6-12 years-old): RM 2.00 • Children: RM5.00
• Senior Citizens & Disabled: RM 3.00 • Children Below 5 years old: Free
• Students (in uniform): RM 2.00
• Children Below 5 years-old: Free