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The Royal Palace
in Kuala Lumpur
Ben van Wijnen

The King’s Palace or Istana Negara was built in 1928 and was originally the residence of a Chinese millionaire. During the Japanese occupation from 1942-1945, it was used as the Japanese officers’ mess. After the surrender of the Japanese, the building was bought by the Selangor State Government. It was then renovated to become the palace of His Majesty the Sultan of Selangor until 1957.
Subsequently it was bought by the Federal Government to be turned into the Istana Negara for the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Malaysian King. The area is fenced up and at the front of the gate are two guard posts where members of the Royal Calvary guard the entrance. The palace is not opened to the public and the main entrance with the mounted royal guard at the gate is one of the main attractions for visitors to the Istana.
 

The guards

Beside each guard house for the mounted guards in their British-style uniforms there is a smaller rectangular arch (can an arch be rectangular?...) in front of the National Palace.

Those two small shelters are just big enough to protect the standing guards from the weather. Those standing guards wear traditional white sarongs. Well, not really…

A traditional sarong would be a length of fabric wrapped around the waist, and Malay men would wear sarongs woven in a check pattern. Those guards however wear white uniform (jacket and trousers), and a so-called Songket wrapped around the waist. This Songket is a shorter piece of precious brocade fabric which makes it – worn over a sarong or a Baju Melayu - stand out of the background with its shimmering texture, due to the use of gold and silver threads. A Baju Malayu normally consists of a shirt and trousers.

Songket is a luxury product traditionally worn during ceremonial occasions as sarong…

Change of the guards is at 12noon every day.

 


Address: Syed Putra Road
Directions: The best way to visit the Istana is by the KL Hop-on Hop-off service which makes the place one of the stops. Otherwise one would need a taxi service because there is no city bus service to the place.

 

 

 

 

 

  Ben van Wijnen

 

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