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Seri Menanti

Ben van Wijnen

"Negeri Sembilan translates as ‘nine states’ referring to the nine territories which made up the confederation from 1773 onwards. The rulers of this state are of Minangkabau origin having migrated from western Sumatra about six centuries ago bringing their distinctive customs and architectural style with them."

Seri Menanti Palace

Seri Menanti is a city in the district of Kuala Pilah, in the center of Negeri Sembilan. It is the royal city of the state Negeri Sembilan and here lives the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, or the sultan of the state Negeri Sembilan. The royal palace is known as "Istana Besar". Don't confuse Seri Menanti with Kampong Seri Menanti. This kampong is located in Johor. The area around capital Seri Menanti is Luak Tanah Mengandung.
The Minangkabauers moved from Sumatra to the large area Negeri Sembilan in the 14th century. Around the 15th century they moved on and explored the Seri Menanti area. Among them was the explorer Datuk Puteh. According to legend, they found three halves of fresh green rice and that's why Datuk Puteh dipped the Padi Menanti area (literally: waiting for ripe rice). Over time, the name was changed to Seri Menanti. It is assumed that the word "seri" means the goddess of rice in the old Javanese tradition (in Javanese: Sri).

The Raja "Melewar" arrived in Negeri Sembilan in 1773 and became the ruler of the region. Later he moved his palace to Seri Menanti and this became the Royal city of Negeri Sembilan.
The official name of the palace is "Istana Besar Seri Menanti". The palace complex consists of the Main Palace, the Throne Room (Balairong Seri) and the Royal Banquet Hall. The Istana Besar Seri Menanti was completed in 1932.

The Throne

Another beautiful palace in Seri Menanti is the old, wooden palace, known as the Istana Lama. It is made in part of Chengal wood and hardwood and is held together with only wooden connections. It took six years to build the palace and was completed in 1908.
The design has subtle hints of Minangkabau architecture and has five storeys, which reach a height of about twenty meters high and has ninety-nine columns to support the main structure. The Istana Lama was a replacement for Istana Pulih, who was burned down by British soldiers. The drawings and plans for Istana Lama are detailed by Mr. Woodford and based on the designs of two local artisans, Kahar and Taib. This palace was used until 1932 when the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar moved to Istana Besar. The Istana Lama has been designated as a national heritage and was converted into a Royal Museum in 1992 and is currently closed for repairs and upgrades, which are expected to be completed by 2020.

Other landmarks include the Seri Menanti Royal Mausoleum, the Tuanku Munawir Royal Mosque (Masjid DiRaja Tuanku Munawir), the Seri Menanti Resort, and the eighteen hole Royal Seri Menanti Golf and Country Club which also has two squash courts.

The Gate


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    Ben van Wijnen

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