Istana Batu – Its Significance
Kota Bharu, being the cultural hub of Kelantan, showcases its rich cultural heritage through its museums. One such museum is the Istana Batu or the Royal Museum that salutes the Royals of Kelantan.
As you step into the museum, it will feel as if you have entered the home of the Royals. Technically, you have, because the building served as the residence of the Royal family up till 1961. It was established as a museum in 1991.
Overall, the museum gives you an insight look at the personal lives of the Royals and their social activities, prestigious belongings, and gifts.
Entry and Passage
On entering the museum, the ticket counter is on the left hand side. Towards the right is a passage that marks the beginning of the tour. The museum is kept clean and tidy, with every corner utilized. The passage has posters of the legacy of the Royals, stating their rank and duration of reign. On the other side of the wall are depictions of official seals and coins used during the Royal’s reign. This narrows down to a chart of hierarchy. A sharp turn will lead you to a forked intersection.
While one side of the intersection contains the royal robes in glass cases and write-ups on their crown and tiara, the other side leads to a raised platform, covered on three sides that showcases important pieces of decor and gifts to the Royal family. These consist of a microscope, a cannon, vase, bicycle, glass art and flower art.
Dining Room and Kitchen
The walls leading to the rooms are adorned with pictures, literature and details of family history. The dining room is huge, and the table is laid out with dinnerware and tea-sets, while bigger silver vessels, crockery and crystal-wares are decorated in glass cabinets surrounding it. At one corner is a mirror surrounded by fancy caps, just above a shoe rack. Guns, ships, boats, ivory tusks, photos and flowers are also displayed. The kitchen has an extensive display of crystal pieces, both fine-crystals assembled into show pieces and mono-piece crystals. Besides these, there are guns, car structures, betel leave pans and other trinkets.
Drawing Room and Bedrooms
A beautiful drawing room with a tiger skin rug, stuffed ostrich and deer-head welcomes you. Cupboards arranged on either side of the sofa set contain delicate utensils and other pieces of Royal decor. Two bedrooms, one close to the drawing room and the other near the dining area, contain clothes, bed-set, shoes, dressing table and other personal belongings.
The hallway leads to other parts of the museum. It also leads to a revolving door – cross over to the other side to take in a fine showcase of the Royal’s sword collection. Definitely not to be missed.
There are many interesting things to take in at this museum, that it is only natural for one to miss out on a few things. Whatever it is, make sure you don’t miss these items:
- Hierarchy chart at the end of the passage
- Royal robes at the intersection
- Swords behind the revolving door
- Silver tea kettle at the dining table
- Crystal ship and its sail in the kitchen
- Antique clock with a pendulum at the dining room
- White tusk at the dining room
- Varieties of guns displayed across rooms
Located at the heart of Kota Bharu, this museum is just opposite the Handicraft Village or Kampung Kraftangan. It is situated at the hub of museums, next to the Central Market.
Address: Istana Batu, Jalan Tengku Puteri, Kota Bharu-15300, Kelantan, Malaysia
Visiting hours: It is open from Monday-Sunday: 08:30-04:45pm and closed on Fridays.