Teluk Intan Heritage Trail

Teluk Intan might be a small town in Perak but it is rich with heritage and history..

In the early days, the town was known as Teluk Mak Intan, after a female Mandailing trader. It was here that the Perak rulers held court from 1528 until Kuala Kangsar became the royal town in 1877..

Teluk Intan was also known as Teluk Anson, after Major-General Sir Archibald Edward Harbord Anson who planned for its modern township in 1882. It was later changed to Teluk Intan in 1982, which means ‘Diamond Bay’ and was a stronghold for the Perak Royal Court.

The town is best known for its pagoda shaped clock tower, nicknamed the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan due to its definite tilt.

Tourists who make the effort to come to Teluk Intan usually take a look at the leaning tower and leave without realising there are a lot more heritage buildings and places of interest to visit…

I was recently there at Teluk Intan, thanks to Gaya Travel Magazine and Tourism Perak where I got to discover some of these pretty intriguing /interesting places…

There’s the Old Police Station of Teluk Intan (which was then known as the Central Station)which was the earliest building erected by the British after the change of administrative centre of the Lower Perak District was moved from Durian Sebatang to Teluk Intan

This historic building is one of the few that remained since the inception of Teluk Anson back in 1882, and served as a primary detention facility to the British for anyone found guilty for any crime….

The quaint Post Office of Teluk Intan remains the oldest administrative building erected during the British administration just right next door to the now abandoned Old Police Station.. It’s a pre-World War I building standing in its own compound.

The Teluk Intan branch of HSBC was built in 1946, but operated as a branch of the Mercantile Bank of India Ltd before merging with the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation…

The exterior is virtually unchanged since the branch opened shortly after WWII ended…

The former Court House building was built in 1880 and used as a court until 1983. On Sundays, the building doubled-up as a church until St.Luke’s was built in 1911.

It was one of the first administrative buildings planned by the British that served the district of Lower Perak.

With Neo-Classical characteristics, the courthouse withstood the test of time and played its part in Telok Anson’s long history. At the end of World War II, the courthouse was used temporarily to dispose off War Crime cases. Japanese Imperial Soldier, Sergeant Sasaki Saburo who headed the much feared ‘Kempeitai’ Military Police during the war, was tried here in June 1946 and found guilty by the Judge and Jury of the War Crimes Court of Telok Anson and sentenced to death here…

The building has since been restored to almost its original structure before the 3rd Battalion Territorial Army Regiment then took over the building and has used it as a district regimental headquarters up to the present day…

The Lower Perak District War Memorial or ‘Batu Tenggek Teluk Intan’ is located at the Jalan Changkat Jong  – Jalan Maharaja Lela junction, near the Tabung Haji building…

Since there are not many granite stone monuments let alone one as big as this, this is definitely a one of its kind memorial here in Malaysia…

A line taken from Laurence Binyon’s famous poem, “For the Fallen” is inscribed on the plinth…
‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. 1914 – 1918 ‘and a later addition ‘1939-1945’.

There is however no list of Teluk Intan’s casualties in those wars on the monument so we just remember then in general…

St Luke the Evangelist’s Church is a small wooden church building with an architectural design consisting of nave and chancel with a high pitched roof and belfry with a bell all the way from England located in a central area surrounded by plenty of space and had a seating capacity for 60 people….

The origin of the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua in Teluk Intan dates back to 1894. The Church has a central three storey porte cochere tower topped by an elegant steeple. In the middle of three sides of the tower are louvred quatrefoils in circle. Above these are pairs of louvred, arc-headed windows.

However, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, eh, I mean Teluk Intan, the steeple is also kind of tilted to one side due to earth movement and erosion underneath…

The Al-Ihsaniah Madrasah is the first modern Madrasah for Perak, and also the Malay States was built in 1901 in the small town of Teluk Anson (current day Teluk Intan)

The Al-Ihsaniah Madrasah was built on religious endowment land (wakaf) from the Sultan and subjects, offering both students from within and outside the State of Perak the opportunity to learn Arabic as well as Bahasa Melayu apart from religious studies. Officially, the Madrasah was completed in 1901and was open to the congregation beginning 1902….

Right across the road is the Hock Soon Keong temple which was built in 1883, after a simple but a sacred shrine which was built in 1845 for the Chinese believers to worship the God of Sein Kong and the Goddess Sein Ma was moved to Changkat Jong Road where a larger community of Hokkien people lived near the train station….

This shrine was the oldest shrine in Teluk Mak Intan, as the place was then called, built with Southern Chinese architecture, with the most notable features being the elaborately decorated upturned eaves reminiscent of the Ming and Ching Dynasties….

Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, commonly referred to as the Chettiars’ Temple and is dedicated to Murugan, the Hindu deity who is also known as Sri Thendayuthapani. This temple stands as a living testament to the Chettiars’ contribution to Teluk Anson’s colonial economy with only the best materials used to built this temple…

The reticent front opens into a pillared hall with a polished terrazzo floor. Light floods into the open main prayer space through rows of columns with carved capitals carrying dark polished timber beams. Over the ceiling span richly carved timber joists – fine woodwork is a typical feature of Chettiar temple architecture.

Only the best teak wood from their sawmills in Burma (now Myanmar) was used for the superstructures. The best quality rice and pulses from Burma and spices from India were shipped for festivals to prepare food offerings for the deity. Since Murugan has several festival days, these would be allocated to different temples.

And while Thaipusam is celebrated in Selangor and Penang grandly, Teluk Intan celebrates the Chitra Paruvam festival which takes place during the Tamil Calendar of Chithrai (April – May). This festival lasts 3 days and on the third day of the festival, the Silver Chariot (Velli Ratham) is taken on a procession through the old part of the town. The Silver Chariot was brought to the temple in the year 1932….

In 1894, the Tapah Road Teluk Intan Railway recorded the first ever train derailment as a result of the confrontation between an angry elephant bull and the train. This incident is also the first train accident ever recorded since the introduction of railway to the Federated Malay States some 125 years ago.
Occurring on 17th September 1894, the three carriage steam locomotive with engine & tender which carried mostly passengers who were somewhat involved in the booming tin mining industry were on their journey to Teluk Anson (Present day Teluk Intan).

As the train approached Teluk Anson, an angry bull elephant stood its ground and met the approaching train head-on causing the death of the elephant and the train to derail….

The elephant was said to be avenging the death of its baby who was killed by the train some time back at the same location…

The Leaning Tower is a well known landmark in Teluk Intan, and is often liken to the leaning tower in Pisa…. Originally built in 1885 with a height of only 85 feet, the tower has 110 steps in total from ground level to the top. While it is now past 100 years old, it is still standing solidly albeit at an angle that exaggerates to a lean.

The tower was designed by a local Chinese architect, Leong Choon Cheong and assisted by the resident engineer with the rank of Assistant Engineer of the Telok Anson Public Works Department, Mr. S. Sabapathy to be a water reservoir for those living in the town, while also providing a clock for telling time….

The tower is actually just 3 storeys high and when you try to take a walk outside the 2nd level, you will feel a sense of vertigo, probably because of the tilt…

Overall, it is an interesting trail with 20 different landmarks and we only had that much time to cover some… So go check it out at Teluk Intan or their website at

Thanks to Gaya Travel Magazine and Tourism Perak for the opportunity to visit this amazing place…

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