Balai Besar

In 1904, the Balai Besar was the venue of a lavish wedding ceremonies for the Sultan's five eldest sons and daughters. The extravagant affair lasted three months, from June to September, and almost bankrupted the state.

The Balai Besar was also the venue of the installation of a new sultan, namely Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Halim Shah II (1804-1845) and Tuanku Sultan Haji Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah on 20 February 1959.

he original structure dates back to the founding of Alor Star in 1735, and was built by Alor Star's founder, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin (1710-1778), the 19th ruler of the Kedah Sultanate, as the Balai Rong Seri, or Audience Hall. I visited it while documenting the sights in Alor Star for AsiaExplorers.

The Balai Besar was destroyed and rebuilt a few times. It was brought down by the Bugis invasion of 1770, and the same happened in the Siamese invasion in 1821. The present structure dates back to 1893, during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah.

The Kedah General Hall is built with a combination of architectural beauty and showcases the delicate splendor of artwork. The Balai Besar Kedah was built using gold cengal and it is evidence of the fineness and art of Malay carpentry. The Balai Besar Kedah has golden sculptures and mirrors from China on its roof. The Balai Besar Kedah has a total of 42 main pillars made of hardwood which is still strong today. The hall was constructed using wooden materials for pole, roof, and floor.

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