Sunday, March 06, 2011

Ronda-Ronda: Melaka Traditional House, Merlimau

Penghulu Natar House is one one of Merlimau pride together with other cultural-rich wooden houses here. Located at Jalan Permatang Serai, about 4 km from Merlimau Town, this house rich in Melaka Malay architecture and detailed carvings of flora and fauna. 

There are many other unique and beautiful Malay Traditional Houses here that clearly sends message for us that Merlimau has been a predominant Malay settlement since the old days.

This 180 years old house is the most beautiful Malay Traditional House in Melaka with colourful and unique carvings from outside, inside to the top of the roofs. 

The roof decoration, also known as tebar layar and tunjuk langit

You might see the Melaka roof blended together with Limas Johor roof

According to Ramli Md Natar, 66, said his father inherited the house from his grandfather, Demang Abdul Ghani, during the Japanese occupation in Malaya and took care of it until he died in the 1970s.  The Demang word or penghulu means village head in English.

Amazing deco!

The house was built in 1831 with the cost of RM 23,000 during that time. It’s architecture is unique because a mixture of Melaka Malay, Johor, China, European and Palembang style and took 2 years to finish the whole house with full decorations and carvings.

The house now given to Ramli's son, 37-year-old Mohd Rizal, who is now looking after the house which was rehabilitated by the National Heritage Department in 2009 at a cost of RM1.7 million. Rizal is the family's fourth generation.

The colourful Penghulu Natar House popular for its intricate wooden carvings and floral designs which attracts both domestic and international tourists.

In 1980s this house was choosen by film makers to shoot their remake films such as Sumpah Semerah Padi (1981) and Lagenda Lela Manja (1988).

One of the Melaka Malays traditional way to invite and to welcome the guest to the house is by decorating the stairs with imported tiles. The tiled-stairs symbolized the Melakan hospitality and ‘Selamat Datang’. 

The decorations of stairs also symbolized the status of the house owner during that time to differentiate between the lower-class and upper-class Malays.

The pinapples and pumpkins symbolize the status of penghulu or demang because pinapples have crowns while pumpkins looks like 'petara' or singgahsana

You can see the pineapple 'sit' on the pumpkin right? This symbolize the penghulu sit on petara and rule or respected by all people in this area

That is why the decoration and quality of tiles used in this house were said to be the most beautiful and unique in Melaka and the most beautiful old house in the country. You will never find other unique and beautiful Malay house like this anywhere.

The house was bulit not just for the penghulu uses but also as a center for the area management and administration, complete with large cooking area for feast and celebration, anjung or verandah for discussion or meeting and a jail.

Anjung or verandah

The decoration for pillars

Imported 'kekisi' or wall decorations from china

Decorative pillar

For those who are interested to visit this house, you might come to Merlimau and meet the Penghulu Natar family members here. There are also some brochures and informantion provided for you. You could learn Melaka Malays culture and their traditional way of life here.

You can enter the house if the entrance door open or you might ask for permission from Ramli. You will be amazed with the unique interior design of the house whereby there are plenty of Malay old furniture and also a 'balai penghadapan' inside the house.