Driving through the maze of roads in Putrajaya, you can’t help but notice there are places that you can snap a picture perfect photograph but you are NOT allowed to step into the compounds of these stately buildings to visit. These are not merely your public buildings, they are palaces fit for Kings and Queens and members of the royal households in Malaysia.
Unless you are bestowed with a title from the King or Sultans (State Rulers) or you are invited to royal banquet or an event that involves the Royalty, you should consider yourself very lucky. But consider yourself lucky as you can still witness the great towering buildings of such that are made for public viewing in this country. In some countries, the palaces are built inside an estate and the only thing you can see is the princely gates to the palace.
In Malaysia, palaces are built on hilltops or on a flatter land that can be seen by the royal subjects as they drive through the highways or the public roads. The Istana Negara or the National Palace can be seen as you drive along the NKVE highway. Similarly in Putrajaya, you do not have to take out your binoculars to see the Sultan Selangor’s palace.
Istana Darul Ehsan
The Sultan Selangor’s palace in Precinct 8 or officially known as Istana Darul Ehsan (Darul Ehsan Palace) stands majestically on the fringes of Putrajaya Lake. The palace was handed over to the Selangor Sultan, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, after it finished construction on November 20, 2000.
It symbolizes the appreciation from Malaysia’s Federal Government to Selangor state for ceding Putrajaya to the federal government. It is the royal retreat palace of the reigning Selangor sultan, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah. The Tudor-style Istana Darul Ehsan is grey in colour, with dark blue roofing and it consists of six storeys and lift services. The area included guarded private spaces, personal library and a grand lobby of which the floor is tiled with exquisite Malaysian marble. The grand entrance door leads to a semi-circular lobby.
Istana Melawati is the second national palace of Malaysia’s Yang di-Pertuan Agong in Putrajaya after the Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur. It serves as a royal retreat for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The Istana Melawati (Melawati Palace) is located in Precint 1, Putrajaya. Construction of the palace began in 1999 and was completed in 2002. It has a resort concept and serves as a retreat for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. In Malay, Melawati literally means the guard’s tower which is manifested in the three huge towers flanking the palace.
Designed by Raja Datuk Kamarul Bahrin, principal architect and owner of Senibahri Arkitek, the palace comprises four main components, namely, the Royal Wing which make up the private quarters, the Reception Wing where ceremonial reception hall is located and where royal events are held in the hall, the Banquet Wing (where royal banquets are held) and some other function rooms and administrative block as the working areas for the officials.
As mentioned earlier, the three tall towers form a prominent structure at the side and centre of the palace. These towers represent old guard towers to be found in medieval Malay palaces. The 3 tiered roofs with intricate eaves details and clay ‘buah butong’ (appendages at the corners) provides an authentic attempt to replicate Malay traditional roof designs of the east coast. Inside the palace at the main staircase of the Meeting Wing, is a Melawati which is made from cengal wood topped with golden roof.