by Andy Khong
Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Batu Gajah city, in Perak state, Malaysia, lies Kellie’s Castle, an architectural masterpiece that exudes mystery and allure. Constructed in the early 20th century by Scottish planter William Kellie SMITH, this enchanting castle stands as a testament to his unfulfilled dreams. Combining Moorish, Indo-Saracenic, and Romanesque styles, the castle showcases intricate craftsmanship with ornate arches, majestic columns, and elaborate embellishments. Its towers and turrets offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Kellie’s Castle’s rich history is intertwined with legends and myths, adding to its mystique. One such tale revolves around secret tunnels that supposedly leads to a hidden chambers within the castle, the purpose of which remains unknown. Exploring the castle’s halls and corridors, visitors are transported back in time, pondering the untold stories and secrets concealed within its walls.
Located amidst the scenic Perak countryside, Kellie’s Castle provides an escape into Malaysia’s natural beauty. Surrounded by lush greenery, the castle offers a serene and tranquil ambiance, perfect for those seeking respite from urban life. The picturesque gardens and tranquil ponds invite leisurely strolls and moments of peaceful reflection.
Visiting Kellie’s Castle is not just an architectural expedition; it is a journey of discovery. Guided tours offer insights into William Kellie SMITH’s life, his aspirations, and the challenges he faced during the castle’s construction. Explorers can uncover hidden nooks and crannies, each with its own tale to tell, immersing themselves in the castle’s rich heritage.
Front view of Kellie’s Castle.
Courtyard view of Kellie’s Castle.
Photography enthusiasts will find Kellie’s Castle a haven for capturing captivating frames and surreal backdrops. From the intricate architectural details to the interplay of light and shadows, every corner of the castle offers opportunities for stunning photographs. Whether an amateur or a professional, the castle promises ample inspiration for artistic endeavours.
It is worth mentioning that Kellie’s Castle is also known for its haunted reputation, and rumours of being premises used by the Japanese during World War II to torture and execute prisoners. The castle’s mysterious ambiance has led to numerous ghostly tales and paranormal experiences reported by visitors, including having their shirts/blouses tugged, whispers, cries, sudden chills, orbs of white shroud, feeling a ‘presence’, ghostly image of a man wandering around (believed to be Kellie), and fleeting visions of a little girl with curly hair wearing a white blouse (believed to be Kellie’s daughter).
Partially completed building at the back of castle.
Kellie imported bricks and marble, and hired skilled craftsmen and labourers from Tamil Nadu (South India) to complete the Indo-Saracenic touches. However, the Spanish Flu^ pandemic of 1918-1920 struck, and most of the workers contracted the virus and died. The surviving workers requested Kellie to build a shrine to Hindu Goddess, Mariamman, whose worship is believed to cure disease. Kellie constructed the temple on the grounds of his estate with a tunnel linking the castle to the temple. The tunnel is sealed today, and it is a five-minute walk to visit the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple from the castle. As a tribute to Kellie’s generosity, sculptors have included a statue of him among the Hindu deities on the Temple’s roof. Some descendants of those Tamil workers still live around the Temple today [^ the pandemic before our recent one, hence COVID is known as, “once in a century pandemic”].
Can you spot Kellie among the Hindu deities on the roof of Sri Maha Mariamman Temple?
Kellie’s Castle was used as a setting in the 1999 film Anna and the King (starring Jodie FOSTER and CHOW Yun-Fat), and 2000 Hong Kong film Skyline Cruisers (starring Leon LAI, Jordan CHAN, and SHU Qi).
For those intrigued by the supernatural, Kellie’s Castle offers an extra layer of intrigue and fascination. As you plan your next adventure to South-East Asia, consider adding Kellie’s Castle to your itinerary. Discover its history, immerse yourself in its architectural splendour, and unravel the enigmatic legends that surround it. Kellie’s Castle awaits your visit, ready to captivate your senses and provide an unforgettable experience in a truly remarkable setting. Dare you to explore the dark secrets and ghostly whispers… woooooooo! 👻💀👹😈
Distance between Ipoh, capital of Perak and Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah is about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles). Do visit Ipoh, a hidden gem of Malaysia: https://www.youngpioneertours.com/ipoh-hidden-gem-of-malaysia/
About 94km (58 miles) from Kellie’s Castle is Cameron Highlands, “Malaysia’s Little England”: https://www.youngpioneertours.com/cameron-highlands-discover-natures-serenity/
Go to Malacca, a city steeped in history in Malaysia: https://www.youngpioneertours.com/malacca-city-steeped-in-history/