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Welcome to Terengganu

There are many interesting historical facts about Terengganu that many do not even know and will find it surprising that our history goes back to thousands of years. Fossils of early human settlements were found in Gua Bewah, Tasik Kenyir that dates back to the Neanderthal Age. That’s almost 8,000 to 20,000 years ago. And many also do not know that Terengganu has been mentioned in ancient Chinese history books as “Teng-ngan-yu” way back in the 12th Century, where it held a very important position as a trading port. It was part of the Sri Wijaya empire since the 2nd Century. And interestingly, Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer, who also lived during the reign of Sri Wijaya, had also described two ports on the Malay Peninsula, Primula and Kole, as being on the Terengganu coast.

An important discovery, the Batu Bersurat, or Terengganu Inscription Stone, dated in the 14th Century, established Terengganu as one of the earliest recipients of Islam, even predating the Malacca Sultanate. The founding of the present Terengganu Sultanate dates back to the 18th Century by Tun Zainal Abidin I.

The industriousness of the Terengganu people during the late 19th Century was a cause of admiration. Hugh Clifford, the British Resident of Pahang, came to visit Terengganu and what he observed truly amazed him. He observed that Terengganu was the centre of many traditional crafts and industries, from boat building, wood carving, brass making, the production of songket and batik, to house building without the use of nails. The Terengganu River was also a bustling trading port. Impressed, he even described Terengganu as the “Birmingham of the Peninsula”, a tribute to the industries of Terengganu. In addition, historians of culture described Terengganu as the “cradle of Malay civilization”.

historians of culture described Terengganu as the “cradle of Malay civilization

The Batu Bersurat, Terengganu

The Batu Bersurat, Terengganu or Inscribed Stone of Terengganu constitutes the earliest evidence of Islamic acceptance by a local ruler. The Jawi writing (writing based on Arabic alphabets) in the Malay Muslim world of Southeast Asia normally associated with the spread of Islam by Middle East traders. The Stone is a testimony to the spread of Islam offering an insight to the life of the people of the era as well as depicting the growing Islamic culture subsumed under a set of religious laws. Syed Hussin Gulam al-Bukhari, who discovered the stone tablet in Kampung Buluh, Kuala Berang in 1903, realized the historical significance of the Romanized Arabic-like text inscriptions on the stone.

It is one of the most important historical evidence of an Islamic decree in scripted by a local ruler, dated 1303 AD in the 14th century. The stone is an evidence of one of the earliest Islamic government in the Malay Peninsula. The inscriptions on the stone explain the decree and enforcement of Islamic laws and its punishments. Today, a replica of the stone has been built as a memorial in Kampung Buluh, Kuala Berang where it was originally discovered. It is a reminder of the importance of Kuala Berang as a preferred port of call among international traders and travellers in the olden days. Another mammoth replica of the Batu Bersurat has been built at a roundabout in Kuala Terengganu. The original is prominently displayed at the State Museum. Terengganu’ Batu Bersurat has been listed under the United Nation’s Memory Of The World, an UNESCO’s programme aiming at preservation and dissemination of valuable heritage archive worldwide.

Keropok Lekor

If one mentions keropok lekor (fish sausage) and keropok (fish crackers), the first thing that comes to mind would be Terengganu! Eaten as snacks, keropok lekor is made from pounded or minced fish with sago added in to give it a texture that can be easily rolled into sausages. First boiled and then eaten fried or steamed, keropok lekor comes in two versions, where the darker ones and deep fried is traditionally Malay whereas the white coloured steamed version is one commonly found in Kampung Cina and is the Peranakan recipe. The chili sauce that accompanies them are also different in taste.

Keropok is also a type of fish cracker and comes in flat pieces (similar to packaged potato chips). It is made by drying the flat cut pieces made from fish dough and dried in the sun until it is real hard. Cooking it is the easiest – dip the crackers in hot oil and it will expand in a few seconds and is ready to be eaten. Take it on its own or compliment it with the same chili sauce used for keropok lekor.

Credit to beautifulterengganu.com for content.
Credit to www.tourism.terengganu.gov.my for content.

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Terengganu

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