Have you heard about Kellie’s Castle before???
Here i got something to share with…
My life time stories began here…!!!
Beside Kellie’s Castle haunted story, this place are well known for wedding photo shoot. Mine included as well.
Kellie’s Castle today!!!
Kellie’s Castle is located near Batu Gajah, Perak. Do you know about Taj Mahal in Agra, India? Kellie’s Castle not as famous as Taj Mahal but there are some similarities, both in architecture as in the story of its building. It is about 20 minutes drive from Ipoh, Perak (Malaysia). The unfinished castle, was built by William Kellie Smith, during the late 19th century. This building was built as love gift for his wife, Agnes. Unfortunately, the building is left unfinished. For many years, Kellie’s Castle has been shrouded in mystery. Besides being haunted, it is believed to have secret rooms and underground tunnels. Now these lingering rumors enhances the legend of the unfulfilled dream of William Kellie Smith. But, how true is the rumors no body knows… Today it’s nicely restored and easy to reach from Ipoh.
William Kellie Smith, born in Dallas, North-Eastern Scotland to a farmer and his wife on 1st of March, 1870. At the tender age of 20, he traveled to Malaya (old name of Malaysia) to seek for his fortune. This had proven to be a wise choice, since he was soon engaged by an estate owner, Alma Baker to help in the construction of public roads in South Perak and gathered some fortune from his share of the venture’s profits. With this capital, he bought over nearly 1000 acres of jungle land in the Kinta District, and cleared it to become rubber estate named. Followed by his success in rubber plantation, the Smith brought over his family to stay at his first mansion in Malaya, Kellas House which built in 1905 as symbol of his prospering rubber estate venture. Later in 1915 with the birth of a son and hier, Smith decided to build the Kellie’s Castle (just in front of the Kellas House). It is believed to be a gift for his wife or for the birth of his son – Anthony.
Because of his fascination with the Hindu religion and the Indian culture, Smith’s plan was for this house to share similar architecture to those of Madras, with all its bricks and tiles imported from India. He even employed a big group of Indian labourers to build his dream house, to keep the Kellas House authentically Indian. The mansion is accessible from the main road through a bridge running across a stream. But it was not only the cost of importing material and labourers from abroad that made the house so fascinating to locals and travellers alike. Among the many amazing things about Kellie’s Castle are an elevator (it was the first in Malaya) which connects right up to the top floor, and the existence of two tunnels that run under the river nearby. One of these tunnels connects to the Hindu temple some distance away from the main house. On the second floor, Smith planned to build an indoor tennis court- an ambitious project even by today’s standards. On the highest floor, there is a rooftop courtyard for parties. This castle was to be the hub for entertaining wealthy colonial planters who had settled in Malaya. His house was so unique that it was even mentioned in the London Financier newspaper on 15 September 1911.
Unfortunately for Smith, tragedies struck soon after the construction of the Kellas House began. A virulent strain of the Spanish flu spread from Europe to Asean soon after World War I ended in Europe, killing many of the workers in the Kellas Estate. Another seventy workers constructing Smith’s dream castle also became victims of the flu. Smith, who had already spent a fortune on his house, lost a lot of money because of this. In the end, Kellas House, later known as Kellie’s Castle or even Kellie’s Folly to some, was never completed. William Kellie Smith himself died of pneumonia during a short trip to Portugal in 1926. His heartbroken wife decided to pack up and return home to Scotland selling the estate and Kellie’s Castle to a British company called Harrisons and Crosfield.
There have been many myths or legends or rumours spreading around about the mysterious castle. Some say that the Smith’s spirit still wandering inside the castle, especially along the corridors, guarding his great mansion. And that’s why much of the structure still intact after so many years. Some say there are lots of “spirits” wandering around the castle since workers died during the construction and people died during the 2nd world war. It is believed that there are 4 underground tunnels. One is connecting the castle to the Hindu temple 500m in the west, one is connecting to the main gate garage in the south and one is connecting to the road in the east. How about the last one? It’s still undiscovered. There are rumours about this secret tunnel had been used as a execution hub of the Japanese army in World War II. And some say it was the secret tunnel being used by Chen Ping (the famous communist leader in Malaya) in between 50s to 60s.
Kellie’s Castle Restored…
Today, visitors can still “meet” William Kellie Smith and his two children at Kellie’s Castle. Sculptures of them are still standing on the exterior wall, but the one of his beloved wife fell off some years ago. For safety reasons however, the tunnels have been sealed off. Apparently, one of Kellie’s car is parked somewhere in one of the tunnels! Despite the ravages of time and neglect, the entire estate oozes with romanticism of the colonial era in Malaya. After visiting Kellie’s Castle, do not forget to take a short walk to the Hindu temple constructed by Smith to appease the Gods after his workers died of the Spanish flu. The architecture of the temple is a curious mix of Moorish, Greco-Roman and Indian design. Encapsulated forever in a moment in time is the odd, misplaced figurine of Kellie in his planter’s suit and topee among the sixty deities on the temple roof. Few temples around the country actually owe their existence to a colonial expatriate like this insignificant temple in the outskirts of Batu Gajah. And obviously the Hindu temple held enough fascination for William Smith to build a secret tunnel connecting the temple and his house.