Makam Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Di Julang

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Sultan Mahmud Shah II (r. 1685-1699) was the 10th ruler of Johor and has the honour of being the last of the Sultans of Johor descended from the powerful Sultans of Malacca, starting from Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II (r. 1528-1564). The first building you will see from the road side is the blue-topped Masjid Al-Hadi Kampung Makam.

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Then around the back of the mosque is the yellow building housing the grave of Sultan Mahmud II and others (no English translation provided for this site, so I do not know who else is buried here).  Later I learnt that the Sultan’s favourite horned cat (!) is actually buried here, but I think his tomb must be outside the yellow building. (Yellow is the colour of royalty in Malaysia, so is a useful pointer if you are uncertain.) 

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It looked like the building was closed, and only opened for school visits. But as we were walking away, a car pulled up from the internal compound and the driver told us we could go inside, as long as we removed our shoes. So, we slide open the barrier and went inside.

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The tombstones here are in the Acehnese style, which you can see more of in the Kota Johor Lama museum.

Outside the mausoleum were many more graves….

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Now, one cannot mention the Makam Sultan Mahmad without saying something about the tomb’s legend and why the mausoleum is called Makam Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Di Julang. ‘Mangkat’ is the Malay word applied to a royal death, and 'Di Julang’ means being carried in a royal litter or dais. Legend has it that Sultan Mahmud Shah II was one of the more tyrannical descendants of the Sultan of Malacca. During his reign in 1699, pirates were causing problems along the southern shores of Johor, so the Sultan sent out his Laksamana (Admiral) Megat Seri Rama to stop them. The Laksamana is also known as Laksamana Bentan as he came from the island of Bintan.

Laksamana Bentan left behind his pregnant wife, Dang Anum, and a very jealous court official, Tun Bija Ali, who wanted the Laksamana’s job and his wife. When Dang Anum said she craved jackfruit, Tun Bija Ali took some from a plate on its way to the Sultan. When the Sultan saw that someone had sampled the jackfruit before him (a huge no-no in the Sultan’s court), Tun Bija Ali said it was Dang Anum who was at fault and she was brought before the Sultan to explain. She pleaded with the Sultan, saying that the jackfruit was for her unborn child and the Sultan demanded proof. So he sliced her open and found a piece of jackfruit in the unborn child’s mouth!

The murder of Dang Anum was kept secret, but eventually Laksamana discovered what the Sultan had done. So, as the Sultan was being carried to his Friday prayers, Laksamana Bentan stabbed him. As the Sultan breathed his last breathe, he cast a curse which forbade all sons of Bintan to touch the grounds of Kota Tinggi for eternity, or they shall vomit blood to death! He also had time to lunge his kris into Laksamana Bentan’s leg, so they both died. And with that, the grand Malacca-Johor Dynasty died too.

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© Helen Gray 2019