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Tags : Forts & Palaces

Time Required : Less than 1 hour

Timings : 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Entry Fees : Adult: RM 10
Child: RM 9

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Kellie's Castle, Ipoh Overview

The unfinished, gothic and ruined mansion of an ambitious Scottish Planter, Mr. William Kellie Smith, Kellie's Castle is located in Batu Gajah, Kenta District, Perak, Malaysia. With several ghost-sighting reports, the castle is believed to be haunted by many.

The Kellie's Castle has an intriguing background story of how despite mega plans of a stately personal palace, the mansion was struck by sheer bad luck and tragedies all over its time, and thus, never reached its completion. Set on a hill with a gorgeous backdrop, the castle has all the intriguing elements for mystery lovers- horror, romance, dream, fate, tragedy. The beautiful interior and exterior has been used for filming scenes in movies like Anna and the King, and Skyline Cruiser.

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Background and Legend

In 1926, William Kellie Smith left Scotland and arrived in Malaya to make it big in life and career. After working as a civil engineer here, he used his funds earned from some business ventures to invest in rubber plantations and this struck his fortune. Similar to any clichéd rags-to-riches story, he married his lady-love from Scotland and was blessed with 2 children. With the birth of his son in 1915, he gave way to building his own unique dream castle - an assortment of Indian, Tamilvanam, Moorish and Scottish architecture. With bricks and marble imported from India, he hired 70 highly skilled Tamilvanam craftsmen to work on the opulent castle.

However, destiny had its own plans set. World War I led to shortage of funds in the midst of the castle's construction. On the top of it, the Spanish fever epidemic didn’t spare the artisans. All this led to a halt in the construction process. On the request of the workers, a Hindu temple was built 1.5 kilometres from the castle as a means of protection against the disease. The epidemic did stop and the construction resumed. However another tragedy still awaited.

William Kellie Smith died an untimely death at the age of 56 after contracting pneumonia. The grief stricken family who had already left for Britain, never returned back and sold the unfinished castle to Harrisons and Crosfield, a British company. Left to dilapidate in the jungle, the mansion never reached its completion. Later, on realizing its potential as a promising tourist attraction, the Kellie's Castle has been restored enough to be visited by tourists. 

Kellie's Castle, Ipoh
The stately castle (Source)

Structure of Kellie's Castle

As per the original plan, the mansion was meant to have Malaysia’s first-ever elevator, a rooftop courtyard and an indoor tennis court. The unique architectural style is a mix of Moorish-revival/ Indo-Saracenic/ Greco-Roman. William Kellie Smith was in awe of Hinduism and thus inflicted Indian architectural elements into his dream mansion through bricks, tiles and 70 artisans called upon specially from India.

The intricate designs on the walls lend a royal vibe. The grand spiral staircases indicate what a wonder of a castle it would have been had it been completed. A tunnel running under the castle is believed to be connected to the nearby Hindu temple. However, it has been sealed long before citing security reasons. It is also believed there are several other tunnels as well. What further adds a spooky element to the structure is the several secret chambers in the castle never dared to be explored owing to weak staircases. The wooden wine cellar and the elevated shaft for the elevator are other intriguing features.

Kellie's Castle, Ipoh
Side view of the castle (Source)

The Haunted Mansion

Owing to its doomed fate, out-of-the world architectural plan and reported sightings of ghostly apparitions, Kellie’s Castle was regarded as amongst the top 5 scariest places in Singapore. A lot many visitors have claimed to witness dark shadows of supernatural figures in the mansion.

Many others have narrated the same account of a how a ghost of a 6-year old child with curly hair wearing a white blouse roams in Helen’s (William’s daughter) room. The ghost is believed to be that of Helen.

Another tale tells about a how a woman tourist who visited the castle with her husband, saw a ghostly man, standing on the balcony staring into nowhere. Many believe that the ghost of William guards the castle.

Another rumour says that the mansion was secretly used as a torture-house by the Japanese, and thus, the ghosts of the victims haunts the castle. With no concreteness to all these stories, you can definitely check out for yourself, how spooky the mansion is!

How to Reach Kellie's Castle

The castle is a 30-minute drive from Ipoh. Look out for signboards at Jalan Gopeng that point towards the castle.

One can take a taxi from the Sultan Shah Airport or Ipoh Railway station. Since the taxi drivers do not usually use the meter, make it sure not to pay more than  RM100 for the drive.

The other option is to take a bus from the Meddan Kidd Bus Station. Since no direct bus runs from here to the castle, first take the Route 66 Perak Transit Bus heading to Kampar to reach Gompeg. And then, continue onto the Route 67 Perak Transit Bus heading to Batu Gajah. The bus will pass by the castle.

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