Malay Heritage Centre (Previously Istana Kampong Glam)

Istana Kampong Glam was the seat and historic home of Malay royalty in Singapore. The first sultan, Hussein Mohmad Shah, never lived in the building as he died in Malacca in 1835. The present building was constructed in 1840 by his son, Tengku Mohammed Ali, who was later recognised as Sultan Ali Iskandah Shah. The Istana is located at Sultan Gate in Kampong Glam, in the Rochor area of the central region. Today, Istana Kampong Glam is preserved as the Malay Heritage Centre.

In 1896, Sultan Ali’s three wives settled in court their dispute over the rights to the Istana Kampong Glam estate. In 1897, the court repealed this privilege of land ownership and ruled that no one could claim to be a successor. Hence, the estate belonged to the colony of Singapore and not to the sultan’s descendants, although they were allowed to continue living there.

In 1993, the government announced plans to develop Istana Kampong Glam since it was located in the 16-hectare Kampong Glam conservation area. Residents were given ample time to make their own housing arrangements. On 12 March 1999, it was announced that the Istana would be converted into a Malay heritage centre. After redevelopment, the Malay Heritage Centre was officially opened in June 2005.

Malay Heritage Centre


Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple

One of the old sketch that I did. I remember there were a little girl and her grandma sitting next to me. They traveled from Johore Bahru early morning, not sure where to go, as they were waiting for their uncle to finish work and met up with them. The little girl who also liked to draw was fascinated by my sketch. So I told her it’s good to know your interest and not to give up. I might get to see her drawing one day. Who knows.


We Draw Amaravati (19/11/2017- 23/11/2017)

The Urban Sketchers Singapore were invited to sketch Amaravati the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati, about 1/3 the size of Singapore is coming up on large swatches of agricultural land in Guntar- Vijayawada region. Singapore has been actively involved in the development of Amaravati since 2015. The farmers across the 29 villages gave up their land for the development of the new capital city. Our team was there to sketch the 14 villages and the remainder would sketch by another team, starting 8 Dec.

Special thanks to Ministry of Trade and Industry and the connection of Temasek Polytechnic.

Day 1

Transferred flight from Hyderabad- Vijayawada.

Reach hotel around 8am, we had an early lunch and moved to our first location, Undavalli Cave.  It was opened to Public on Sunday and we were overwhelmed by the crowd. Our next location was Vijayawada train station before the heading back to the hotel for our dinner.

Amaravati 4-1 copy  Amaravati 5 copy

Amaravati5 copy  Amaravati 7 copy

Amaravati 6 copy  Amaravati1 1 copy 5

Amaravati1 copy 5

Amaravati 3 copy


Day 2 (20/11/2017)

Kuragallu- Nidamarru- Malkapuram

At Kuragallu, I was drawn by the statue and was told that it was Sivaji built in 1962.

The tall golden statue in Nidamarru can be found at the entrance of quite a number of villages.

We visited a temple at Malkapuram. The Kakatiya age temple is known for the ancient inscriptions carved out on its walls, stupa, and tank here. The temple is believed to be built by the queen Rudramadevi of the Kakatiya dynasty in 1270. The woman priest opened the gate to let me in have a look. I decided not to disturb this holy place and sketched an old tradition house nearby.


Amaravati1 3 copy 3

Amaravati 2 copy

Amaravati1 copy 4

Day 3 (21/11/2017)

Krishnayapalem- Velagapudi

While sketching at Krishnayapalem, the local invited us to visited their Primary School. As it’s school holiday, the Primary school teachers were having the workshop. We were warmly welcomed by the heads and teachers and they provided lunch for us.

Amaravati copy

Amaravati1 2 copy 3

Amaravati1 1 copy 4


Day 4 (22/11/2017)

Penumaka- Gandhi Hill

We spent the morning visiting the Autism Research & Multi Disciplinary School. It was an eye-opening experience. Knowing how organised and committed the whole committee was. Such a dedicated team!

Our final stop for the evening was Gandhi Hill. A magnificent panoramic 360 view of the city of Vijayawada, including the beautiful Krishna river and the barrage. The Gandhi Memorial with seven stupas was constructed on this hill at a height of 500 feet, The 52 feet stupa was unveiled on 6th October 1968 by President of India Dr. Zakir Hussain.

Amaravati 1 copy

Amaravati1 2 copy 2

Amaravati1 1 copy 3Amaravati1 copy 3

Last day (23/11/2017)

Visited Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Council Area, the Downtown Road that Singapore is going to develop and Amaravati’s foundation stone.

We went to explore Islampet, which is one of the older parts of Vijayawada. A busy street where you could see all sort of transportation.

Amaravati1 5 copy  Amaravati1 4 copy  Amaravati1 3 copy 2

Last stop, the farm market. Too bad that I didn’t have any sketch…

Vijayawada- Bangalora- Singapore on 24/11/2017.

I would really love to go back to India for more sketching!

Tembusu tree at Botanic Gardens

The Tembusu is one of Singapore’s most distinctive trees. This native of Singapore is a large, evergreen tree that grows up to 40m in height.

This tree can be recognised by its deeply fissured dark brown bark and unique perpendicular branching. It is highly robust and can grow even in poorly drained, clayey soils.

During the flowering season in May – June and October – November, its creamy white flowers open at sunset and give off a strong fragrance in the evening. This gives rise to its scientific name, Fagraea fragrans – ‘fragrans’ means sweet-smelling, or fragrant.

A photograph of the finest Tembusu in the Singapore Botanic Gardens can be found on the back of the ‘Portrait’ series $5 note. This Heritage Tree is reportedly more than 150 years old.