Origin of Kangar
Kangar is the administrative capital of the state of Perlis Indera Kayangan and is also the main commercial capital. It is situated within 5 territories or mukims, namely Sena, Kechor, Wang Bintong, Seriab and Utan Aji. Kangar has the most compact development in this area.
Kangar existed from about 350 years ago, that is since 1653 when Kota Sena was built as the administrative centre for the 14th Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Muhyiddin Mansor Shah. Kangar was then a land port or "pengkalan" where boats and tongkangs anchor at the confluence of Sungai Perlis, which runs through Kangar Town to Kuala Perlis.
It was here at the port that trading was done, under a big tree that gave shade and respite to the traders. This tree that became a "witness" to many business deals was called "Pohon Kangar". Every trader and merchant who came and went to this place began calling it the Pohon Kangar Port, in honour of the tree.
Apart from this particular story there were a few other tales that suggested the origin of Kangar Town. One was that it was named after an eagle known as the "Burung Kangor". In the early existence of Kangar there were a lot of these eagles flying around this area. .
But whatever it was, by the 20th century the"Perlabuhan Pohon Kangar" lost most its functions due to the changing trend in transportation. The waterways now move to the land where roads and highways are built everywhere. The old transport of boats and tongkangs have now been replaced with cars and lorries
Kangar is changing from year to year with rapid development enabling new buildings to replace old ones. Despite this rapid development, old and historic buildings are preserved to become trademarks of the city of Kangar. One such trademark is Bangunan Jam Besar (Big Clock Building) which is now Menteri Besar Office Building. Besides that, there are also other historical buildings like Kangar Traffic Police Station, Sekolah Menengah Derma, Masjid Alwi, row of shops along Persiaran Jubli Emas and Hokkien.
The roads in Kangar were also named after the historical events in the city, like Jalan Penjara, Jalan Barrack, Jalan Home-Guard and Jalan Kelab Indera Kayangan. Even though the prison has been relocated, the name still remains.
Therefore it is not surprising to find several forts in the state of Perlis; amongst which is Kota Sena located in Kangar City. In fact, Kangar City is actually home to various architectural treasures and heritage which are becoming forgotten due to the absence of a proper historical artifact storage in the state years ago.
HISTORY AND MORPHOLOGY OF KANGAR CITY
According to history, Kangar Town existed from about 350 years ago, that is since 1653 when Kota Sena was built as the administrative centre for the 14th Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Muhyiddin Mansor Shah. Kangar was then a base (land port) where boats and tongkangs anchored at the confluence of Sungai Perlis, which runs through Kangar Town to Kuala Perlis.It was here at the port that trading was performed, under a big tree that gave shade and respite to the traders. This tree that became a "witness" to many business deals was called "Pohon Kangar" that later became the origin of the formation of the name of Kangar town.
Apart from this particular story there were a few other tales that suggested the origin of Kangar Town. One was that it was named after a type of eagle known as the ‘Burung Kangor’(Spizaetus limnaetu), which can be seen flying in this area in the early days of Kangar. Perlis was under the rule of the Siamese Government, Japanese Government and British Government. Significant physical development of Kangar took place during the British rule caused by tin mining activities. This not only brought about the construction of roads and public facilities, but also the influx of Chinese workers to work the tin mines also shaped the placement and early modern business at Kangar Town.
Development of Kangar Town as seen today took about 400 years. Its establishment as a town began like most of other towns in Malaysia, that is at the edge of the main river. Sungai Perlis played an important role in establishing the earliest settlements which was deemed to have the potential to be a land port connecting the Kangar Town with Kuala Perlis. Malay settlements such as Kampung Pengkalan Asam which still exists until today is believed to be the earliest settlements in Kangar Town based on its placement along the edge of Sungai Perlis which flows through the town centre.
Around year 1900, which was after the new source of economy was discovered with tin mining, shophouses made of stones and more complete were constructed by the Chinese traders along the main road which connects Kangar and Alor Setar, with the focus given along Persiaran Jubli Emas. From that business development, Kangar Town began to become the focal point for activities.
The period before independence witnessed the construction of Derma English School in 1948. In the 1970s when the Government of Malaysia began todevelop, more government buildings were built and further strengthened its function as the administrative centre and the capital city. From then on, the development train has branched out of the Kangar-Alor Setar Road.