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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 Today

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.