Friday, 30 November 2012

kellie's castle

Kellie's Castle
Many know the love story attached to the Taj Mahal. But how many of you know the story of a Scottish man named William Kellie Smith and his beloved wife Agnes? In 1890, a young Smith left his home farm in Kellas for Malaya. It is not known why he ventured to Malaya for career opportunities much less when he actually arrived. However, he integrated in to the community with ease. He bounced around several business opportunities finding some success but it wasn't until he me Alma Baker that he struck gold. Baker obtained several government projects to built roads in South Perak. Their partnership in these projects led to quite a bit of profits. Enough to purchase a 900 acre piece of land for his rubber tree plantation and homely estate named Kinta Kellas in Batu Gajah.
Through various business ventures, Smith's wealth grew. In 1903, he returned to Scotland to marry his sweetheart Agnes. He brought her back to his home in Malaysia and later that year the couple was blessed with a daughter named Helen. He loved his daughter but wanted a son, an heir to his empire. Poor Agnes found it hard to conceive a second child. It was another eleven years before she became pregnant again. In 1915, Agnes gave birth to a son named Anthony. In celebration, Smith began planning the construction of a huge castle. Because of his fascination of the Hindu religion and India, he incorporated much of the elements in to his new home. Bricks and tiles were imported from India. He even enlisted the help of Indian workers to build it.
It was to take 10 years to build Kellie's Castle. However, he ran in to one major set back. Many of the workers contracted the Spanish Flu and died in the early 1920s. A temple was built 1500 m from the castle for the deity Mariamman. Some say it was to protect those who lived on the property. Others say Kellie had it built as a way to thank Mariamman for granting his wish to have a son. Either way the temple still stands and many continue to worship in it. The first elevator in Malaysia is located in Kellie's Castle. It travels from the roof down to the underground tunnels. He also planned to build a indoor tennis court. The rooftop was reserved for a courtyard for parties. World War I slowed the process even more. In the end, Kellie's Castle was never completed.
Smith took a short trip to Britain in 1926 supposedly with his daughter. It's unknown why he made a detour to Lisbon, Portugal (some believe it was to pick up a lift for his new manor). In December of 1926, he contracted pneumonia and died. Agnes later packed up and left Malaysia with her children back to Scotland. She sold the castle to a British company called Harrisons and Crossfield. Anthony Kellie Smith was killed in World War II. Helen never returned to Kellie's Castle. The only thing left of the first home is the covered walkway, an open courtyard and part of a crumbling wall. Kellie's Castle has been refurbished and appears as if it has never been touched. It was even used as a setting in the 1999 film Anna and the King. A company manages the property as a tourist attraction now. Some believe it is haunted by the family it was built for.
William's spirit has been seen pacing at night in the 2nd floor corridor. Helen wearing a white blouse and curly hair haunts her old bedroom. Phantom smells of incense and spirits have been reported in the horse stables. Adding to its mystery, some believe the mansion possesses hidden rooms and secret underground tunnels.

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