Dato' Jenaton's Grave in Minden Heights
(13 May 2012)
Dato' Jenaton's Grave
(GPS: 5.36013, 100.29914) is a Minangkabau Muslim grave in Minden Heights, Penang
. It is the final resting place of the founder of the Batu Uban
settlement in the early 18th century. This community pre-dates the arrival of Francis Light
and the subsequent establishment of George Town.
Dato' Jenaton (also spelled Janaton and Jannaton) is said to have arrived in Batu Uban in 1742. At that time, Batu Uban may have been called Batu Bara, after a similar place from his homeland. A Minangkabau nobleman, he was an active trader with business interests on both sides of the Straits of Malacca (then known as the Malay Sea). In return for his help in repelling a Siamese attack, the then sultan, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa (reign 1710-1778) granted a hundred acres of land in Batu Uban, on the eastern coast of Penang Island, for Dato' Jenaton to establish his settlement.
The Siamese king during that time was most likely King Boromakot (Somdet Phra Chaoyuhua Boromakot), who reigned in Ayutthaya from 1732 to 1758.
Plaque on Dato' Jenaton's gravestone
(13 May 2012)
Dato' Jenaton passed away in 1789 and was buried within his property in Batu Uban. As with many of the historic sights in Penang, the grave of Dato' Jenaton is today engulfed by urbanization and development. The land which he first cleared is today occupied by the Universiti Sains Malaysia and Minden Heights.
An interested aspect about Dato' Jenaton's grave is that it is much longer than most Muslim graves. This is to denote his high status within the society as well as his position as founder of the settlement. Another curious aspect is that it is not anywhere near the Batu Uban Mosque
or Sungai Gelugor Mosque
. There was probably a Muslim chapel or surau in its proximity when the graveyard was established, but this has long disappeared.
Dato' Jenaton's Grave is located off Persiaran Minden 1. It is best reached by private transport. From the Minden Heights traffic light, take Changkat Minden Jalan 1, then continue on Lorong 6 to link to Changkat Minden Jalan 5 heading west. At the end of Jalan 5, the road makes a turn to the left. The next junction to the right is Persiaran Minden 1.
The graveyard of the Jenaton clan has a blue gate which is locked at all times, so it is not possible to make a casual visit.
Dato' Jenaton's Grave is on the map of Minden Heights
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