Dato Kramat Road, or Jalan Dato Keramat, is one of the main roads out of George Town. It starts at the six-point junction formerly called the Magazine Circus, and ends at the start of Ayer Itam Road, at the junction with York Road.
Location of sights along Dato Kramat Road on the map
The name Dato Keramat means a Muslim shrine, usually to a holy man or ascetic. It probably refers to a shrine somewhere near Kampung Makam, where there has been a Muslim settlement predating the opening of George Town by Francis Light. This is also mentioned in the book, The Chulia in Penang.1
During those early days, the settlers travelled upriver by boat. Today, however, boat traffic is largely forgotten - the river itself has also gotten too shallow to allow proper navigation. In any case, Dato Kramat Road is now the main artery connecting the inner city of George Town to the outskirts, which until the mid 20th century refers to Ayer Itam.
Today Dato Kramat Road is lined with auxiliary businesses. It has quite a number of lighting shops.
Dato Kramat Road, near Siam Road junction (15 December, 2008)
Dato Kramat Road stretch known as Kamma Hooi in Hokkien (19 March, 2010)
In Other Words ...
Dato Kramat Road is known to the local Hokkiens by various names. The section at Lorong Kulit in front of the Penang Prison is known as Si1 Kham1 Tiam3, or "row of four shophouses". The namesake has since been demolished a long time ago. The section in front of Penang Times Square is known as Kam3ma1 Hnui2 meaning Lime Plantation. As would be expected, the names given are a description of the place as it once was.
Dato Kramat Road stretch known at Si Kham Tiam (15 December 2008)
Khoo Salma Nasution, The Chulia in Penang (Areca Books, 2014, p.48)
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