Timothy Tye
Noordin Family Tomb

Noordin Family Tomb Tower, Chulia Street (8 January, 2008)

Noordin Family Tomb (GPS: 5.41723, 100.33752), also called Noordin Mausoleum or Makam Keluarga Noordin, is located facing Chulia Street next door to the original main entrance of the Kapitan Keling Mosque. The mausoleum was built in the mid 19th century by prominent Indian Muslim merchant Mahomed Noordin Merican, who arrived in Penang with his mother and his elder brother, Abdur Cauder Merican, who became the Kapitan Keling. The Noordin Family Tomb originally housed a school called Dunam Pillay. Classes were held there for learning the Al-Quran, Arabic, Malabar, Hindi, Tamil and English were held there. It became a tomb after it was used as a mausoleum to Mahomed Noordin Merican's mother.

Mahomed Noordin Merican came to Malaya from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, India (but he is technically not a Chulia, as I have earlier reported here, but rather a Turlekan, a people originating from a place in Turkey1). The word "Merican" is derived from the word "Mericalayar", which means "people from the sea", to denote their seafaring activities and businesses. Mahomed Noordin Merican passed away at the age of 92 in 1870.

Noordin Family Tomb (1 September, 2008)

The Noordin Family Tomb originally served as the mausoleum for Mahomed Noordin Merican's mother. However, Noordin himself was also buried there when he died in 1870. Mahomed Noordin Merican's son, Mahomed Mashurdin Merican Noordin, was also known as MM Noordin. He was born in 1848 and died in 1924, in the house called Clifton, in Northam Road. He was the leader of the Indian Muslim community of George Town. The British authorities made him a Municipal Commissioner and a Justice of the Peace - he was one of the first Muslims to be accorded such an honor.

MM Noordin's son Aladin Merican Noordin, also known as A.M. Noordin, was the grandfather of the person who assisted me with the information, Wan Mohd Nasserudin Noordin. Wan Mohd Nasserudin Noordin's father was Isdin Merican Noordin, or I.M. Noordin, but better known as Wan Noordin, was one of the best known jockeys in Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak. After standing in a run-down state for decades, the Noordin Family Tomb was recently restored. Now it houses the Galeri Seni Lukis Persatuan Pelukis Melayu Pulau Pinang (Penang Malay Artist Association Art Gallery).

Dewan Makam NoordinDewan Makam Noordin (25 January, 2013)

Dewan Makam NoordinDewan Makam Noordin (25 January, 2013)

Details of the arabesque stucco ornamentation (1 September, 2008)

The Noordin Family Tomb is on the map of Chulia Street

Nearby sights

Noordin Family Tomb, now used as the Malay Artist Art Gallery, is located in the middle of a very heritage-rich area, within the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site core zone. Within close walking distance are the following sights. The point of reference is the main entrance of the art gallery.
  1. Masjid Kapitan Keling: Located behind the Noordin Family Tomb, it can be reached by the entrance to the left of the tomb. If that entrance is locked, use the other entrance along Pitt Street. From the tomb, turn right and walk to the junction. At the junction, turn right and walk along Pitt Street until you reach the entrance.

  2. Teochew Ancestral Temple: Turn right and walk along Chulia Street until the junction. Cross the junction, and it is on the right side of the road facing Queen Street.

  3. Sri Mahamariamman Temple: Turn right and walk along Chulia Street until the junction. Cross the junction, and it is on the left side of Queen Street

  4. Kuan Yin Teng: From Noordin Family Tomb, turn right, go along Chulia Street until the junction of Pitt Street, then turn left. You will see Kuan Yin Teng on the left side of the road facing Lebuh China.

  5. Nagore Shrine: Turn right along Chulia Street. Go straight ahead, past the Jalan Kapitan Keling junction, and you will find it on the opposite side of the road, on the right side of the junction of Lebuh King.

  6. Lim Kongsi: Turn right along Chulia Street, cross the Pitt Street junction, then turn right into Lorong Pitt. At the end of Lorong Pitt is Lebuh Ah Quee, with Lim Kongsi right in front.

  7. Madrasah Hamid Arabi: Turn right along Chulia Street, cross the Pitt Street junction, then turn right into Pitt Lane. At the end of Pitt Lane is Ah Quee Street, with Lim Kongsi right in front. To the right of Lim Kongsi is the Madrasah Hamid Arabi.

Getting there

The nearest bus stop is along Chulia Street. It is served by Rapid Penang bus 10, 101, 104, 201, 202, 203 and 206.


  1. Wan Mohd Nasserudin Noordin, email from 25 June, 2009

Noordin Family Tomb, street view (8 January, 2008)

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