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Ayer Rajah

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Park Road in the Ayer Rajah neighbourhoodPark Road in the Ayer Rajah neighbourhood (17 November, 2010)


Ayer Rajah is the name of a residential neighbourhood adjacent to Pulau Tikus in northwestern George Town. It took its name from Teluk Ayer Rajah, the bay that curves between George Town and Tanjong Tokong. The name is no longer in common usage ever since the main road through that area, Ayer Rajah Road, was renamed Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. Ayer Rajah is a leafy, affluent neighbourhood bordered by Burmah Road to the north, Gottlieb Road to the northwest, Cantonment Road to the east, Macalister Road to the south, and Jalan Utama (Western Road) to the west.

The Ayer Rajah land was originally the property of the Brown and Scott families1, whose names are immortalised on the roads there. Brown Road is one of the main roads the cuts through the neighbourhood. There used to be a plantation here called Ayer Rajah Estate. It in turn was named after the bay called Teluk Ayer Rajah, where the roundabout of Gurney Drive is located today. As with most of the estates run by the early British plantation owners, the workers were brought over from India. As a result, there are a number of Hindu shrines in the Ayer Rajah area, many of which have grown to become full-fledged temples. It is the same case with Brown's estate land in Gelugor. The temples at Ayer Rajah is the centrepoint of the annual Thaipusam celebrations in Penang.

Rose Avenue, Ayer RajahRose Avenue, Ayer Rajah (17 November, 2010)

Public Transport

Ayer Rajah is served by Rapid Penang Bus No. 101, 103 and 104.

Amenities

The nearest school bordering the Ayer Rajah neighbourhood includes the Penang Chinese Girls High School, also known as PCGHS or Peng Hwa, along Gottlieb Road, and Convent Pulau Tikus along Burmah Road. Hospitals in the area includes the Penang Adventist Hospital and Tanjung Medical Centre, both along Burmah Road. The nearest market is Pulau Tikus Market. The nearest shopping malls are Midlands One-Stop and Gurney Plaza.

Traffic

Of the main roads bordering Ayer Rajah, the only one of concern is Gottlieb Road, which becomes a bottleneck in front of PCGHS, due to school buses and parents parking beside the road to drop or fetch the children. The Pulau Tikus-Cantonment and the Gottlieb-Bagan Jermal-Burmah junctions can be quite slow, with traffic backed up 300 meters. Jalan Utama is closed to traffic for a day every year for the Thaipusam festival. Even before the road closure, all the preparations for Thaipusam creates a bottleneck there.

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Footnote

1 March 2010: Raymond Flower in the book The Penang Adventure (page 48, publisher: Marshall Cavendish Editions), states that the Ayer Rajah estate originally belonged to Captain Francis Light.

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