Discover with Timothy Tye
Dato Koyah Shrine (Makam Dato Koyah)

Start here

Makam Dato Koyah, PenangMakam Dato Koyah, Penang (9 June, 2018)

Dato Koyah Shrine (GPS: 5.42049, 100.33058), also called Makam Dato Koyah or Keramat Dato Koyah, is a shrine to a Muslim saint along Transfer Road in George Town, Penang. Dato Koyah, sometimes also written as Datuk Koya, is the popular name for Syed Mustapha Idris. He arrived in Penang from the Malabar coast in southern India (in present-day Karnataka and Kerala), where he was a mendicant, wandering from place to place, teaching, healing the sick, until one day, an incident happened that forced him to flee. Accused of a murder he did not commit, he had to leave the Malabar coast. Dato Koyah arrived in Penang some time in the early 19th century.

In Penang, Dato Koyah settled down under a tree at the site where his shrine stands today. At that time, Jalan Transfer was not yet built. Instead, a canal extends from North Beach - the coast where Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah is today - right down to where it meets the Prangin Canal, where Masjid Titi Papan is today.

Dato Koyah became a laborer to earn a lifelihood, but to the Malayalee and Tamil Muslim community, he was respected as a spiritual leader and teacher. There are legends about him that he could do miracles, including feeding the masses from the porridge of just a small pot, of producing candies for children seemingly out of thin air, and on one occasion, of getting out of a locked jail. It happened when Dato Koyah was arrested along with the fellow labourers for demonstrating against the beatings inflicted by their British superiors. Somehow, he managed to walk out of the jail very next day. Not only that, while the workers were incarcerated, the road work that they were to do had been miraculously completed.

Eventually Dato Koyah won the respect of the British authorities. When he passed away, he was buried and Keramat Dato Koyah was erected by his followers. It stands on the spot where he lived under the tree. The British honored him by naming Jalan Dato Koyah after him. That road leads from Lebuh Clarke, behind Keramat Dato Koyah right down to Penang Road. A Malabari settlement once existed in this area, from the shrine, along Jalan Dato Koyah, and continued across Penang Road into Kampung Malabar.

Followers of Dato Koyah would observe his feast day, which falls on the 5th day of the second Muslim month, Safar, at which time alms were distributed to the poor. On normal days, devotees - mostly Tamil Muslims - would visit the shrine, especially on Thursday nights. They place flowers on his grave, burn incense, and ask for favors.

The architecture of the Dato Koyah Shrine reflects south Indian architecture. It is similar to other Indian Muslim shrines in the region, particularly the Nagore Shrine along Chulia Street and the Nagore Shrine in Singapore.

When the Dato Koyah Shrine was built, there was a wide drain or channel, known as Bounds Ditch running parallel to presently Transfer Road. According to the Mcarthy map of 18071

Galeri Makam Dato Koyah

Makam Dato Koyah underwent a restoration in a Think City project, in collaboration with the Penang State Government, Persaturan Warisan Dato Koyah and George Town World Heritage Incorporated. After the restoration was done, a viewing gallery is open to the public daily from 9:00am to 1:00pm everyday except Thursday, when it is open until 9:00pm.

Getting there

Keramat Dato Koyah is located at Transfer Road. If you are coming from the Weld Quay Ferry & Bus Terminal, it is best to alight the bus at Penang Road and then walk to the shrine. Rapid Penang Bus 10, 11, 103, 101, 104, 201, 202, 203 and 204 pass through Penang Road. These buses will pass by Jalan Transfer on their way back to Weld Quay Ferry & Bus Terminal.

Dato Koyah Shrine in 2012 (30 August 2012)

Dato Koyah Shrine under restorationDato Koyah Shrine under restoration (25 November, 2017)

The grave of Dato Koyah (30 August, 2012)

Keramat Dato Koyah in 2006 (28 May 2006)

Keramat Dato Koyah (28 May 2006)

View of Keramat Dato Koyah along Jalan Transfer (28 May 2006)

Dato Koyah Shrine on Google Street View

Location of the Dato Koyah Shrine on the map

Makam Dato Koyah is on the map of Transfer Road


List of Mausoleums in Penang and Mausoleums in Malaysia

Add your shop/business to this website

The Penang Travel Tips website is a huge website that documents everything in Penang. On top of the hundreds of streets and tourist attractions, I also add in hundreds of shops and businesses.

If you operate a shop business in Penang, or anywhere in Malaysia or Singapore, contact me to add your business/shop into my website. It only a one-time fee, and your shop/business will be listed by location and category, helping your would-be customers find you. To find out more, CONTACT ME

Visiting Penang? Find the lowest hotel room rates here!

Use our search engine to compare room rates from different hotel booking websites, to find the one that's lowest.

Travelling somewhere?

If you're travelling somewhere, use our online engine to find the online booking site that offers you the best room rates.

Book your hotel room here

If you're coming to Penang, book your hotel room online with Agoda. Agoda offers the best prices on 2,000,000+ properties worldwide. Start here.

Local Guided Tours of Penang

If you are coming to Penang and need someone to show you around, I can arrange for you a licensed tour guide to take you around. Guides charge a fixed fee of RM360 for taking a small group of up to 10 people on 4-hour walking tours. Walking tours exceeding 4 hours is charged an additional RM90 per hour. Tours are tailored to guest requirement. For more details, contact tour coordinator. Other types of tours also available. For details, click here.

Looking for a book? Get it from Book Depository with free delivery worldwide!

I have just discovered Book Depository, a subsidiary of, and I love it. This is where you can buy books and have them sent to you. But unlike Amazon, when you purchase using Book Depository, you enjoy free delivery worldwide. Give it a try today!

 Latest Pages on my websites

Here's a list of the latest pages I have added or updated on my website.

My YouTube Videos

Timothy Tye YouTube Channel

Check out my YouTube Channel and don't forget to subscribe!

Take the CAT Free Feeder Bus

What's the best way to see Penang on a budget? Take the bus! In Penang, there are at least 12 absolutely FREE bus routes which cover almost every major neighbourhood on Penang Island and Penang Mainland. All you need to do is hop aboard!


 List of 797 Streets in Penang

 Vital Links

Book Your Express Bus Ticket | Hire a car | Our Recipes | Facebook Posts | Just Curious | Not In The Dictionary | Our Flowering Garden

 List of 3623 Sights in Penang

 Vital Links

Book Your Express Bus Ticket | Engage a Tour Guide for Penang | What's Up at Penang Hotels | Hire a car | Facebook Posts | Our Recipes | Our Flowering Garden | Guide Book on Penang Durians

 Discover the World

About Me

Thank you for visiting my website. I started it in 2003, and today it has over twenty thousand pages of information. My name is . I would be very pleased if you enjoy the information I have put together.

As a Christian, I hope that through this website, I am able to deliver God's message to all who need it, anywhere in the world. If you are open to hearing it, please read God's Good News to You.

If you wish to contact me, please use this contact form. And don't forget to follow me on Facebook. See you!

Copyright © 2003-2019 Timothy Tye. All Rights Reserved.