Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Kinta River and Gunung Cheroh...the beginnings of Ipoh ?

To many Ipoh residents Gunong Cheroh is a huge limestone outcrop next to the Kinta River and in the heart of town where the Thaipusam celebrations are held every year. As with most hills around Ipoh , you will find temples located within them. Viewed from afar the temples located there are tiny in comparison to the size of the outcrop.

This is the Subramaniar Temple

The statues of these deities blend in with the surroundings

But Gunong Cheroh in the 19th century was a landmark on the Kinta River. At a time when there were no roads the only means of communication between Ipoh and the outside world was by way of the Kinta River. The journey to Ipoh would start from Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan ) on the Perak river.

Food and supplies would be loaded at TA for delivery to miners and agents at Ipoh using flat bottomed boats which would be poled upstream. There were 2 principal mining areas then and 2 main landing stages…
1) Gopeng . Its port or landing stage was at Kota Bahru. And
2) Papan. Its landing stage was at Batu Gajah.

The whole journey from TA to Ipoh would take well over a week.

As the river beyond G. Cheroh was too rocky for boats to pass the journey would be completed using elephant or bullock cart.

The return journey would see a load of tin being carried down river for shipment to Penang.
Assuming a boat was reaching towards Gunong Cheroh this is probably the view they would see ie the bare faced limestone cliffs protruding above the river.

Even after Kinta Valley railway joined Ipoh and Teluk Anson in 1895sampans were still used to carry food and merchandise to the town.

As this was the furthest point upriver it naturally evolved for Ipoh to be the distribution point serving the needs of the mining communities around Ipoh and Kinta.

For Ipoh a landing point affirmed by ‘FW Douglas…. was one at Kampong Paloh on the east side of the river ( new town) belonging to the Dato Laxamana’

Below is a heritage map of Ipoh which clearly reflects the growth of Ipoh around the banks of the Kinta River be it temples and mosques, banks , association houses or places of entertainment

This Heritage map of Ipoh Town was published by the Perak State Govt.

ref marker #’s

34) The Straits Trading Company warehouse. It was a collection center for tin ore.


12) The Mercantile Bank
13) The Chartered Bank
17) The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation.

Places of worship
42) Guan Yin Temple
54) Paloh Khoo Miu
64) Masjid Dato Panglima Kinta


31) Tat Loo Club & Perak Chinese Mining Association.
46) Han Chin Pet Soo – the Hakka tin miners clubhouse.
71) Chinese Association Buildings


16) Dramatist Hostel.The Theatre used to be next to it.
28) Panglima Lane better known as 2nd Concubine Lane.Panglima Street runs parallel to this lane.
47) Lam Looking Bazaar and Celestial Cabaret.

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