Mahsuri’s Tomb is the crypt of the legendary Princess Mahsuri. Located in the village of Mawat, 12km from Kuah, it is also known as Makam Mahsuri. Most of the island’s natural attractions have fables attached in true Malay style and Mahsuri’s Tomb is probably its most famous legend.
The story begins with the beautiful Mahsuri, a maiden (or princess by some accounts) born over 200 years ago, who married the love of her life during a time of conflict with the Siamese. Her husband went off to fight in the war and her mother-in-law, jealous of her beauty, vengefully accused Mahsuri of adultery.
Mahsuri protested her innocence but the village elders tried the young girl, found her guilty and sentenced her to death by stabbing. She was tied to a stake but when she was pierced with the ceremonial dagger she bled white blood, a sign of her innocence.
With her dying breath, Mahsuri cursed the island with seven generations of bad luck. Later the Siamese conquered Kedah and invaded the island – the inhabitants of Langkawi set fire to their staple crop and poisoned their wells in order to halt the advance of the invaders. Legend has it to this day traces of burnt rice can be seen in nearby Padang Matsirat (The Field of Burnt Rice) especially after torrential downpours.
The legend of Mahsuri supposedly accounts for Langkawi’s relatively ‘newfound’ success and judging by its increasing prosperity, the island has survived the curse. Mahsuri’s Tomb (the site where Mahsuri died) was converted into a historical site: it includes Mahsuri’s shrine, a fenced-in white slab of marble that stands alone in a shady garden. Besides that, there is a reconstruction of a traditional Malay house, a theatre and a ‘diorama museum’ which houses some of Mahsuri’s jewellery and the weapon that killed her. There are also a few food outlets at Mahsuri’s Tomb and a well that is said to bless those who dip their hands into it with beauty.
A signpost about 10km from town directs you to Makam Mahsuri. About 17km from Langkawi International Airport, Makam Mahsuri can be reached in less than 20 minutes; heading east. The complex is accessible via the Padang Matsirat Road. Once you pass the Tok Senik Resort on your left, there will the junction to Makam Mahsuri Road – turn right and follow the road and you’ll easily be able to find the mausoleum. There are signposts in English and Malay to guide you.