Still looking majestically creepy but hidden away from the public amidst uphill terrains near town, the dilapidated house is believed to still be the property of the Sultan of Johor. Its past however, has nothing royal about it.
Built by the Sultan for his wife as a symbol of his love (a Taj Mahal in our tiny island perhaps?), the Istana Woodneuk fell to ruins due to two fire incidents. The first fire occurred in 1942 when the palace was being used as a medical facility. The fire killed almost 700 staff and patients. The second fired occurred recently in 2007 without any apparent reason and caused the palace’s iconic blue roof to collapse.
The palace was the Sultan fourth wife Khadija’s favourite home. She loved it ardently and it was one of the most beautiful private house back in those days. Many believe that it is her undying love for the now ruined palace where she hosted royal parties and made many fond memories with her husband, that has been making the place impossible to live in or even revamp. The property now belongs to Singapore Botanical Gardens but there have been no plans to restore the place back to its former glory. Instead its past is silenced and its haunting beauty shunned from the general public. Woodneuk is not marked on the map. If you use Google map, you will find that the entire compound is shown as an empty shrub area with nothing inside.
I truly wonder what secrets do the walls of the Woodneuk Palace conceal, and how many bizarre incidents the blue shards of the fallen roof bury. Isn’t it time someone uncovers the mystery?
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