Temerloh is a developed and organised town. It is located in Central Pahang and is the meeting point between the East Coast and the West Coast of Peninsula Malaysia. It is also well-known as ‘Bandar Ikan Patin’ (patin town) due to the abundance of patin (silver catfish) in this town which is situated near the Pahang River.
Now a little about the history of Temerloh. According to old Malay legend, Temerloh was not only the final destination of Batin Seridun, but it is also the seat from where he ruled the area between Senyum Mountain to the west and Gebuk Hill to the east. Temerloh was chosen by Batin Seridun as the name of one of the districts in the state of Pahang since its inception on 1st July 1889.
According to Batin Seridun legend, once upon a time a prince from Minangkabau, called Sujudbilang, and his brothers left Minangkabau. They sailed to Daik and from there to Pahang. Upon granted permission by the Pahang Bendahara, they cruised along the Pahang River in a wooden boat. After going upstream for some time, their boat arrived at a place called Sentang, Mukim Kertau in the district of Maran. Hearing people on land, the brothers docked and came on land to scout the surroundings.
Unfortunately the arrival of Sujudbilang and his brothers were not welcomed by the natives. As a result, Sujudbilang and his brothers tried to befriend the indigenous people who lived near the river banks. Sujudbilang was said to have told his brothers “Friendliness is the beginning, a source of kindness to attract the heart, and desire”. His brothers understood his meaning.
From then onwards, the brothers would stop wherever they come across a village of the indigenous people. They gave salt and tobacco to the people as a means to befriend them. Eventually they arrived at Batin Seridun’s base. Upon their arrival, they landed, bringing salt and tobacco. This resulted in a solid and strong relationship between Sujudbilang and Batin Seridun. This was apparent in the cooperation and togetherness between them in hunting for food.
At night they slept on the ground covered with dried leaves around the fire while the womenfolk slept separately, away from the men. Among them, only the daughter of the Batin could not sleep unless her pallet was well cushioned.
According to the tale, mereloh meant ‘sleeping’ in the language of the indigenous people. Therefore, the communal sleeping area was called tempat mereloh (sleeping place). Sujudbilang and his brothers shortened it to “Temerloh” as it is shorter and easier to say. This is the origin of Temerloh and the Temerloh River. The relationship between Sujudbilang and Batin Seridun became closer upon the marriage of Sujudbilang and Batin Seridun’s daughter, Bakoi. The marriage also resulted in Batin Seridun and his people converting to Islam. The conversion was conducted by Sujudbilang. This event led to the expansion of Islam in Central Pahang.
On 1st July 1889, J. P. Roger started office as the first British Resident in Pahang. He divided Pahang into six administrative districts – Pekan, Kuala Pahang, Kuantan, Temerloh and Hulu Pahang. This meant the name of Batin Seridun’s place of residence which was under the rule of Sujudbilang was chosen as the name of one of the district in Pahang. At that time the town was called Kuala Semantan. The name was changed to Temerloh when a new town opened to the west of Kuala Semantan in 1898.