Makam Tun Teja or Tun Teja’s Mausoleum is the burial place of Tun Teja Ratna Benggala, the beautiful wife of Melaka’s Sultan Mahmud Shah who reigned from 1458 to 1511.
Her story is one of love and betrayal.
The grave, located in a peaceful location surrounded by rice paddy fields near the town of Merlimau in Melaka, can be accessed via an archway and a long path flanked by tall temple pillar trees.
Tun Teja was the daughter of Seri Amar DiRaja Inderaputra, royal chief minister of Pahang.
She was said to be exceedingly beautiful and had many suitors, including the Sultan of Melaka, Mahmud Shah, who was besotted with her.
Tun Teja was brought up and lived in her own palace under the care of the Mak Inang (head lady-in-waiting) and her team of handmaidens.
The Sultan asked for her hand in marriage but was declined by the Bendahara (the vizier and prime minister of Melaka), probably because he wanted to supply the Sultan with a bride from his own family to enhance his power over the Sultan.
Meanwhile, Hang Tuah, who had fallen out of grace with the Sultan, plotted to bring about the marriage of Tun Teja to the Sultan in order to win back favour.
Hang Tuah charmed the Mak Inang, Dang Ratna, into believing that he was in love with Tun Teja and sought her help to deliver gifts to Tun Teja.
When this failed to win her over, Hang Tuah, again with the help of Dang Ratna, applied some love potion to Tun Teja’s chair.
As a result, she immediately fell for Hang Tuah and agreed to accompany him to Melaka on board his ship.
Once the Raja of Inderapura found out that Tun Teja had been abducted, he sent ships in pursuit, triggering a battle that ensued at Pulau Tinggi.
Hang Tuah came out victorious and continued his voyage to Melaka. There, the Sultan received Tun Teja with full state honours.
Seeing that she had been betrayed by Hang Tuah, Tun Teja eventually agreed to marry the Sultan.
She became a loyal wife and patriot of Melaka and helped kindle the spirit of resistance against the Portuguese.
When Melaka fell to the Portuguese in 1511 the Sultan retreated to Muar and, on the way, Tun Teja became ill and died at this spot.
Opening hours and admission
As the gate to the grave is not locked, entry is free at any time.
Makan Tum Teja
Kampung Tanjong Pinang
This article first appeared in Malaysia Traveller.