History of Terengganu

Based on stories by His Majesty al-Marhum Sultan Umar (9th Ruler of Terengganu, 1839-1875), before the state got her name, there were a group of hunter from Pahang travelling to Ulu Terengganu for hunting games. When they arrived at Terengganu Mati River, one of them found some kind of animal canine tooth called taring in Malay. One of them asked “What kind of taring is that?” and his friend replied “Taring anu (that taring)” because he couldn’t remember what kind of animal with that kind of tooth. And that’s end like that.

A few days after that, the group hunted a deer and when they took it back to the camp, their friends asked them where they found that deer. They replied near Taring Anu. Some of them found prized gaharu (incense) tree and when asked they just replied Taring Anu. And so the name goes on until it becomes Terengganu.

There were many versions of how Terengganu got her name. One of it based on “Terang-nya-ganu” and “Terangnya-anu” and based on old folklore that people in Kelantan saw a bright light like thunder along with a loud noise and the light was so bright that it illuminated till Kuala Terengganu area. In remembrance of that extraordinary event of nature they called the place “Terang Ganu” and when it become a state they called it Terengganu.

Other version told by Dato’ Kamal Wangsa Jafar bin Mampak goes like this “The villagers of Pulau Duyong near the estuary of Kuala Terengganu found a huge animal tusk smaller than elephant tusk but bigger than any other wild animal tusk. Because of the obscurity of the tusk they presented it to the king. When the king asked them what kind of tusk is that, they simply answered “Taring anu Your Majesty”. Because of that people started to call the river “Taring Anu” river even the people from upstream called the river as “Taring Anu”.

Other story said that an entourage from Kelantan set sail and arrived at Taring Anu estuary. When they arrived at there, rain falls heavily and after it subsided they saw a beautiful rainbow (ular mayang in local or pelangi for Kelantanese). They asked the local what’s the name of the place. The local said “We called this place Ganu” and the Kelantanese replied “Terang sungguh Ganu di sini (This Ganu is so bright)”. When they returned to Kelantan they told the story of the brightness of rainbow in Ganu and so comes the name Terang Ganu.