Gelugor includes the terminus of the Penang Bridge and Universiti Sains Malaysia (Penang Island's only public university), as well as the Gelugor River (Sungai Gelugor in Malay) and the Gelugor Hill (Bukit Gelugor in Malay).
The Gelugor roundabout had marked the furthest extent of George Town until the 1960s; it was said to be where Gelugor was first developed. Since then, residential development has turned the former agricultural estate into a suburb of George Town.
Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, formerly Gelugor Road, is the main road in Gelugor.
Gelugor was named after the asam gelugur tree, aka Garcinia atroviridis. This rainforest tree is native to the Malay Peninsula. In the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia such as Penang, this species, in particular, has been cultivated for its fruits, which contain many medicinal properties. Solar-dried slices of the fruits, locally known as asam keping, have very sour tastes and are used in vegetable salad, soups and curries, while the ripe ones are normally pickled in sugar.
The Gelugor River had been populated by Malay fishermen, who established villages along the river. They were among the earliest inhabitants of Penang Island.
A Scotsman who soon became Penang Island's largest landowner, David Brown, first cleared the land on which Gelugor stands today. Initially, Gelugor was planned for agricultural purposes, specifically for coconut, nutmeg and clove plantations, as well as cow herding. Indian workers were brought in to work in the estates. The Brown family had also opened a plantation house named the Glugor House; this house would later be converted into the Minden Barracks.
In 1939, the British Army opened the Minden Barracks. Abandoned in haste just before the Japanese occupation of Penang during World War II, it briefly served as a Japanese army barracks. After World War II, the barracks housed British and Australian soldiers fighting against communist guerillas in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency. The Minden Barracks was sold to the Malayan federal government in 1957 for M$1 (Malayan and British Borneo dollar), but it continued to host Commonwealth troops until its decommissioning in 1971.
In 1959, the first mayor of George Town, D.S. Ramanathan, had proposed the idea of a Penang university. Initially known as the University of Penang, Universiti Sains Malaysia (University of Science, Malaysia) moved into its present main campus at the former Minden barracks in 1971. USM is now one of the premier Malaysian public universities.Gelugor was gradually developed from a rural agricultural area into a suburb of George Town throughout the 20th. century. Since the 1960s, residential estates were built for civil servants working in the government, such as on Gelugor Hill and Hilir Pemancar. Wealthier residential areas like the Minden Heights were also developed. In the 1980s, the construction of the Penang Bridge further spurred suburban development in Gelugor. To this day, suburban development of Gelugor is still ongoing, in the form of the Ghee Hiang Gardens, the MetroEast-Udini and the Light Waterfront to the north of the Penang Bridge.
Continuing development has pushed animal husbandry into the brink of extinction by 2009, when the last ethnic Indian village, Kampung Buah Pala was demolished after the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition had silently sold their land to a developer a few years earlier.
The first Tesco hypermarket on Penang Island was launched in Gelugor in 2004, with another Tesco hypermarket being opened later to the south of USM. Two more commercial retail malls were also opened within the up-and-coming suburb, namely the e-Gate and more recently, the Udini Square. Meanwhile, a private developer, IJM Land Berhad, has opened cycling and jogging tracks along the Light Waterfront.
Ethnic Indians were brought into Gelugor during the British colonial era to work in the agricultural estates. The Indians, who also herd cattle for living, established a number of Indian settlements in Gelugor. To this day, one can see several Hindu temples in Gelugor, a strong reminder of Gelugor's Indian influences. The temples are listed as follows.
- Shree Kumbamuneeshwarar Thirukovil Temple
- Sri Krishna Bagawan Alagam Temple
- Sri Muneeshwarar Temple
- Sri Veerama Kaliamman Devasthanam
- Sri Ragunatha Swami Madalayam
- Sri Poomarathammal Temple
The Malays who established villages along the Gelugor River also built Masjid Jamek Sungai Gelugor and Masjid Jamek Batu Uban, which are among the earliest mosques on Penang Island.
MetroEast-Udini area is the retail hotspot of Gelugor. Three commercial retail complexes are situated just metres apart from one another within this area.
- Tesco Gelugor, launched in 2004, was the first Tesco hypermarket on Penang Island.
- e-Gate, along the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu expressway, specialises in computer hardware and also contains food outlets.
- Udini Square offers sports apparel and equipment, as well as other hardware. Opened in 2015, It is one of the latest additions to Penang Island's retail scene.
In addition, a separate Tesco Extra hypermarket is also available just south of Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), one of Malaysia's premier public universities, is located at the former Minden Barracks. It was the brainchild of the first Mayor of George Town, D.S. Ramanathan, who conceived the idea of a Penang university in 1959.
The Penang state government sanctioned a resolution to establish a university on Penang Island in 1962. The first Malaysian prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, laid the foundation stone at its initial location in Sungai Ara in 1967. At first, the university was named the University of Penang (Universiti Pulau Pinang in Malay).
After the Minden Barracks was evacuated in 1971, USM moved into the decommissioned barracks, as the Sungai Ara site was not suitable for further expansion of the university. The main campus of USM has remained here ever since.
As of 2015, USM is ranked 289th. in the QS World University Rankings, the second best-performing Malaysian university after Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.
The Gelugor power station is the most important power station on Penang Island, generating half (300MW) of the island city's power supply. It commenced operations in 2003.
The Volunteer Reserve Unit of the Royal Malaysian Navy (Pasukan Simpanan Sukarela Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia) maintains a headquarters in Gelugor. Named KD Sri Pinang, this reserve unit draws its recruits from the public and acts as the second line of defence for the nation.
The honorary consul of Austria, Shaik Mohd Hussain bin Abdul Aziz, resides here. The contact details are as follows.
Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Austria
19, Halaman Bukit Gambir 2
Telephone : +60-4 656 8525
Fax : +60-4 659 8525
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting to Gelugor
Formerly known as Gelugor Road, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah was named after the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah, when, as the ninth King of Malaysia, he visited Penang Island. The road acts as the main thoroughfare in Gelugor.
Gelugor's strategic location is due to the fact that Gelugor is not only where the terminus of the Penang Bridge is situated, but is also located roughly midway between the Penang International Airport and the George Town city centre. Sungai Nibong express bus terminal, to the south of Gelugor, is also in its vicinity.
From the centre of George Town, Rapid Penang buses 102, 206, 301, 302, 303, 304 and 401 pass through Gelugor.
Those from the Bukit Jambul Complex can take buses 301, 302, 303 and 304 to Gelugor, while those from Bayan Baru can take buses 302, 303 and 304.
Meanwhile, buses 102 and 401 will take you from the Sungai Nibong bus terminal to Gelugor.
The Relau to Gelugor route is serviced by route 301.
102 : Penang International Airport - Sungai Nibong express bus terminal - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Batu Uban - Gelugor - Green Lane - KOMTAR - Kelawai Road, Pulau Tikus - Tanjung Tokong Road - Tanjung Bungah Road - Batu Ferringhi - Teluk Bahang
206 : Weld Quay - KOMTAR - Dato' Keramat Road - Patani Road - Jalan Sungai Pinang - Jalan P. Ramlee - Green Lane - Yap Chor Ee Road, Gelugor - Jalan Hilir Pemancar, Gelugor - Gelugor roundabout - Tesco Gelugor, e-Gate and Udini Square
303 : Weld Quay - KOMTAR - Jelutong - Jalan Gelugor - Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Gelugor - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Sungai Dua entrance - Sungai Nibong express bus terminal - Bukit Jambul Complex - SPICE Arena - Sunshine Square Bayan Baru
304 : Gurney Drive - Bagan Jermal Road, Pulau Tikus - Burmah Road, Pulau Tikus - Codrington Avenue, Pulau Tikus - Cantonment Road, Pulau Tikus - Macalister Road - KOMTAR - Green Lane - Gelugor - Sungai Nibong express bus terminal - Queensbay Mall - Bukit Jambul Complex - SPICE Arena - Sunshine Square Bayan Baru
13 : Paya Terubong - Farlim - Lebuhraya Thean Teik, Farlim - All Season's Place, Farlim - Batu Lanchang Lane - Green Lane - Lebuhraya Batu Lanchang - Batu Lanchang market - Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim, Batu Lanchang - Jelutong market - Tesco Gelugor, e-Gate and Udini Square
Penang State Government
N.31 Batu Lanchang State Assemblyman : Law Heng Kiang (Democratic Action Party)
N.32 Seri Delima State Assemblyman : R. Nethaji Rayer (Democratic Action Party)
N.35 Batu Uban State Assemblyman : Jayabalan A. Thambyappa (People's Justice Party)
Malaysian Federal Parliament
P.051 Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament : Ramkarpal Singh a/l Karpal Singh (Democratic Action Party)