Paddy Museum

During our trip back to Malaysia this time round, our relatives had planned a few places for us to visit. One of these was the Paddy Museum in Alor Setar, Kedah Malaysia. This museum, as the name suggests, is dedicated to remember the staple food of many cultures – rice. And it is set amidst the multiple paddy fields in this region.

Some may think it boring to visit a museum dedicated to the lowly rice. But if you imagine that it is one of the most consumed food in the world, with over 484.5 million metric tons consumed in the last year (source: www.statista.com), then you will not look down on this tiny little grain.

Paddy Museum
Paddy Museum

As can be seen, the museum is decorated with a paddy design on the exterior. There are multiple different sections to the museum, each showing different things associated with rice.

Paddy Museum buildings
Paddy Museum buildings

Some images of the Paddy Museum in infrared.

Paddy Museum - infrared (650nm)
Paddy Museum – infrared (650nm)
Coconut trees (infrared - 650nm)
Coconut trees (infrared – 650nm)
Coconut tree outside Paddy Museum (infrared - 650nm)
Coconut tree outside Paddy Museum (infrared – 650nm)

Traditionally, the water buffalo was the work force behind all the plowing, with a man guiding it along.

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Water buffalo pulling the plow

Each of these paddy plants requires quite an amount of care from sowing, planting of the seedlings and the harvesting, and that is even before the 11 step process to get to the final product – grains of rice ready for cooking.

Rice paddy
Rice paddy

Just inside the museum is a giant model of the rice grain including the hull which needs to be removed.

Model of the paddy rice
Model of the paddy rice

There is a flight of winding stairs which leads up to a circular room with painting on the wall of the local scenery, which also includes miniature models of the buildings and people. There is a rotating platform with seats, so visitors can be taken through a 360 degree tour of the area. It was a good place to sit and rest and take photos.

Painting and miniature models depicting the Paddy fields in Alor Setar
Painting and miniature models depicting the Paddy fields in Alor Setar

Down in the basement, there are multiple implements used in the harvesting and processing of the paddy to produce rice or rice flour. These have been superceded by heavy machinery, but it is a good collection of such old techniques used to produce rice. My mother-in-law recalls that she has used quite a few of these in her younger years.

Tools used in processing of rice
Tools used in processing of rice

There are a few models of the earth scattered around the museum, each with a collection of countries which produce rice. I am amazed at the number of different varieties of rice out there, each with its own designation, and many being very distinct in their size and shape.

Collection of different rice varieties from around the world
Collection of different rice varieties from around the world

After leaving the Paddy Museum, we passed by the Keriang Mountain, which is famous for its crystals. It was a lovely sight, and hence we stopped next to the road to take photos of it. Certainly it is another attraction worth visiting the next time round.

Keriang Mountain in Kedah
Keriang Mountain in Kedah
Keriang Mountain - famous for its crystals
Keriang Mountain – famous for its crystals
Cave in Keriang Mountain
Cave in Keriang Mountain

With such lovely landscape in view, I had to capture this in infrared as well.

Keriang Mountain - infrared (650nm)
Keriang Mountain – infrared (650nm)
Keriang Mountain - infrared (650nm)
Keriang Mountain – infrared (650nm)
Keriang Mountain - infrared (650nm)
Keriang Mountain – infrared (650nm)

I could not resist crossing the road to take a photo of the paddy field – it reminds me of the fields of rape seed growing in England for its oil (except that these tend to look yellow in colour when close to harvest time).

Paddy field located nearby to the Paddy Museum
Paddy field located nearby to the Paddy Museum
Paddy field - infrared (650nm)
Paddy field – infrared (650nm)

It is very interesting to find out much more about this little grain that has been part of my diet for as long as I can remember. And knowing the amount of work that went into the production of each little grain of rice, helps me to appreciate it much more.

Boon