Located towards the back of the Kota Setar Palace complex is the Balai Besar. Its initial purpose was as a Balai Rong Seri or Balai Penghadapan (audience hall). Built in 1735 by the 19th Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin Muazzam Shah, this was a lovely building with wood pillars, roofs and flooring.

Unfortunately, the building was badly damaged in 1770 when the Bugis armada attacked the place, and ruined even further by the Siamese in 1821.

It was, however, refurbished in 1896 to prepare for the weddings of the reigning Sultan’s children. Besides weddings, the Balai Besar was also used for official ceremonies and other royal events.