This post is part of the series Malaysia
Other posts in this series:
- Top 15 Reasons on Why You Should Visit Malaysia!
- The Best Places To Visit In Kuala Lumpur ~ Malaysia
- Batu Caves, The Stairway to Hindu Heaven ~ Malaysia (Current)
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is a famous spot for very good food and great shopping experience. Beside this fact, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India is located just 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur and less than a 30 min drive from Petronas Twin Tower – the Batu Caves! The temple complex became one of the most visited tourist and Hindu attractions in South-East Asia during the last couple of years. It is located at Gombak district and is best known for its large gold statue dedicated to Lord Murugan. Nowadays the Batu Caves is a favoured pilgrimage destination not only for Malaysian Hindus but also for Hindus from all over the World!
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Visiting the Batu Caves was an awesome experience for me, having in mind my almost missing background knowledge of Hinduisms. The daily trip to this Holy place provided a different light on my understanding of the Hinduism as a whole. My curiosity has inspired me to read more about it and has opened a new perception of this culture and its beliefs.
Getting to Batu Caves
Batu Caves are absolutely easy to reach! Take the KTM Kumuter Train from the main Station Bukit Bintang – it will cost you 2 RM for a one-way journey and approximately 30 min ride. Another option is to take a taxi/Uber/Grab car for about RM 25 (one-way). But taking a taxi back to KL could be much trickier as it will cost more than 40 RM… Therefore I would recommend you to travel by the KTM Komuter – a very modern and air-conditioned ride for less than 0,50 €!
The Batu Caves
The Batu Caves is a Hindu complex of three main caves and a few smaller ones, which are located on a 400 million-year-old limestone hill. The main caves are the Temple Cave, the Dark Cave and the Art Gallery Cave. Inside all the caves you’ll be able to see various Hindu shrines and statues. The most prominent of all is the 43 m tall statue of Lord Murugan (the Hindu God of war), who is proudly “protecting” the whole complex. Many of the shrines inside the cave are also related to the story of Lord Murugan’s victory over the demon Soorapadam.
The Statue of Lord Murug
The Statue of Lord Murugan was a great art project as it took more than 3 years to be completely built-up. The project cost more than 24 million Rupees invested in all 1550 cubic meters of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint! An interesting fact is that all material was brought from Thailand. This one is the tallest Murugan’s statue in the World and serves as one of the most famous motives for travel photos in Malaysia!
In order to reach the complex, which is located deep inside a limestone mountain, you’ll have to climb the steep flight of 272 steps. The Holy steps are patrolled by an army of countless number macaque monkeys and their babies! The monkeys are a fun thing to see and make a photo of as they weren’t afraid of the tourists at all! But keep your belongings close to you – the monkeys are very keen on stealing, especially when it comes to smartphones, plastic bags and sparkling things! And monkey’s bites can be pretty serious … Therefore, consider not playing or being too close to them.
Once we have reached the top of the stairs we saw the entrance to the Main Cave. The view over Kuala Lumpur is gorgeous too! On a sunny day, you’ll be even able to see the Petronas Twin Towers too! As we enter the main cave we were welcomed by the intense smell of the joss sticks which were filling the air. There was a festive stage where all the pilgrims were able to witness a religious ceremony. During the Thaipusam (a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community) the Batu Caves are crammed with worshippers from all over the World!
The entire cave area felt very spiritual to me! Inside the cave, it was actually very quiet, as we could only hear the monkeys and the Indian music coming from the ceremonial stage. There are several places where you can put your gifts for the Gods – the favourite area of all monkeys too, as they are the real Gods here. There were also some bats inside and outside the cave, so be careful with them too …
The Dark Cave
There is much more to explore in the Batu Caves. One of the three main caves is the Dark Cave which is a home to a number of animals who can be found nowhere else, but here. The Dark Cave is a 2 km long network of untouched caverns full with cave curtains, flowstones, cave pearls and cave scallops. You can visit the cave only via guided tours. We decided not to go inside the Dark Cave after I saw some animal taxidermy in jars with many different kinds of snakes and insects inside, which were even bigger than the bats from the main cave. I cannot stand any snakes so it was a pretty quick decision to take. But if you have no problem with these creatures I would definitely recommend you to make the guided tour!
Continue reading this series:
A Quick Guide to the Cameron Highlands ~ Malaysia