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Batu Caves

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The epicentre of the annual Thaipusam procession, Batu Caves is famous for the festival, the almost 43-metre tall statue of Lord Murugan and the main cavern behind it—combined they form one of Malaysia’s iconic images.

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The first sight that hits you when you approach the complex is the massive (at 42.7 metres the world’s tallest) statue of Lord Murugan. A son of Shiva, he is known by umpteen names around India, but his worship is most associated with the Tamil people of the deep south. As Tamils make up the bulk of ethnic Indians in Malaysia (and Singapore too) it should come as no surprise that Lord Murugan is particularly important to the local Hindu community.

The statue is enormous. Photo taken in or around Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

The statue is enormous. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Before the statue are 272 steps leading up to main caves of the temple complex. The steps are steep, and can be slippery after rainfall, so it’s best to take them at a reasonable pace. Avoiding the midday sun is probably a wise idea too. After the ordeal by steps, you are faced with the 100-metre high Cathedral or Temple Cave. Quite apart from its natural splendour, the cave has number of Hindu shrines dotted around. After another set of steps is a smaller cave, which is bathed in light from the tree-lined gap in the ceiling above. There are macaques all over the place here—exercise caution.

The terrace by the Dark Cave (see below) offers superb views of central KL, even on a hazy day. It also has a prominent sign, which everyone seems to ignore, requesting that people not feed the monkeys. One of the features of Batu Caves are the cheeky macaques, stuffing a variety of food into their mouths. Don’t get too close, as they have been known to bite the hand that feeds them.

Some huffing and puffing involved. Photo taken in or around Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Some huffing and puffing involved. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Harder to spot, and much less brazen, are the attractive langurs, who also hang round the complex in the hope of a free meal. Hanuman, the monkey God, is one of the most popular Hindu deities, so it’s fair to say these guys are likely to remain part and parcel of the Batu Caves ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,100 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Batu Caves
Batu Caves, 30 minutes by train from Kuala Lumpur
Admission: Free

Location map for Batu Caves

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