Following the famous pilgrim trail towards the abode of Lord Muruga we headed to Batu caves, Kuala Lumpur. Set up in 1892, as small shrine in the lighted lime stones caves by ardent pilgrims the Batu caves continues to attract flocks of travelers and devotees from all over the world. This massive cave system is located 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur and perfectly accessible by rail or road.
Particularly flocked during the “Thaipusam” celebration, in January, this temples is in full swing with “Kavadis” and extreme body piercing as offerings for the military leader god( Lord Muruga)
Before you approach the main temple there are a series of small waterfalls as attractions, vendors and smaller temples. One which caught our attention was the one with a huge “Hanuman” statue. A temple next to it is dedicated to Lord Anjaneya. As you approach further there is another smaller shrine for Lord Vishnu and Alamelu Manga. There is also a “Ramayana cave” at the lower levels with idols of the gods from the epic and brief dioramas.
Batu caves hosts the tallest Murugan state at its base. Standing 141 feet tall, this statue is done in golden colour and all adornment of the traditional Indian god. The statue is estimated to cost approximately $392,000.
The place is flocked with monkeys which are cheekily on the lookout for bananas and drinks. Some very vigilant and some docile. There are please don’t feed the monkey boards everywhere… But hardly does the macaques or it’s cousins regard it well!!!
Leading up along the sides is a flight of 272 steps leading to the cave system. Yes!!! it is hot and sweaty. Alighting yourself to 100 meters in altitude is indeed difficult, yet, it is a moderate level exercise rate.
The shrine is in the largest cave or the Cathedral cave. Lit by natural sunlight from the tall cave ceiling, the largest cavern space houses a few more shrines inside. There was construction going on inside when we were there.. (I guess, in lieu, of the approaching Thaipusam)
The cavern leads to a further ahead flight of steps and a shrine for Lord Muruga. Continuously ringing with the pious bells of pooja, the limestone cave transforms into Heaven above 272 steps.
The cliffhanger monkeys occupying the green areas where sunlight falls and trees and plants have grown inside. The areas unreachable has a large amount of algal growth. The lower part of these limestone formations has been painted.
800,000 Thaipusam devotees in this cave space along with the traditional chanting and music must be a mystical experience by itself.
On your descend don’t miss to check out the educational tour of Dark Caves on to your right (more details soon on the blog)
How to reach?
The easiest way we felt was to take the KTM train from KL Sentral station. With the last stop ending in Batu caves, follow the crowd towards the immense statue. You cannot miss the path as its quite well marked out with hawkers and ware sellers of all sorts lining on either side
You could take the bus or ride a cab too.
Attire and reminders
- Wear comfortable footwear, with a good grip.
- The temple per say is not wheelchair accessible. But the lower ground and the statue are.
- Since the path primarily leads to a place of worship covering up to your knees or below is considered appropriate for women . You could rent a wrap for rm5 with a refund of rm 2 upon return.
- It will be advisable to carry a small sarong or wrap as this aids at many places in Malaysia.
- For men shorts was being allowed as we witnessed, the board however advice to be modestly dressed below knees too.
- Hydrate well. The days can be quite hot in Malaysia.
- If you have a heart condition or other health-related issues, take necessary precautions.
Travelling with children
Children do find it exciting to climb up… Yet it can be quite exhausting for younger ones.
Strollers are not allowed up the stair path. It can be left at the base with volunteers who are pretty knowledgeable about the rules.
The steps and steep and some parts a bit uneven. So do keep your children near.
The crowd varies based on the season, the festival or weekends. So handle children accordingly.
Hydrate children well as you go along. It can be quite hot.
Batu caves is the most popular temple destination outside India. It’s is a must-see for the magnitude and cave systems even if you are not religiously inclined. Follow up with us for the adventure-filled dark cave tour soon.
While you are here.. Check out some more cave adventure we tried and enjoyed
If you are on a pilgrimage or religious places check these