The Batu Caves are ornamented by human interventions and a unique confluence of natural wonders. There is a tall golden statue of Murugan at the mouth of these ancient natural caves which existed since thousands of years ago. It seems as if man is competing with God in creation.
These natural caves exist on the limestone hill, known as the Batu Caves, on the border of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While going to these caves, you do not even realize that you have come out of the city. The only sign of the existence of these natural caves is the presence of a hillock with rocks. But, upon reaching near these caves, our vision binds, a giant statue of Murugan colored in golden color. As soon as it is visible, you understand that you have reached your destination. The statue of Murugan standing facing the city has its back towards the caves. Seeing this scene, it is as if they are the keepers of Murugan caves and are also inspecting the city.
Batu Caves Tour – Scenic Places in Kuala Lumpur
Murugan Statue of Batu Caves
An Indian-origin Tamil businessman established the statue of Murugan here as he found the cave to be similar to Murugan’s spear. Since the 19th century the place has become the venue of the annual Thaipusam festival. It is a Tamil festival celebrated around the month of January or February. At the time of this festival, there is a grand procession from the Mahamariamma temple located within the city to this Murugan temple. Even today this practice is going on continuously.
The height of this huge statue of Murugan is 180 feet. It is the tallest Hindu god statue in Malaysia and the third tallest statue in the world. It took three years to make it, for which 15 craftsmen were called from India. It was established at the time of the 2007 Thaipusam festival.
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The face of this cave is almost at the top of the hill. To reach the entrance of the cave, you have to climb 242 steps. These white and red staircases seem very easy from a distance, but climbing them can be a bit difficult for the tourists who are not in good health. Earlier these stairs were different. In 1920, the first wooden steps were made to reach the top of the hill. Over time, they have been converted into concrete stairs.
At the entrance of the cave you will see many shops which are generally similar to typical shops outside a temple. Fantasy pictures of different avatars of flowers, toys and various deities are available in those shops. A colorful archway appears to welcome you at the entrance, before entering the high cave, absorbed in the darkness. As soon as you pass a huge room, some white-red stairs will appear in front of you, which will take you to the temple. The atmosphere inside the cave appears to be extremely devotional. Like any South Indian temple, this cave is also full of visitors. But the regret is that the natural look and feel of the cave disappears somewhere.
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There are two other temples, an art gallery and a museum at the foot of the hill.
Natural Batu Caves
Similar to the Borra Caves in the Araku Valley, the roof of these caves also has a hole through which sunlight comes. As the direction of the sun changes, the scene inside the cave also changes, as if the rays of the sun are making waves with these scenes.
The cave is very moist and drops of water are dripping at many places. It gives an impression that these caves are still alive and are constantly moving towards their transformation and renovation. Only this part of the caves reminds you that these are natural caves whose structure has spent some 400 million years. Most of the stalactite and stalagmite formations at the lower level have been destroyed due to continuous touching and tampering by people. But on the higher parts of the roof of the cave, where human intervention is difficult, you can see these stalactite and stalagmite formations. One can also carefully observe these changes at daily level.
According to known sources, the people of the Temuan tribe were the most ancient inhabitants of these caves. In the 1960s, Chinese workers used to bring fish manure from inside these caves to make their fields fertile. By the 1960s, this cave was reported by an American environmentalist working for the British colonial army powers.
These caves are said to have been named after the Batu Caves, actually the Batu River flowing around it. But I did not see any river nearby. Batu means sila in the Malay language. Hence, the Batu cave can also mean the rock cave. This seems more accurate to me as these caves are naturally formed by lime stones.
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To give a boost to the tourists, there are ample services around the hill, adequate transport facilities, public transport and miscellaneous food items. If you come from India then typical Tamil food is also available for you. If you can have a conversation in Tamil, then you will also get the best behavior of the shopkeepers as a gift and full of smug humor.
If you do not have trouble climbing the stairs, then it can prove to be a great trip outside the city.
If you like adventure, then you can have a detailed and thrilling overview of these dark caves. Or you can also climb the rocks. Many tourists come here to find various flora and fauna located around these caves.
It is very easy to come to these caves from Kuala Lumpur. For this you can use local transport means like metro or bus. You can also come here by hiring a car for your own use. You can also reach here by car as a part of the city tour. These caves are a very popular tourist destination. So you will not have any difficulty in reaching here. You can know the route from here to anyone.
Translation: Madhumita Tamhane