Batu Caves ~ Places to Visit in Kuala Lumpur
KL Visitors Guide


Batu Caves is located 13 kilometres (8 mi) north of Kuala Lumpur. The cave Temple built within a limestone hill, is one of the most popular
Hindu shrines outside of India.

Dedicated to the deity Lord Murugan, whose giant statue adorns the site, it has grown to become an important devotional site and a sacred place for the Hindu's and the focal point of yearly Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.

The limestone Hill is said to be around 400 million years old and its caves were used as shelters by the by early aboriginal people.

Taking its name from the Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows past the hill, Batu Caves is said to have been discovered by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader in the 1800s.

Inspired by the 'vel'-shaped entrance of the main cave, Thamboosamy Pillai dedicated a temple within the Main Cave to Lord Muruga in 1890. Pillai, also founded the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur.

Thus since 1892, the Thaipusam festival in the Tamil month of Thai (which falls in late January/early February) has been celebrated there.

Rising almost 100 m above the ground, the Batu Caves temple complex consists of a main cave and a few smaller ones.

The biggest, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, is about 400 meters long and 100 meter high, features the main Hindu shrines. Wooden steps up to the Temple Cave were built in 1920 and have since been replaced by 272 concrete steps which visitors climb to access the temple.

Visitors on reaching the cave area, will be awed by the sight of the 42.7m high gold coloured statue of Lord Murugan. Having taken 3 years to construct with the help of 15 Indian sculptors and at a cost of RM 2.5 million, it took 250 tonnes of steel, 1,550 cubic metres of concrete and 300 Litres of gold paint.

Unveiled in January 2006, it is the tallest Lord Muruga statue in the world and second tallest Hindu god statue in the world.

A little below the Temple Cave is the Dark Cave, noted for its rock formations and a number of caves creatures said to be found nowhere else. It is a two-kilometer network of relatively untouched caverns.
Stalactites jutting from the cave's ceiling and stalagmites rising from the floor form intricate formations such as cave curtains, flow stones, cave pearls and scallops which took thousands of years to form. In order to maintain the cave's ecology, access is restricted. The Malaysian Nature Society however does organise regular educational and adventure trips to the Dark Caves.

At the base of the hill are two more cave temples, Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave, both of which are full of Hindu statues and paintings. Many of the shrines relate the story of Lord Murugan's victory over the demon 'Soorapadam'.

The Ramayana Cave is situated to the extreme left as one faces the sheer wall of the hill. On the way to the Ramayana Cave, there is a 50-foot (15 m) tall statue of Hanuman and a temple dedicated to Hanuman, the noble monkey devotee and aide of Lord Rama.

The site is also well known for its numerous macaque monkeys, mostly craving to be fed. These monkeys may also pose a biting hazard and tourists (especially small children) are advised to be cautious. There are also numerous pigeons here. Tourists can buy feed from nearby vendors.

The site serves as the focus of the Hindu community's yearly Thaipusam Festival which attracts more than 1.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the largest religious gathering in the country for not only Malaysian Hindus, but Hindus worldwide from countries such as India, Australia and Singapore.

The three-day Thaipusam festival which falls in late January/early February, begins with a chariot procession in the early hours of the morning from Sri Mahamariaman Temple, at Jalan Tun H.S. Lee in Chinatown located within the city, and ending at Batu Caves.

Here devotees, after bathing in the nearby Sungei Batu (Rocky River), go into trance and have the kavadis (a wooden arch with two pots of or honey at its end, decorated with peacock feathers) placed on their shoulders. Others have their bodies pierced.

They then walk from the river to the temple grounds and climb up the steps and make their way to the shrine at the Temple Cave.

Devotees carry offerings and kavadis to seek forgiveness for past deeds or to thank Lord Muruga for wishes granted.

These forms of offerings are overshadowed by more elaborate ones with huge metal frames and bedecked with decorations in the belief that the larger the kavadi the more resolute is one’s devotion.

Skewers protruding through cheeks and metal hooks and spikes are also to be seen. Many however bear a simple pot of milk up to the shrine. It is not uncommon to see to even see Chinese and others taking kavadis.

At the shrine, they lay down their kavadi and the milk or honey, where these offerings are then poured on the statue of the deity as an act of thanksgiving. Those with hooks and skewers have a priest chant over them as the metal implements are removed and the wounds treated with Consecrated ash. No blood is shed during the piercing and removal.

Rock Climbing -
Batu Caves is also the the main region for Rock Climbing around Kuala Lumpur, offering 8 crags and a total of about 170 routes. The routes are scattered all around the side of Batu Caves, which is made up of limestone hills rising to 150 m. These climbing routes are easily accessed as most crags start from ground level.

Best Way to Visit - Batu Caves / Royal Pewter & Suburbs Tour
A Half day private tour to the suburbs with a visit to the Royal Selangor Pewter factory and the the famous Batu Caves.



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