Starter: Batu Caves

Kicking of my travel year 2012 is a visit to a natural religious shrine a few kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur. Batu Caves.

According to Wikipedia:

Batu Caves (Tamil: பத்து மலை), is a limestone hill, which has a series of caves and cave temples, located in Gombak district, 13 kilometres (8 mi) north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows past the hill. Batu Caves is also the name of the nearby village.

The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.

We took the KTM train from KL Sentral.

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With 7 stops and after 20-minute travel, we reached KTM’s Batu Caves Station. A huge religious statue and a temple welcome the visitors taking the KTM right after getting off the station.

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From the temple, we braved the heat of the afternoon sun to walk towards the caves’ entrance. Walking through the brick roads, you’ll get a taste of Hindu designs, architecture, and landscaping.

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Indian stores selling souvenirs, drinks, and food such as Indian sweets can also be found along the sides of the bricked walkway. These help in case one wants to “gas up” before climbing the 252 step stairway up the mouth of the caves. Beside this stairway, welcoming pilgrims and visitors alike, is the giant and golden Murugan statue.

During our visit today, the statue is being prepared for the Thaipusam later this month, hence, there are some structures at the lower part of the statue.

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Inside the caves, there are a number of statues representing some Hindu Gods and temples, where devotees are religiously chanting or praying.

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Interestingly, when the Hindu devotees started chanting and ringing the bells in the two temples inside the caves, wild monkeys started climbing down from the daylight hole. They started looking for food from the garbage cans and then eventually went to some of the surrounding people watching them in amazement to ask for food. Some even started grabbing plastic bags held by some visitors.

These are wild monkeys but they somehow act like humans in some ways. I think they are able to co-inhabit with people in these caves. I’m not sure if they are considered sacred but one knows how to open and drink a bottle of milk.

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On our way back to the KTM station, the huge green statue that greeted us on arrival is now bidding as farewell like wishing us “selamat jalan”.

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This half-day trip is an interesting commencement of another year of travel opportunities. A mixture of cross-cultural and ecological exeperiences quite provide an appetizing starter.

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~ by webbedwhispers on January 2, 2012.

One Response to “Starter: Batu Caves”

  1. […] visited this place with another set of friends beginning of this year (see previous post here). The place deserves a second look for further […]

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