Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Batu Caves

My relatives from abroad always ask me this same question, "Where should we go?" Well there's lots of interesting places that you could go to in KL, Malaysia. For starter's, everyone who comes to Kuala Lumpur, should not leave the city without paying a visit to this place. Where am i talking about?

Batu Caves of course, if you translate this directly into English, it would simply mean, Stone Caves. The caves here are made up of lime stones. 400 meters long and 100 meters high is how huge these caves are. It is said that Batu Caves was first discovered back in 1891. I wonder how anyone at that time would have gone up?? Anyway, it was not until the year 1920 that wooden steps were built for people to make their way to the top. In total there are 272 steps that you would have to take, before reaching the top.

Generally, Batu Caves consist of 3 main caves, and is added with a number of other smaller ones. The main cave here holds the shrine of Lord Subramaniam, a Hindu deity. The other one has been transformed into a cave gallery, located at the foot of the caves, featuring clay figurines and also wall paintings depicting scenes and figures from Hindu mythology.

From here, you could sense that this place is special and sacred for every Hindu. Batu Caves serves as a focul point for the Hindu Community when it comes to their yearly Thaipusam festival, attracting almost 1.5 million people to one place. People from all parts of the world have come here and every time you reach the top, it gives a sense of spirit to all who enter, regardless of your religion.

In Malaysia, Batu Caves is noted to be the most holiest Hindu shrines in the country and it's also one of the most frequented tourist destinations in KL. Did you know that it's also listed in the Guinness Book Of World Record's? "Why?" you ask... Well, after taking 3 years to build, in January 2006, the Worlds Tallest Standing Lord Murugan Statue was unveiled at Batu Caves. It stands at 42.7 metres (140.9 feet). They used 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars, 300 litres of gold paint, among other things to complete this work of art. I also heard that the whole project cost them RM2.5 million.

There are also daily tours conducted by the Malaysia Nature Society, if you fancy having a look into the Dark Caves, but a one day advance notice must be given in order for you to gain entry. Besides this, Rock Climbing which is quite popular amongst the younger generation, has been seen many a times at the surrounding caves.

As you make your way here, remember one thing, there could be loads of mischievous monkeys (if you're unlucky, that is) waiting to greet you at the stairs. They will try to grab at your plastic bags or on anything that seems to have food in them. Trust me, don't ever feed them.

So, get your camera's ready folks (and that flight ticket...) and let your mind go free with calmness, for that truly unique Malaysian experience!

Name : Batu Caves, Sri Subramaniam Temple
Location : 11km north of KL city, along the Gombak District
Tel : 03-6089 6284
Open : 6am - 9pm (Mondays thru Sundays)

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