The distinctive Batu Caves is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Located around 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur, the impressive temple complex is a must-visit place while you’re in Malaysia. The caves were used as a refuge by the native Temuan or Besisi individuals (a tribe community) in ancient times. One of the biggest Hindu complexes outside India, Batu Caves attracts visitors from all over the world. Batu Caves is famous for its 140 feet tall Murugan statue, the tallest figurine in the world. It is also known as the Sri Subramanian Swamy Temple in Kuala Lumpur.
Here is more on this major Kuala Lumpur sightseeing place.
Batu Caves – Architecture
The oldest limestone mountain hill, Batu Caves has a series of caves and cave temples. The first thing, you will notice when reaching the caves are the stairs with 272 steps, taking people to the caves. Earlier, they used to have grey colours, but now they have been changed into the most colourful sights for visitors. These stairs have all the shades of the rainbow, providing some great backgrounds for photography. Batu Caves feature diverse idols related to mythology. Also, you can get the chance to see bats and long-tailed macaques. Inside the Batu caves, there is an audio tour presented for the tourists. Every year, during Thaipusam, a Hindu festival, the Batu caves attract millions of devotees from all over the world. This eight-hour-long event of music and ceremony leaves offerings in front of the huge statue of Lord Murugan in Batu Caves.
Batu Caves History
The history of this Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur can be traced back to the year 1891. The famous Tamil businessman Sri Thamboosamy Pillai, who built the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur, has also raised this famous Lord Subramanya Swamy Temple in Kuala Lumpur. Mr. Pillai was an Indian trader who was brought up in Singapore and finished studies at the Raffles Institution. In Batu Caves, the statue of Lord Murugan was first opened for public sight in January 2006 in Thaipoosam month. The Thaipoosam is a festival celebrated for Lord Murugan on the full moon day of Tamil month “Thai”. The temple complex has three main caves and some smaller caves. The main and the biggest one is Lord Murugan’s temple cave, having a high ceiling at 400m from the ground level.
Batu Caves Highlights
There are some major caves inside the Batu Caves, including Cave Villa, Dark Cave, Ramayana Cave, and Temple Cave.
The centerpiece at Batu Caves, the Temple Cave, is guarded by an ornate 42.7m tall Lord Murugan statue. The wooden stairs have been replaced by 272 concrete steps. The Temple Cave is known as the most photographed sight of Malaysia. It has two massive caverns connected by 56 steps. The first cavern illustrates the six abodes of Murugan, the Hindu God of War and the son of Shiva. The second cavern depicts Sri Valli Deivanai, the wife of Lord Murugan. The celebration of the pious Thaipusam festival attracts many devotees to this cave.
Located at the end of the steep walls of the mountain, the Ramayana Cave is the most stunningly embellished cave in Batu Caves. It is colourfully lit on the inside, making the cave look more interesting for visitors. Ramayana Cave has beautifully designed statues, narrating the tale of the most loved Hindu scripture – Ramayana. There is a giant statue of Kumbhkaran inside the cave. Also, a 50 Feet tall Hanuman Statue and a dedicated Hanuman Temple are other attractions for devotees here. Climbing the stairs to the temple will take you to naturally occurring Shiv Lingam.
One of the most famous caves in Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, the Dark Cave, is on top of the stairs. Visitors have to pay entry fees to visit this cave. The Dark Cave is home to some rare spiders, insects, and bats however they are not easily noticeable. This cave can be visited with a guide. Known as the wildest of all the caves, Dark Cave is a 6,500-ft underground stretch, having stunning limestone formations. The tour to this cave requires people to be physically fit as some crawling is needed due to some of the cave’s narrower sections.
Situated at the foot of Batu Caves, Cave Villa is also a colourful attraction, having beautiful statues, lights, and paintings that are brilliantly painted. The Cave Villa is an ideal place to learn more about Hinduism. However, a part of Cave Villa also consists of a collection of reptiles and other animals.
Moreover, there is an Art Gallery Cave, situated across an attractive set of bridges. The Art Gallery has many wall paintings and Hindu carvings that describe the story of Lord Murugan and many other Hindu deities. Here, you will have to pay a small fee for entry.
Batu Caves Temple – Opening Hours
The caves are open from 7 am to 8 pm, all through the year. However, most people avoid visiting it during weekends as it can be crowded. Those who want to experience the Thaipusam festival should visit these caves during January and February months.
You can expect a warm and humid atmosphere at the temple complex. So, you should be prepared, especially as you will be climbing steps at Batu Caves. Keep sun protection and a water bottle to stay hydrated.
Things to Do at the Batu Caves
Here are a few things you should do during your visit to Batu Caves and make the most of your time here.
It can be a surprise for many people as rock climbing at religious places is uncommon. However, it is easy to fulfil your wish to experience some adventurous activities during your visit to the Batu Caves Murugan temple. Owing to rough and extensive limestone hills, the area around the caves has become a major spot for rock climbing. Most of the climbing tracks are situated on the northeastern part of the mountain, before the temple’s entrance. However, rock climbing is an activity that you must arrange in advance by seeking help and guidance from local rock climbers.
The region around the Batu Caves is also perfect to enjoy other activities like hiking and adventurous wandering around.
Photography at Cave Staircase
The steep and colourful staircase, situated against the lush greenery and limestone rock, has become a popular spot for photography. In 2018, the stairs were vividly repainted, making the temple complex even more photogenic. Initially built from wood in 1920, the 272 stairs were later changed into concrete stairs to manage heavy foot traffic.
Enjoy Local Food
There are many small and big restaurants and stalls at the entrance of the Batu Caves. Here, you can find a variety of food and drinks at the best prices. So, if you feel hungry while visiting and roaming around the temple complex, get some delicious food at these stalls.
Batu cave is an enthralling place to be visited by both religious and non-religious people alike. It is a place tourists should not miss on their next trip to Malaysia. However, when visiting Batu Caves, you are sure to come across many macaque monkeys. As on every tourist attraction, monkeys are known for their naughty behaviour, it is wise to be careful while you are around them in Batu Caves.