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Batu Caves

Photo credit: Luke,Ma / Foter / CC BY
Batu Caves
  • (worth a detour)
  • NA
  • Easy
  • Free
  • 2 hours
  • 2 2

One of Kuala Lumpur's top tourist attractions is the Hindu temple complex known as the Batu Caves

It is not recommended to eat food openly when visiting the caves, as wily monkeys may try to make a grab for it. There are nearby stalls selling Indian snacks and a line of vegetarian Indian street cafes offering meals on banana leaves.
The main cave does not accommodate strollers or disabled visitors. There is no elevator and the only way up is via the steep staircase. Also please note that there are usually monkeys lining the staircase and walking around the main temple complex, so please be aware and keep your distance. On my last visit, however, there were no monkeys on the hill, only a few milling around the entrance to the Ramayana cave and the Hanuman statue area.
Entrance to the main caves is free. There is a fee for entering an area called the Dark Cave (which I have never seen open) as well as for the Cave Villa that showcases Hindu artwork and sculpture.

The most holy site for Hindus in Malaysia is located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan, one of the chief gods in the Tamil Hindu pantheon, and it is his towering statue that greets visitors as they arrive. The cave itself is carved into the side of an ancient limestone hill and thus requires some foot power, 272 steps, to be precise, to get to the top and walk into the temple complex. Back on ground level, there are two minor caves to the left of the stairs housing Hindu art and further to the left, a sizeable temple dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman.

 

On any given day, you will encounter families, pilgrims, and camera-wielding tourists making their ascent up the steep steps to the main temple area. The temple platforms themselves are off-limits to non-believers, but you will often be able to observe a ceremony or blessing taking place in the open air building.

 

The annual Thaipusam holiday in January draws the biggest crowds of the year to the Batu Caves. Tamil Hindus, which make up the majority of the Indian Malaysian population, are the main ethnic group to celebrate this devotional day to Murugan. A 15 km procession through the city culminates when worshippers, carrying milk jugs or other weighty decorated objects designed to be burdensome, some with spikes piercing their faces, arrive at Batu Caves and make the climb to the top.

How to get there

The KTM Komuter train has a Batu Caves stop. The train can be caught at the KL Sentral train station.

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