|Batu Caves, Malaysia|
I just reminded myself that the 30RM was used for the convenient ride in the train, the speed was fast and very convenient because Batu Caves station was very near to the entrance. I was really surprised on how cheap it could have been given the distance of the place from Central Station. FYI, Batu Caves is the last stop for the Komuter train route.
Batu Caves is one of Malaysia's famoust tourist attractions located at Gombak districk, 8 miles north of Kuala Lumpur. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India and is also known for its large gold statue of Lord Morugan.
The caves is said to be 400 million years old already but was only founded to be a site for Hindu worship in 1890 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai (the same founder of Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur). The place is also the main location of Thaipusam festival in the country that occurs every January or February every year.
|entrance to Batu Caves proper|
We were greeted by a large statue of a green monkey deity upon entering, there was also a small shrine nearby the entrance but it seems that no one goes up there except for Indians. Walking further, we also saw some Indian restaurants that caters to tourists who wanted to take a quick bite before taking the journey to the caves or some refreshments to those who have already been up to the cave and wants replenish their thirst. There were also some stalls that sell souvenirs, clothes, and other snacks.
There were three main points of the area, the first one to catch our attention was the Cave Villa or also known as the Art gallery which is a paid section that showcases Hindu art displays and carvings in the caves that depict tales of the Ramayana and stories of Lord Murugan. We were supposed to go here after going up the Temple Cave but dismissed of the plan as it rained later on.
|entrance to Cave Villa|
After few minutes, we were able to see the most photographed section of the Batu Caves, the grand statue of Lord Murugan. The newly erected statue, unveiled just last 2006, stands 140 feet high and is said to cost 2.5 million Ringgit and took 3 years in construction. I think it is not made of gold, but just with gold paint. :)
|the gigantic statue of Lord Murugan|
|Hindu family who just got down from the cave|
The journey doesn't stop just by having photos of the large statue. We ventured on taking the 272 concrete steps leading up to the Temple Cave. Fortunately for us, we were not able to encounter the famous notorious monkeys in the area.
I haven't been doing much physical activity lately and my last experience of any strenuous climbing was at Sunrise Peak in Jeju, Korea. The climb was manageable, but it would have been nice to see a cable car service especially for those people with a weak heart or rheumatism.
|the "obligatory" self picture at Batu Caves|
|Batu Caves, Malaysia|
|the entrance to the stairs|
|yep, no monkeys :)|
|the view at the top of Batu Caves|
Once you've reached the top, you can now see the entrance to the Main Cave. There's a bench so in case you get breathless, you can rest there for a bit. Walk your way through to the rear cavern that has a natural opening at the top that allows light to sneak in in the rest of the cave area. The distance to the main and rear cavern could take up 5-10 minutes but it was a bit dark and you couldn't really see much of the stone formations there. There are also some bats around the area so expect to step on something...
|Almost there! Yipee! \(^___^)/|
|finally! at the top!|
|rear cavern going to Temple Cave|
There was only a small Hindu shrine in the Temple Cave, which is dedicated to Lord Murugan. The entire place felt very spiritual especially with the light effect of the cave. There were some Indians worshipping on the site but most of the people there were too busy to take pictures. The area felt very touristy to me and I hope the travelers there appreciate the essence of why Batu Caves was established for, and not just by being there for a tourist attraction. The Temple Cave also offers great views of rock formations.
|The Temple of Batu Caves|
|some of the cool rock formations inside Temple Cave|
|Let there be light!|
After half an hour, we finally decided to go down and explore more. We finally saw the last of the three caves which was the Dark Cave. We decided not to go inside as it was starting to rain hard and we were not dressed for spelunking. The tour will also require you to pay a fee but I heard that you'd be able to see nice limestone formations and some of the cave animals such as an arachnid called the Trapdoor Spider that is already an endangered species.
|The Dark Cave|
|people signing up for the tour, protective gears are provided|
It was an awesome experience to be able to go to whole Batu Caves It surely gave a different light on how I see Hinduism as a religion and has opened to more understanding on the Hindu's beliefs and culture. It's also one of a kind what with the elaborate designs of the place and the thought of having a religious site inside a cave! It's one of those places not to be missed when you're around Kuala Lumpur.
|Hagardo Versoza at Batu Caves!|