Malaysia’s Batu Caves make up one of the most popular Hindu sites outside of India. Located in the state of Selangor, they are easy to reach on a day trip from the country’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur. There are many statues and shrines inside the limestone caves, and the complex is named after the nearby Batu River.
One of Malaysia’s four sacred spots dedicated to the Hindu Lord Murugan, here’s what you can expect from a visit to the revered Batu Caves:
A tall and dazzling statue of Lord Murugan
A large statue of Lord Murugan, a Hindu god, stands proudly at the bottom of the steps that lead up to the main cave. Also known as Kartikeya, Lord Murugan is the Hindu God of War. He is also sometimes referred to as the God of the Tamils.
Standing at just over 42 metres (140 feet) tall, it is the tallest statue of Lord Murugan in the world. A striking sight, you can see the large and looming statue as you approach the Batu Caves.
Holding a staff, adorned with an ornate headdress, grand medallions hanging around his neck, and painted all in gold, the statue reflects the sun’s rays quite magically.
Cheeky macaques begging for food
The complex is home to a large troop of long-tailed macaques who are certainly not backwards in coming forwards! The monkeys sit at the edges of the steps that lead to the main cave, as well as at ground level and within some of the caves.
Several vendors sell peanuts, fruit, and other snacks that you can feed to the monkeys. Be warned though – once you feed one, many more will appear! They snatch and grab for food and drinks, even that which is not being offered to them. Keep any water bottles tucked away in your bag out of sight!
Large Temple Cave with interesting statues
A total of 272 steps lead up the main cave, known as the Temple Cave or Cathedral Cave. Every other step once bore a number, showing how many steps you had climbed. Much of the paint has now worn away in places, though you will still find some steps with legible numbers painted on the edges.
Another statue of the Lord Murugan greets visitors at the top of the steps. Turn around and enjoy the views of the surrounding area, the skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur rising in the distance, before exploring the enormous cave.
Featuring a high ceiling, interesting rock formations, colourful statues, and several Hindu shrines, plan to spend around an hour, if not longer, exploring the Temple Cave. If you’re up for more climbing, another shorter set of steps (around 50) leads up to the cave’s upper chamber. An opening in the roof lets light flood in, and you can admire the Valli Devanai Temple.
The cave is a busy place of worship, with many Hindu devotees coming to pray and pay their respects. They are also popular with tourists. There is no charge to enjoy the Temple Cave, although donations are gratefully received.
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Exciting adventures in the Dark Cave
The Dark Cave offers a completely different experience to the Temple Cave. It is accessed from part way up the long set of steps to the Temple Cave. A great place for people who are interested in learning more about the creatures who live in the caves, the ecology and geology, and the structure and formation of the caves, it is only possible to explore the Dark Cave as part of a tour.
Tours are dependent on a guide being available; you may need to wait some time to enter the cave. Booking in advance online through the website is highly recommended.
The Educational Tour costs 35 MYR (approximately 8.40 USD) for adults and 28 MYR (approximately 6.70 USD) for children. Lasting for around 45 minutes, don your head torch and safety helmet and follow your guide through the cave, seeing cool rock formations, sleeping bats, and various creepy crawlies.
There is also an Adventure Tour that ventures deeper into the cave and includes activities like crawling through narrow gaps and climbing wet rock faces. This tour lasts for around four hours, is only available for people over 12 years of age, must be booked in advance, and costs 80 MYR (approximately 19.20 USD) per person. More information, and advance booking, is available on the website.
Statues galore in the Ramayana Cave
Accessed from ground level, the Ramayana Cave is home to many Hindu statues, paintings, and shrines. An added benefit is that you don’t have to climb loads of steps to access the cave! There is an admission fee of 5 MYR (approximately 1.20 USD).
Multi-headed creatures, creatures with long swishing tails, animated facial expressions, bright lights, and vivid colours await visitors to the Ramayana Cave. As the name suggests, the statues depict scenes from the Ramayana, a traditional Hindu tale.
A large green statue of Hanuman, the Monkey God, stands close to the cave entrance.
Other attractions and getting to the Batu Caves
Other caves around the Batu Caves include a small cave shrine dedicated to Hanuman, and Cave Villa. Cave Villa costs 15 MYR (approximately 3.60 USD) and there are two caves with more mythological statues, bright lights, glass tanks with snakes and lizards, and a pool filled with large carp fish.
The easiest way to get to the Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur is to catch the regular KTM Komuter train from KL Sentral, which stops right outside the cave complex. A single trip costs 2 MYR (approximately 0.50 USD). You could also catch a public bus, negotiate a price with a taxi, or use a combination of monorail from KL Sentral to Titiwangsa followed by local bus or taxi.
Visit the Batu Caves and have fun learning more about Hinduism in Malaysia and exploring the magical caves.
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