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Batu Caves

Batu Caves is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in the Gombak district, 13 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.You can reach it by train from Sentral or more conveniently by taxi, which cost me about 35 RIM.

It takes its name from the Batu River, which flows past the hill. Batu Caves is also the name of the nearby village.

The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.

Rising almost 100 m above the ground, the Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, has a very high ceiling and features ornate Hindu shrines. To reach it, visitors must climb a steep flight of 272 steps, which is not a serious problem if you are half fit. In any case you may wish to stop along the way to take photos and to chase the macaque monkeys away from your stuff.  At the base of the hill are two more cave temples, Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave, both of which are full of Hindu statues and paintings. This complex was renovated and opened as the Cave Villa in 2008. Many of the shrines relate the story of Lord Murugan's victory over the demon Soorapadam. An audio tour is available to visitors. The Ramayana Cave is situated to the extreme left as one faces the sheer wall of the hill. On the way to the Ramayana Cave, there is a 15 m (50 ft) tall statue of Hanuman and a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, devotee and aide of Lord Rama. The consecration ceremony of the temple was held in November 2001. The Ramayana Cave depicts the story of Rama in a chronicle manner along the irregular walls of the cave. A 42.7-metre (140 ft) high statue of Lord Murugan was unveiled in January 2006, having taken 3 years to construct. It is the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world. As is quite usual for Hindu statues and art, they are very colorful and not at all subtle in their features.



Inside Cathedral cave

The Cathedral cave is magnificent, it is the largest and most impressive of the caves. Try to time your arrival when the temple is burning sacrifices like I did so you can catch the smoke rising in the morning sunlight. There are two major cave sections, you walk down some steps in to first enclosed cave after climbing up the 292 steps from the entrance. The second is open to the sky.

The dark cave

The dark cave is to the left of the cathedral cave, about 50 steps down from its entrance. It is unlit, home to several types of bats and other creatures like insects and spiders that depend upon the bat ecosystem, i.e. they eat the bat dung. It is a eco-preserve area..

Ramayama cave

The Ramayama cave is on the far left as you enter the complex. I almost forgot about it after the long time I spent in marvel in the cathedral cave, but it is worth a visit. You pay a small fee to enter. The cave creates the Ramayama fable and is very colorful and fun to walk around. Only on stair at the back is steep and challenging to climb, a lot of the main cave is a level or sloping floor and virtually almost wheel chair accessible.

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