Giant statue of Murugam in Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

A visit to Kuala Lumpur should include the Batu Caves. Although 61% of the population of Malaysia is Muslim, you can see influences and temples of all religions, incluiding the Taoist Kuan Ti Temple in Kuala Lumpur. Batu Caves is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.

The largest statue of Lord Murugan is in Batu Caves

It is believed that the limestone formation found in the Batu caves is about 400 million years old. In prehistoric times it was used as a refuge by the Temuan Indians. Malaysia was a British and Dutch colony. In 1878, when it was a British colony, lime stone hills were documented.

In 1890, K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian merchant promoted this site as a place of worship. Pillai also founded the Sri Mahamariamman temple in Kuala Lumpur. Since 1892 the Hindu festival of Thaipusam is celebrated. The procession begins in the temple in the city and goes to the Batu Caves. This is one of the biggest festivals in the world, as more than 1 million people go. If you want to go you must confirm the dates, since they vary every year. Thaipusam is usually done in late January or early February.

Upon arriving to Batu Caves you will be impressed by the size of the statue of Lord Murugan. It is 42.7 meters or 140 feet high. Its construction took 3 years and was inaugurated in 2006. The statue cost $370,000 and used 300 liters of gold paint brought from Thailand.

A paradise for monkeys in Batu Caves

In the morning we went to visit the Sri Mahamariamman temple in Kuala Lumpur. Outside the temple they sell flower necklaces that are used as offerings. I bought one and paid about 6 Ringgit or $1.40. I thought it was pretty so I put it on. When we arrived at Batu Caves, the first thing the guide told me was to be careful since monkeys like to eat flowers.

It is common to find monkeys in all Hindu temples. The monkeys that live here are macaques and are quite territorial. You must be careful with your belongings as they are terrible. They also like to eat a lot and are accustomed to receiving food from tourists. If you have children you should pay attention as they can bite them if they get too close.

I found a cute mom with her baby and gave her my necklace. I just had to put it in my hand and she came to take it. They mounted a fence and began to eat it happily.

Climb 272 steps to reach the caves

When we went, the entrance and the center of the caves were being remodeled. They had a sign asking tourists to take bricks to the top, but no one took them since they had a huge pile of unused bricks. Many devotees come up with “Kavadis” which are offerings of milk that they load in wooden or steel containers which can weigh up to 100 kilos.

The Batu Caves temple complex rises almost 100 meters from the ground with three main caves and some that are smaller. Visitors must climb 272 concrete steps divided into four sections. To the left is the dark cave, while the other two main caves are at the end of the stairs. When you go up you can see a beautiful view of the city of Kuala Lumpur.

There is a small souvenir shop at the top, if you want to buy water you can do it here. Below are many shops to buy all kinds of gifts. In the upper area they are fixing several Hindu sanctuaries. There were people praying on this site and also singing traditional songs. You must climb other stairs to reach the main cave of the temple. In this part the sky is open and there are some trees, it is a very beautiful place and one understands why it was chosen as a sacred site.

Visit the other caves besides the main cave

Entering Batu Caves has no cost but you must pay if you want to go to a site called the dark caves. If you are afraid of the dark, bats and insects you should not enter this site. We did not go to the dark caves, but we did go to the cave of the Art Gallery, which also has an additional cost.

To the left of Lord Murugan’s statue is another smaller statue (15 meters or 50 feet) of Hanuman that looks like a giant monkey. The statue caught my attention and I continued to find a waterfall with another statue of Lord Rama with a cart with many golden horses.

This cave known as the “Art Gallery” done in a little Disney style and has beautiful statues that tell the story of Rama on its walls.

How to get to Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur?

A popular option is to take a tour. There are private and collective options where they take tourists to visit Batu Caves and other places that are more difficult to reach using public transport. We took a private tour that took us later to see the “silver leaf” monkeys in Kota Melawati. These monkeys are extremely friendly and do not steal from you like the monkeys in Batu Caves. You can buy food to give them and they ride on you. Adults are silver but babies are brown.

Then we went to dinner in a fishing village by a river and saw a beautiful sunset. Finally we took a night boat ride on the Kuala Selangor River to see one of the largest firefly colonies in the world. You must carry bug repellent since it is full of mosquitoes.

There are other options for tours from Kuala Lumpur that include city tour or combine Batu Caves with thermal wells and other attractions.

If you do not want to visit other sites I recommend that you go on your own since it is very easy. Batu Caves are only 13 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur. You can take a taxi or Uber from the city. From the KL Sentral station you can take the KTM Komuter train or the monorail to the Titiwangsa station and from there the bus to Batu Caves.

Another option is to take Intrakota bus #11D from the Central Market or Cityliner bus #69 from Jalan Pudu to reach Batu caves.

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