“I love the fact that after being here, we are both going home to google exactly what it is we are looking at right now…”
– Fabi & I not doing the necessary research before going to the caves
If you’ve ever googled Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur or, if you are particular in your tastes, the philosopher-warrior god of Hinduism (Kartikeya/Murugan), then you’ve probably seen a photo of the humongous, golden statue outside the Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur.
“Batu Caves is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu (Stone River), which flows past the hill. It is the tenth (Pattu in Tamil) limestone hill from Ampang. Batu Caves is also the name of a 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.”
To be quite honest with you, unless you are particularly interested, this is one thing you can skip if you have limited time in Malaysia. I had a lot of time to kill and I knew I wanted to see the caves because I thought it’s “one of those things you have to see when you’re there”, but it really isn’t. The statue was the best part for me – it’s truly impressive in size and the fact that it took 300 litres of gold paint to cover it.
Standing at 42.7 m (140 ft) high, the world’s tallest statue of Murugan, a Hindu deity, is located outside Batu Caves. The statue, which cost approximately 24 million rupees, is made of 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint brought in from neighbouring Thailand.
The caves themselves are said to be 400 million years old and are impressive in their own right, but bear in mind you will be seeing a cave complex with hundreds of other tourists milling about – so you wont be getting much of an atmosphere to enjoy. I was there with Fabi, which was a bonus as I hadn’t seen her since the awesome Egypt-tour. We had fun walking around, taking pictures of the many, many monkeys that live there and basically just hanging out, but there’s not too much else to do there. Like I said: If you have limited time, skip it. If not, take an uber up there and spend an hour checking it out.
I’ve seen people talk about the staircase up to the caves and how you need to “be fit to get up them”. You don’t. They weren’t strenuous. And anyway, if you should become short of breath there’s plenty of room to stop and enjoy the (limited) view.
Don’t wear shorts or short skirts, they wont let you in. (Sarongs are available for rent, of course).