While visiting Malaysia, one of the things that I walked away with is the faith the people have in whatever their beliefs may be. I will share a little more on this in an upcoming post of Melaka, however, the magnificent Batu Caves are one of the top tourist attractions in Malaysia, located only 8 miles (13km) from downtown Kuala Lumpur. Discovered in 1892, they are the consecrated spot for the Hindu’s in Malaysia.
Batu Cave has three primary caves and various smaller ones. The caves are made of limestone over 1300 feet (400 meters) in length and 300 feet (100 meters) high. The limestone shaping Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old. A few percentage of the cave doors were utilized as havens by the indigenous Temuan individuals, a tribe of Orang Asli.
Malaysia is very muggy, hot and humid, so it is a bit hazy and you will get a work out here. There is no entry fee for visiting the Temple Cave although you may leave a donation in one of the collection boxes if you wish. Also, you must respect the Hindu religion while visiting the Batu Caves, so if you don’t have on long pants or a long skirt, you will be asked to rent one before going up.
I was forewarned about being welcomed by quite a lot of monkeys. They are notorious for snatching anything of their interest from visitors. So when you visit, consider waiting to purchase any snacks until you come down the from top.
As you can see, 272 steps is quite a hike.
Once at the top you can see the area of worship, and they even have a ceremony going on while we were there.
Once a year, Hindu’s celebrate the Thaipusam Festival in the Batu Caves where more than 800,000 people visit the caves. The celebration is held in the tenth month as per Hindu calendar.
Devotees prepare themselves for Thaipusam spiritually by fasting and praying before performing acts of penance or thanksgiving like carrying kavadis and paal kudam (pots filled with milk) up the stairs leading to the temple to make or fulfil their vows. Many also pierce their bodies with sharp metal objects. Thaipusam has been celebrated in Batu Caves since 1891, making this year the 125th anniversary of Thaipusam in Batu Caves. More than a million people visited the Batu Caves temple for this year’s Thaipusam.