Statue and Colorful Stairs at Batu Caves in Kuala LumpurCredit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker | License: My Own Photo
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Batu Cave, Malaysia
It takes its name from the Sungai Batu (Stone River), which flows past the hill. It is the tenth limestone hill from Ampang. Batu Caves is also the name of a nearby village.
The cave is one of the most popular Tamil shrines outside India and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.
WHAT ARE THE BATU CAVES?
The Batu caves are a set of caves on a limestone hill, located just outside of Kuala Lumpur in Gombak, Selangor. To reach the caves, you have to climb the steps before reaching the top. Lord Murugan, the second tallest statue of Hindu deity in the world, stands guard at the bottom of the caves. The top of the caves houses one of the most popular Hindu shrines. In fact, over one million visitors come to celebrate Thaipusam at this shrine on an annual basis.
HOW MANY STEPS ARE THERE TO REACH THE TOP OF BATU CAVES?
You will be relieved to know that there are only 272 steps to get to the top of the caves! I know, it looks like an insane amount of steps at first glance. It turns out that the climb is really not all that bad and makes for a good workout!
Batu Caves in short also referred to as 10th Caves or Hill for Lord Muruga as there are six important holy shrines in India and four more in Malaysia. The three others in Malaysia are Kallumalai Temple in Ipoh, Tanneermalai Temple in Penang and Sannasimalai Temple in Malacca.
The limestone forming Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old. Some of the cave entrances were used as shelters by the indigenous Temuan people.
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.
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 Soorapadman. An audio tour is available to visitors.
Image credit: Jorge Láscar from Melbourne, Australia
272 steps lead to the Batu Caves. On the right, the 43m statue of Murugan
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