Kuala Lumpur offers some of the best sights one can get. Let it be skyscrapers, night markets, streets full of lights and crowd, Kuala Lumpur is the perfect destination for a traveler.
Along with these attractions, some people want adventure with some history and exploration of facts. Some time in nature, trekking, hiking and all are major interests of travelers. Also, some people have other reasons to travel, and one of them could be religious.
When it comes to religion, Batu caves in Kuala Lumpur is a major highlight just like the PETRONAS Twin Tower or any other attractions. Batu caves are a series of caves on a limestone hill situated in Selangor, Gombak district.
The Batu caves are believed to be 400 million years old. The caves became famous after a famous American Naturalist, William Hornaday discovered it in 1878.
It was further promoted as a place of worship after an Indian trader, Thamboosamy Pillai got inspired with the vel shaped entrance of the cave. The vel is a divine javelin or a type of spear which was carried by an Indian god named Murugan or Vel Murugan.
Vel Murugan is an ancient war god worshipped in India, mostly in southern parts. The place is shrined with a statue of Vel Murugan god and is the biggest statue of him. The statue is 140 ft or 42.7 meter high and took 3 years to get completed on January 2006.
In 1920, after the caves were declared as a place to worship, 272 wooden steps were built to reach 400 m above the ground level to enter the caves. Some of these stairs were replaced by concrete and recently in August 2018, the stairs were painted with some attractive color which also became a subject of discussion.
The Temple & Caves
Batu caves comprises of five major caves which have different administration and aspects. These caves are:
1. Ramayana Cave
When you’ll enter the temple, the very first thing you’ll see on your left is a 15 meter of 50 ft tall green statue of Lord Hanuman, a devotee or gatekeeper for Lord Rama. The first Batu cave is dedicated to Lord Rama the story of Ramayana.
The ceremony for this cave was done in 2001. On entering the cave and passing the statue of Lord Hanuman, you’ll need to cross a bridge in order to enter the cave. Also, you will see a chariot with some horses made up of brass which pumps up your interest in the medieval story.
You will be mesmerized with the calm and beautiful state of cave and the contents of it. The cave is full of sculptures depicting the whole story of Ramayana. Also, it’s written below them in Sanskrit and local language if you want to read the story as well.
There are two natural Lingas located in the cave. You will need to climb very steep steps to reach to the top and witness these lingas as they represent the Lord Shiva. Don’t miss to see every sculpture lighten up with beautiful lights. Also, don’t miss the statue of Kumbhakaran, brother of Ravana, which is quite intriguing.
It will take around 30-45 minutes to cover this cave and move to the next one.
Entry Fee: The entry to Batu cave is free of cost for visitors.
2. Cave villas
The next step you’ll take after taking an exit from Ramayana Cave is that you will find Sri Venkatachalapathi and Alamelu temple where Brahmins blesses the devotees.
Then on the left side of the shrines, you will see two cave entrances known as Cave Villas. These caves discusses all about the Hindu culture, gods and other aspects. These are basically two caves considered one. The walls of first cave are full of pastel writings in English depicting the culture.
The gods, stories, famous Hindus like Buddha, Gandhi are depicted all over the wall. Hence, it’s amore of a cultural exhibition. There are also many Hindu statues, paintings, manuscripts and other essential educational things inside the caves which make it more interesting.
The second cave is also full of information on the walls and statues, paintings of Hindu culture. There is a koi pond in this cave which has an artificial waterfall and bridges too. The scenes are beautiful at dawn time.
These caves are also famous for animals. You will find a lot of monkeys on the way who will try to snatch food from you. There are lots of ponds, full of colorful fishes. You’ll find iguanas, rabbits, free roaming peacocks and monkeys, reptiles, birds etc.
There is a reptile section where you can get a picture with a python or any other reptile. It’s preferred by very less tourists but if you are adventurous enough, it’s a must try.
The culture oh Hindus depicted in a beautiful way with sculptures, paintings, lighting etc. along with the animals roaming around makes this place a natural view of peace. It will take around 1.5 hour or more to cover both the caves if you see every detail and indulge in animals too.
Entry fee: The entry fee is 15 RM for Non-Malaysians.
3. Temple Cave
This is the main cave of Batu Caves. It starts with the 140 ft or 42.7 meter high statue of Vel Murugan god. The statue astonishes anyone’s view on just a single glimpse. There are shops for souvenirs, food, drinks etc. in front of the statue. You can enjoy delicious Indian delicacies here for further travel.
The trip starts with the 272 stairs. These are easy to climb as its wide, average length, with railings to hold and spacious enough to take a breath along with the beatific view to watch.
The only thing to worry as well as funny is the monkeys on the way. They will try to snatch food from you. So, it’s better to keep the eatables in the bag.
The entrance is decorated with shrines and also sculptures all the way. There is a temple also situated there. There are chambers out of which one is Atrium Chamber which is famous as it does not have any roof. The roof has collapsed and you can witness the sky from inside the cave which on some days or at dawn time looks tremendously magnificent.
This area is basically filled with crowds at the time of occasions like Thaipusam. People from all over the world witness the devotees devoting their affection to the warrior god of courage, wealth and wisdom.
As every country is very conscious about their religion, same goes for Malaysia. There is a certain dress code to follow inside the temple. The body parts like elbow, knees should be covered. Remove your hat, goggles, earphones etc. If you are not prepared then you can rent a scarf/sarong from the shops below for 5 RM.
The trip will take only an hour at max including the stair climbing.
Entry fee: The entry fee is free for visitors.
4. Dark Cave
The most interesting and most highlighted cave of Batu Cave is the Dark Cave. This cave is located on the left side of the stairs just below the Temple Cave. This is handled by a different organization that is the Malaysian Nature Society.
The 2 kilometers of path is not lighten up with artificial lights but is all dark. On buying the tickets, you will need to wait for some time for your slot. There will be 15 members in one slot and you’ll be given a tour by a guide who could be a geologist, entomologist, biologist etc.
There is a basic tour in which the guide will give you a helmet and a torch and you will enter the cave. The guide will tell you the history and other aspects of the cave. The cave is home to the rarest spider in the world, the Trapdoor Spiders. Also, there will be bats, snakes, and insects inside of the cave.
There is also an adventure tour which consist of extra cave exploring including climbing, crawling, slipping, wetting and exploring the cave to the fullest. It can take three hours to cover the adventure and get ready to be all wet and dirty after the trip. Pack an extra pair of clothes if planning it.
Some tips for the visit is that wear full clothes as temperature can get low inside the cave. The floor could be wet, so wear good shoes with grip. Look for the tickets as soon as possible.
Enjoy the most natural habitat of a cave without any artificial light. This trip will make your mood elevated for sure.
Entry Fee: The entry fee is 35 RM for basic tour and 80 RM for adventure tour.
How to Reach:
· By train
The train ‘KTM komuter’ from KL sentral to Port Klang line where the Batu Cave is located takes around 30 minutes and costs around 2 RM per adult. KL sentral is basically the centre of Kuala Lumpur.
· By taxi
The taxi will take you to the destination just after you’ll say Batu Caves. The trip will cost around 20-25 RM based on traffic.
· By bus
There are two ‘RapidKL’ bus routes which can take you to the destination. These are U6 and U10. All you need to ask the driver is to inform you about the stop. It will cost around 2.5 RM per adult.
Opening Hours: The Batu Cave is open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on every days of the week. The Dark Cave opens at 9:30 am to 5:00 pm on every day except Monday.