The magnificent Batu Caves are a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia.
They are one of the top tourist attractions in Malaysia, partly because they are located only 13km from downtown Kuala Lumpur and are easy to get to.
The caves were discovered in 1878 by the American naturalist William Hornaday, though they were known to Chinese settlers and the local indigenous peoples. The caves were promoted as a place of worship by the Indian trader K. Thamboosamy Pillai.
He was inspired by the ‘vel’-shaped entrance of the main cave and was inspired to dedicate a temple to Lord Murugan within the caves. Pillai installed a consecrated statue of Sri Murugan Swami in what is today known as the Temple Cave.
Since 1892, the Thaipusam festival has been celebrated here. It’s a celebration for Subramaniam, the son of Shiva and becoming one of Pusan and the Brihaspati stars.
There are four main attractions at the Batu Caves: The Temple Cave, Dark Cave, Cave Villa and Ramayana Cave. The Temple Cave is the biggest and it’s also called the Cathedral Cave. It has a very high ceiling and features ornate Hindu shrines. Half way up the flight of stairs is the entrance to the second main attraction, the Dark Cave. In this cave, people can learn about the area’s natural history.
On the way to the Ramayana Cave, there is a 15 m tall statue of Hanuman and a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, devotee and aide of Lord Rama. This cave depicts the story of Rama in a chronicle manner along the irregular walls of the cave.
Popular with monkeys as much as people, the caves are always a colorful and fascinating place to visit.