Batu Caves

Last update: 20/05/2014

By Nalini Ramiah

Sri Subramaniar Temple or famously known as the Batu Caves sits majestically about 13 km from downtown Kuala Lumpur. This 116 year old temple which is dedicated to Lord Murugan, is situated in a cave some 400 feet above ground level.

The Batu Caves comprise of a set of caverns in the limestone hill fringing Kuala Lumpur. A flight of 272 stairs lead visitore to the main entrance while a huge statue of the Hindu deity stands guard in front of the cave.

Batu Caves is recognised as one of Malaysia’s national heritage sites in 2007. Being one of the holiest Hindu shrines in Malaysia it is a popular tourist attraction in Malaysia.

During the Thaipusam festival which falls either in January or February, thousands of Hindu worshippers throng the cave. In an act of devotion, they carry on their person the kavadi.

The kavadi is essentially made up of sharp metal skewers and hooks which are impaled onto the body, through the cheeks and tongue. Devotees would go into a trance before the piercing begins and remain in a transcended state and are impervious to pain. Afterwards when the kavadi is removed after the ceremony, there would not be any scars or bleeding.

The kavadi is often decorated with flowers, peacock feathers and made up to resemble a chariot for Lord Murugan. The elaborately decorated ones can be quiet heavy indeed.

The kavadi bearers would walk to the Batu Caves to pay homage to Lord Murugan. Some would travel quiet a distance on foot.

They do this either as an act of penance for past wrongdoings or to express their devotion and thanks to Lord Murugan for the good fortune that had come their way.

The Batu Caves is open to visitors from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Visitors will have to register themselves at the office located on the grounds before they can proceed to the temple complex.

For the tourists, your stay in Kuala Lumpur would not be complete if you have not visited the Batu Caves.

-- Bernama