Batu Caves is one of the most famed Hindu shrines outside India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the deity of war in Dravidian. Lord Murugan or Kartikeya is the god of war and victory and the main god worshipped by Tamilians in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.
The signatory golden statue of Lord Murugan among the limestone hill in the Gombak district of Selangor state attracts millions of devotees during the Thaipusam festival each year. Thaipusam is celebrated on the full moon of Tamil month Thai which falls in January in the English calendar.
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Where is Batu caves, and how to reach?
Batu caves are 16.5 km from Kuala Lampur via Route 1. Local buses, rails, ride sharing and taxis are available for travelling there, and You may finish your Batu Caves tour in just one half of the day.
As you reach the temple ground, you will see the 42 feet Batu caves idol of Lord Murugan and then you have to take the 272 flights of stairs. You will see the limestone caves and shrines as you climb up, and the view on the top is fantastic. Ashed mountains, greenery covered hills, and the Batu river enchant the landscape.
Commutes to reach Batu caves
KTM commuter trains are available from KL Sentral, and the trains run down the Batu caves-Port Klang route. After descending on the Batu caves Komuter station, the temple is just a 5-minute walk.
History of Batu Caves
The name Batu means rocks in local Malay language, and the temple is located within limestone cropping. Locals only knew the existence of the caves until 1878. In 1878, the beautiful caves were known to the world when American naturalist William Temple Hornaday visited the temples. Eventually, a gold-painted statue of Lord Murugan of 42 meters was built out of concrete by the leadership of K.Thambooswami Pillai.
When was Batu Caves Built?
Batu cave’s history dates back to 1878 though the temple was built nearly 13 years later in 1891 by K.Thambooswamy Pillai, a local leader Hindu Tamil community in Malay. In 1892, Thaipusam was first celebrated in the Batu caves temple.
K. Thambooswamy widely promoted the Malaysia Murugan temple among the Malaysian Tamil community, and it became famous widely. It is said that when the Batu caves temple was built, the shape of the tip of the spear held by Lord Murugan inspired him.
History of Thaipusam and Batu caves temple
Thaipoosam is celebrated at the end of January, marking the occasion of Goddess Parvati giving the vel to Murugan for the destruction of the demon army.
It symbolises the win of good over evil, and the Hindu Tamil community worships Murugan as the granter of desires and the win of good over evil. Thaipusam is celebrated in the month of Makara or Thai in the Hindu calendar. Thaipusam coincides with Pushya star, also known as Poosham in Tamil.
As the mythological story goes, Murugan was born from the sparks of the third eye of Lord Shiva when other gods asked him if Bramha had said child of Shiva would kill Tadkasura. Fire God, Saravana put the sparks in a pond called Saravana where six babies were born in lotuses and six Kritikas raised them.
When Devi Parvati came, she hugged all of the children in one single being. When Murugan was grown, he was appointed commander-in-chief. Thaipusam is celebrated on the day when Parvati gave the vel to Murugan when he headed to the battlefield to destroy the demon army of Soorpadaman.
How to Plan a Batu Caves adventure Tour
Batu caves are one of the most frequented tourist destinations in Malaysia. Whether you are planning your journey as a pilgrim during Thaipusam or just visiting the temple, you can also visit nearby tourist attractions.
The top tourist places in Batu caves are Ramayana caves, cave villa, Majlis Penbandaran Selayang Stadium, Sri Venkatachalapathi and Alamelu temple, hot springs and local markets.
Here’s how to plan your Batu caves tour:
- It takes 3 to 6 hours to visit the Batu Caves, the countryside and enjoy the activities.
- Enjoy the limestone caves, visit the Murugan shrine and roam around the temple ground.
- Visit the Selayang hot spring, dip your feet, and watch the waterfalls.
- You can fulfil your adventurous quest by rock climbing. Challenge yourself by rock climbing on limestone rockface where the maximum height of a vertical route is 30meters.
- Visit the nearby batik shops and shop local handicrafts.
- You will notice rubber tree plantations on your way to Batu caves, and you can also visit the nearby pewter factory.
Batu caves is a must-visit if you are visiting Kualampur or Malaysia as it is integrated into the history of Malaysia and bears a unique heritage for Tamils.
Batu Caves Opening Hours:
Batu caves are open all days of the week from 6 AM to 9 PM and the temple. The best time to visit the temple and the caves is morning and evening as the temple ground is crowded in peak hours during the day.
Top Sights in Batu Caves
1. Three Main Caverns in Batu Caves:
While visiting the Batu caves, you will see three main caverns, the temple cave, the dark cave and the art gallery cave as you climb up the stairs.
The temple cave is the most popular cave among them, which has a 300 feet ceiling and ornate depictions of the Hindu gods and legends, bringing the mythological stories alive.
At the entrance of the lit main temple cave, the 6,500 ft stretch is called the dark cave. The dark cave has amazing formations of limestone. The exploration of the dark caves will be spelunking and adventurous.
Across the bridges from the temple cave, you will enter the art gallery cave. This cave houses paintings and walls carving Hindu mythologies around Lord Murugan.
2. Ramayana Caves: Suyambu Lingam
Ramayana caves are another great attraction in the Batu caves complex, and it is just across the bridge where the Hanuman statue is. It takes less than a minutes from the Batu caves complex to Ramayana caves through Jalan Batu caves.
Ramayana caves are embellished, giving off a psychedelic effect, and though this is a lesser-known spot, it’s something you must visit. You will see the laid statue of Kumbhakarna, and after climbing the stairs, you will also see a naturally occurring Shiv linga.
3. Sri Venkatachelapathi and Alamelu Temple
Sri Venkatachelapathi & Alamelu temple is a colourful and decorated temple in the Batu caves ground. The temple stairs have the colours of the rainbow and are accessible from three sides. You will see structures of Hindu devas and devis engraved, and the temple is dedicated to the goddess of war.
4. Selayang Hot Spring:
Popular among the locals, Selayang hot spring is a great relaxing spot for enjoying a natural spa. You can either relax while just dipping your feet or can take a full-body bath and feel refreshed. You will find a food and drink stall near the hot springs.
The hot water spring with minerals are believed to have medicinal properties, but that might not be true scientifically. It’s a nice relaxing spot that you can include in your Batu cave tour if you have time.
5. Majlis Perbandaran Selyang Stadium
If you are travelling to Batu caves, you might visit the Majlis Perbandaram Selyang stadium as well. The stadium is well known and used for football matches and have the capacity to hold up to 20,000 currently.
Other than this, you can also visit the cave villa, where you will see geckos and other reptiles and religious statues engraved.
Though it may not be one of the best attractions, some tourists find it interesting. One thing that will lift up your spirit and you will like is the local batik market. You can engage in the
Activities to enjoy in Batu caves
- Rock Climbing: There are almost 8 vertical routes within the range of 15 to 30 metres where even beginners and intermediates can enjoy the vertical challenge.
- Hot springs water bath: Enjoy taking a bath or dipping your feet among nature and the locals in Selyang hot spring.
- Zipline & other adventures in Gua Damai Extreme Park: Visit the Gua Damai Extreme Park, an eco-recreational park and enjoy outdoor educational activities including Zipline, rock climbing, rope management. The park is just behind the Batu caves, and all the activities are conducted with trustable safety gear. Visit the official website here.
- Trail hiking in Bukit Lagong: You can go a little off track and enjoy a challenging trek of 14 km only if you are an experienced hiker. The loop trail is unmarked and unpaved, quite raw. Trekking in Bukit lagong and Bukit Nolang are the two hills that you will see on the trek.
Thaipusam Celebration in Malaysia
Thaipusam festival is celebrated during the full moon in January is celebrated through different rituals. There are some awestruck rituals of devotees piercing cheeks with a skewer, carrying altars and music and drums to accompany the excitement of the occasion. The religious beliefs of the devotees’ faith have made Thaipusam a celebration to watch.
- The preparation of the celebration starts 48 hours prior to the festivals. During these hours, devotees fast and pray, and on the day of Thaipusam, they eat sattvic food.
- Some devotees eat sattvic for an entire month.
- Some observers and devotees of Murugan shave their heads, pierce their cheeks and tongue, carry altars a certain distance showcasing the strength and faith towards their belief.
Devotees get together for a procession carrying while performing different devotional activities like carrying Kavadi.
1. How many flights of stairs are in Batu caves temple?
Batu caves have 272 flights of stairs at the foot of which the golden Murugan idol stands.
2. What are the opening hours of Batu caves?
Batu Caves are open from 6 AM to 9 PM, and the caves are open all days a week.
3. Why are Batu caves famous?
Batu Cave is famous for the Lord Murugan statue, and the caverns are the god’s shrine. The limestone temple is an interesting and religious place that you must visit.
4. Who built Batu caves?
The local leader of the Malaysia Tamil community, K. Thambooswami Pillai, built Batu caves. He was also a prominent businessman and government contractor.