Stepping it Up at Batu Caves
Not many tourist attractions can claim to offer remarkable sight seeing along with a thigh burning workout. Located just north of KL, Batu Caves with its 272 stairs (not to mention ravenous long-tailed macaque monkeys), will definitely get your heart pumping.
As it turns out the stairs look more daunting than they actually are. Perhaps this was because I was so focused on avoiding getting jumped on by a creature hell-bent on finding treats, that the steps became a secondary concern.
At the foot of the caves stands the world’s tallest statue of the Hindu deity Lord Murugan. The 140 ft golden statue was completed in 2006, and is an impressive sight.
The caves themselves were discovered in 1878 by American naturalist William Hornaday. The main cave (named Temple Cave) features 100 meter ceilings where daylight pours in through jagged chasms. It is no surprise that shortly after its discovery, this awe-inspiring space became utilized for religious practice. Nestled in the caves are various Hindu shrines. While the shrines are beautifully detailed and no doubt meaningful to practitioners, they are dwarfed by their surroundings.
In late January/early February of each year Batu Caves becomes the site of the Thaipusam festival. This event, which draws over 800,000 people to the site, centers on devotion, endurance, and penance. But there is always something special going on at the caves, as ceremonies take place there year-round.
Batu caves is undeniably a geographical wonder. While it is easy to head to a temple of consumerism on any given afternoon, it is arguably more rewarding to take in a little history in this incredible sanctuary.