Located approximately 11 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur, Batu Caves is a popular natural attraction made up of a cluster of spectacular limestone caves, with the Temple Cave and its 100-metre-high ceiling being the focal point. What’s special about these caves is that besides being a wondrous creation of nature, it is also a sacred ground for the Hindus, with thousands thronging here every year to celebrate a major religious event in the Hindu calendar, the Thaipusam. During this day, Batu Caves comes alive with a procession of devotees carrying colourful kavadis up the 272 steps leading to the entrance of the Temple Cave.
Said to be around 400 million years old, Batu Caves was originally used by the indigenous tribe, Besisi, as stopover shelters on their hunting expeditions. They were then discovered by an Indian trader, K. Thamboosamy Pillai, who was so inspired by the cave entrance’s ‘vel’ shape that he had decided to dedicate a temple within the Temple Cave to Lord Muruga. The Temple Cave today houses several ornate Hindu shrines. The Ramayana Cave, situated on the left of the Temple Cave, is dedicated to Lord Rama and his noble monkey aide, Hanuman, and the cave’s walls are filled with depictions of the chronicles of Lord Rama’s adventures.