06 June 2009

Batu Caves

I prepared a succint quote from the Rough Guide but of course left it at home. At least I get to link some video clips from youtube (never had enough time to look through them as I had to catch up with staying out of cyberspace for so long). Apologies for the patchy report.








Anyway, in short, the Batu Caves are 13km north of KL and are famous for the Hindu temples inside the large limescale foundations (that also attract rock climbers with more than 160 climbing routes!). It is dedicated to Lord Murugan.

Although the geographical site is quite old, it was not until the 1920s that it became a holy site. An Indian trader saw the caves and found the caves to be an excellent place for worship (Rough Guide author muses, it might be because of the similarity to the Himalayas. I have never been to the Himalayas but that argument seems a bit far-fetched to me...).

Once you reach the inside of the cave, there are a couple of smaller shrines and temples and then of course the main temple. The Batu Caves are said to be one of the most popular Hindu places in the world (yeah...) and people also choose the site for weddings. In order to see the temples, you need to climb 272 steps (yes, I did see the inside of the caves! ;) ). Symbolism behind it: You cannot reach God without expending effort.

Once a year, the place becomes packed with people (more than a million!) at the annual Thaipusam festival in February when a certain star is the highest. It celebrates the birthday of Lord Murugan (the large golden statue), a son of Shiva and Parvati (or so Wikipedia says, I leave it to Aike to verify this info... ^-^) and the fact that he successfully fought against a demon.

It really is worth to take a peep at the wikipedia info!



1 courageous comments!:

Heidi said...

“In 1891, ten years after the caves were noticed by American explorer William Hornaby, local Indian dignitaries convinced the British colonial authorities that the caves were ideal places in which to worship. […] Soon, ever-increasing numbers of devotees were visiting the caves to pray at the shrine established here to Lord Muruga, also known as Lord Subramaniam; later the temple complex was expanded to include a shrine to elephant-headed deity Ganesh.” (Rough Guide for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei)