Batu Caves in Malaysia
Batu Caves is located in Malaysia and comprises one of the most famed Hindu temples devoted to Lord Murugan is found here. In this country, the popular festival of the Hindus called the Thaipusam festival is the main attraction. The popular caves are seen on a hill made of limestone and on top you can also see some temples and other caves. The Batu River is flowing very close to this hill and the temple has got its name from this river which is also called as the Sungai Batu. These caves are around four hundred million years old and the Temuan people made use of some shelters which were formed by the entry to these caves.
An Indian trader, K. Thamboosamy Pillai has dedicated this temple to lord Murugan and he also endorsed it as a holy place. He also built the Sri Mahamariamman Temple during 1892 in the city of Kuala Lumpur and the holy statue of Lord Sri Subramania Swamy was set up inside the caves and presently, this cave is also called as the Temple Caves. The caves hold the Thaipusam festival since 1892 every year during early February and late January. There are many wooden steps leading to this cave and they were now being rebuilt by building 272 steps. The most famous among all the cave temples is the Cathedral Cave or the Temple Cave.
Map to the Batu Caves, Malaysia
Things to know about the Batu Caves
The Batu Caves multiplex has three chief caves inside them and the largest among them has a very high ceiling where the Hindu shrines are heavily decorated. The temple rises around a hundred m above the land level and for seeing the temple they need to climb 272 steps which are quite steep and tiresome to climb. The Art Gallery Cave and the Museum Cave are two more such cave temples found at the bottom of the hill. Lots of Hindu paintings and statues are also inside these caves and many of them show the triumph of Lord Murugan over Soorapdam, the evil spirit. Facing the steep hill side is another cave known as the Ramayana Cave and on the way to this cave you can see a huge statue of Hanuman which is around fifty foot high. This temple is wholly dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the aide of Lord Rama.
Lord Murugan Statue
Lord Murugan statue is found in Malaysia and is second tallest statue of the Hindu Gods in the world and it is 42.7 m high. It took three years to build it and it was finally built in 2006 with a budget of nearly 2.5 Mil Ringgit Malaysia. The builders had to use 300 liters of gold paint and 250 tons of steel bars and around 1,550 Cubic meters of concrete in order to build it.
Photos i have taken at Batu CavesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Festivals celebrated at Batu Caves
The Thaipusam festival is celebrated in these Batu Caves once a year by the Hindus in this country. All the pilgrims who come to this festival are not only the local people of Malaysia but even people from Singapore, Australia and India.
The festival begins with a long procession from the Sri Mahamariamman temple up till the Batu Caves. This procession is dedicated to Lord Murugan and goes on for around eight hours in which the pilgrims carry big containers with milk in them as an offering to the God or big carriers known as ‘Kavadi’. These kavadis are made of brass or clay and can be almost two meters high with metal frames that are curved. The bearer’s skin is pierced with its end which is sharp. These kavadis are decorated with peacock feathers and lovely flowers.
After the pilgrims bathe in the nearby Rocky River, they climb the 272 steps leading to the temple within the cave. Once they reach the top of the hill, the priests start removing all the hooks and skewers on the devotee’s flesh and sprinkle holy ash on it. During this procedure, there is no blood which is shed on the flesh of the devotees carrying the kavadis to the temple cave.