Pages

Monday, 22 September 2014

KL's SPOTLIGHT: BATU CAVES

Kuala Lumpur, September 13, 2014

I checked out from Shangri-La KL on mid Sunday and put my bag on its concierge counter. I asked the officer there about how to go to Batu Cave, one of recommended place to have sight seeing in KL. That Indian descent man told me that I should go to nearest LRT station i.e. Dangwangi to take the green line LRT to KL Sentral. Then from that interchange hub, I should continue by taking red line KTM Komuter (commuter train) to its last station, Batu Caves. The temple I'd like to visit located right after the exit of that station. He told me instead of walking to Dangwangi, it was better for me to wait for a free shuttle bus provided by the hotel that would pass several main attraction/point in KL. I could get off at KLCC and take the LRT from the station there. Eventually, that officer named Babu himself that would be the driver for that bus. I took his suggestion. 

In front of the Lord Murugan statue
I only needed 45-minute journey from KLCC to reach Batu Caves that has become the most popular shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan (the son of Shiva and brother of Ganesha). At the base of the hill there is a 140-ft gigantic statue of Lord Murugan erected in January 2006. It is the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world and the second tallest statue of Hindu deities after Kailashnath Mahadev Statue in Nepal. An Indian guy who was eventually being there asked me to capture his pic. I did what he asked. In return he captured my pic by using my iphone.

The steep flight of 272 steps to reach the top
In Batu Caves, there're is no entrance fee but donation. Here, visitors need a strong legs to climb a steep flight of 272 steps to reach the shrines rising almost 100 m above the ground. Please be informed that women with short skirts or pants are not allowed to enter the shrines. Fortunately I brought my long trousers to cover my knee-length jeans. For you who doesn't wear proper pants/skirt, in the base stairs there's a counter where you could rent the sarong to cover your lower body.

The fancy prepared alter
Once I arrived on the top of the hill, I saw a pair of dad and daughter were preparing a fancy altar, They put several metal plates containing flowers, yellow-colored rice grains, coconuts, some short wooden benches, and fire furnace above the mat. Suddenly the Indian man I previously mentioned approached me and informed me that it was an altar prepared for Indian marriage.

Naveen while praying in one of shrines
That Indian man introduced himself as Naveen. He comes from Chennai, the biggest industrial and commercial center in South India. Like me, he came to KL for a business trip. Together with him, I looked around inside the caves. Eagerly he told me several things about Hinduism. One of his statement I highlighted most is, "Hindu is not a religion. It's a way of life."


Interior of Batu Caves
We had a look inside the cave. The temple complex consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, has a very high ceiling and features ornate Hindu shrines. Naveen spared a time for a while to pray in one of the temple.

The bride and groom
We came back to the altar once it was crowded by other visitors. The bride and groom had been ready also there. I was so excited for seeing a real Hindu India marriage procession (that I used to see in Bollywood movies). But later on I knew that it was only for movie setting LOL.

The Dark Cave
Below the Temple Cave is the Dark Cave, with rock formations and a number of animals found nowhere else. It is a two-kilometer network of relatively untouched caverns. Stalactites jutting from the cave's ceiling and stalagmites rising from the floor form intricate formations such as cave curtains, flow stones, cave pearls and scallops which took thousands of years to form. In order to maintain the cave's ecology, access is restricted. The Malaysian Nature Society organises regular educational and adventure trips to the Dark Caves.

The square full of doves
Having felt enough of sight seeing, we step down the hill. The square in the foothill was crowded by doves a bit similar with one in San Marco in Venice. Somehow 'paint My Love' by MLTR crossed my mind when seeing that scene. And before leaving the temple, kindly Naveen treat me a fresh coconut which sellers mushrooming around there.From Batu Caves, Naveen and I took the same commuter train to reach KL Sentral. We parted there. Naveen continued his day trip around KL. While me, I should go back to take my bag in Shangri-la and continue my trip to Penang as per I had planned.

Good bye Naveen! Thanks for your companion and sharing. May we meet again someday :)

---L---