Batu Caves is located at Gambak, North of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Batu Caves are situated thirteen kilometers (seven miles) north of the capital city Kuala Lumpur. Batu Caves is a limestone hill. They consist of three main caves and a number of smaller ones. Batu Caves is takes name from the Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows past the hill(Batu Caves). The near by stay place or town is also call Batu Caves.
Batu Caves is one of the most famous Hindu festival of Thaipusam places in Malaysia.
The caves are made of limestone and 400 meters long and 100 meter high. They were discovered in 1892. You have to climb 272 steps, which will lead you to the religious and magnificent Batu Caves
The Thaipusam Festival
The Thaipusam festival. Once a year they celebrate the Thaipusam festival in the Batu Caves. It's a celebration for the son of Shiva (Subramaniam) and the becoming "one" of Pusan and the Brihaspati stars.
Every year, on Thaipusam, as many as 800,000 devotees and other visitors may throng the caves. As a form of penance or sacrifice, many of them carry kavadis (literally, "burden," such as a pitcher or jug). These are large, brightly decorated frameworks, usually combined with various metal hooks and skewers which are used to pierce the skin, cheeks and tongue.
By doing this penance they expect some favours from their Gods. The festival is held in the tenth month of the Hindu calendar (mostly the end of January).
The procession starts on the evening before the Thaipusam festival at the Sri Mariamman Temple in the town centre of Kuala Lumpur. By doing penance they want to extort some favours from the Gods.
The kavadis is placed on the shoulders of the devotee. The kavadis represents a miniature shrine. Women carry a silver jug full of milk on their heads, some are pierced through their cheeks and tongues and others not. Chains are dropped from the central body of the kavadis and hooked onto the flesh of the bearer. The length of the spears had to be limited to a metre in consideration for other devotees. Others hook limes, oranges or coconuts onto their bodies. They are always accompanied by an entourage of relatives and friends to make them enthusiastic with dance parades, songs, musicians playing the drums and the flutes. As they arrive at the shrine at the Batu Caves, the Swami removes the hooks, spears etc. The vow is finally fulfilled.
Batu Caves Attraction
Every day there is a little celebration of a group of Hindus in the Batu Caves. Every time it's an imposing event, although there's no self torture.
Temple Cave or Cathedral Cave is he best known and biggest of the caves. It's visited by many devotees. The ceiling is 100 m above the ground and this huge chamber is lighted by daylight from several holes in the ceiling.
At the end of the caves you can see the bright sky, when you look above you.
If you go up the stairs, you can meet a lot of long tailed-macaque monkeys and if you have peanuts with you, they'll climb to you as I won't consider recommending. You might fall though. You can take photo's of them, carrying their babies for the peanuts. There are locals in the entrance, who will approach you to buy peanuts!
Long tailed-macaque monkeys: they love peanuts, but they love crisps also !
Bus Nr 70 and 349 are leaving from Lebuh Pudu (in China Town) every 30 minutes. Journey is about 45 min! Open daily from 7 to 21h!