Planning a visit to Malaysia? The first thing to do is apply for a Malaysia visa. Go to their website and follow the steps given. Once you apply, you may need to make a personal appearance at their office as per their requirements. After a short wait, the Malaysian Visa will reach you.
Malaysia is a beautiful country and there are many places of interest for tourists. But one of the most popular tourist destinations is the Murugan Temple at the Batu Caves. This is a limestone hill with caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. The Batu Caves Lord Murugan temple is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. It is a pilgrimage center for South Indians.
History: The Batu Caves is a limestone hill with a series of caves and is said to be 400 million old. It was promoted as a place of worship of Murugan in 1890 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian Tamil trader, on seeing the Vel (divine spear – the weapon of Lord Murugan) shaped entrance of the main cave. Since 1892 the annual Thaipusam festival has been celebrated here.
Description: There are 272 concrete steps leading to the biggest cave, which is the temple cave, and they have been painted in different colors to add a gorgeous approach to the temple. The temple complex consists of three main caves and some smaller caves. The biggest one is Lord Murugan’s temple cave. The height of the ceiling here is 400m from the ground level. The other caves are at the bottom of the hill, of which one is an art gallery and the other is the Museum cave. Both these caves have numerous Hindu statues and paintings. The paintings depict the story of the war and victory of Lord Murugan over the demon, Soorapadman.
Then there is the Ramayana cave, situated on the extreme left. There is a 50 ft statue of Hanuman and a temple dedicated to him on the way to the Ramayana cave. You will love the way the story of Lord Rama is depicted on the walls of this cave. The cave is well lit and allows you to familiarize yourself with the story of Lord Ram, as all the statues and paintings are arranged to narrate the story.
The Statue: The 140 ft statue of Lord Murugan was unveiled in 2006, and it is the largest Lord Murugan statue in the world. The statue was constructed using concrete and painted in gold color. It took three years to be completed.
The Dark Cave: Below the temple cave is the Dark Cave, which is a two-kilometer network of relatively untouched caverns. You will find an abundance of plants and animals that are specialized for the limestone environment in these caves. You can admire the intricate formations made by stalactites and stalagmites. Access is restricted here to preserve the ecology and some of the endangered species of spiders. Those interested can approach the Malaysian Nature Society for an adventure or educational trip to the Dark Caves.
The Festival: Thaipoosam is a grand festival observed all over the Hindu world. Celebrating the victory of good over evil, this festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the Tamil month Thai (mid-January to mid-February). Lord Murugan’s devotees carry the “Kavadi” which is the offering of milk. The kavadi is decorated with flowers and peacock feathers. They may even pierce their body with the “vel”. The devotees loudly and continuously chant “Vel Vel” etc. as they make their way up the steps to the main temple to submit their offerings. The priests attend to the devotees in the temple, and thus the devotees fulfill the wow taken for Lord Murugan.
Some Tips for a Good Visit: It is better to visit the temple in the early mornings to avoid the heat and the crowd. Carry an umbrella with you to protect yourself from the sun or rain. Also, carry drinking water. Women must wear clothes covering the legs or will have to rent a sarong, which will be a waste of money. There are monkeys around, so be careful with your belongings. You can buy souvenirs from the shops at the bottom and should bargain to get a good deal.
When you visit the 100-year-old temple that is not only a popular tourist destination but also a pilgrimage center, you realize the power of human determination and faith. It is faith that brings millions of Hindu pilgrims from all over the world to visit Lord Murugan in this cave temple. You realize the power of determination when you think of one man’s vision to build a temple in the caves of this limestone hill.