Only around a 30-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves is quite a draw with foreign tourists and locals alike. It’s a limestone hill made up of a number of caves and is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. Located right at the heart of Malaysia, the caves are also a symbol of multiculturalism in the predominantly Islamic state.
The massive golden statue that towers over the base of the hill is dedicated to Lord Muruganan and is the second biggest Hindu deity statue in the entire world. Upon reaching the top, that is after climbing some 280 steps and a few beads of sweat, a cave dotted with shrines, burning candles, and incense greets both casual visitors and the devotees.
Although the sights of so many colors, religious symbols, and the fact that its free of charge tend to appeal to a lot of people, I got the feeling that the Batu Caves is more of a religious site than a tourist attraction. It felt awkward taking photos and being all touristy while being surrounded by devotees who seemed so focused on their purpose. Moreover, seeing monkeys out and about rummaging through sightseers’ litter to stuff their puny bellies gave me the impression that the area is another case of us humans invading what’s meant to be theirs.
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