‘It is huge’, was the first thought that came to my mind as soon as the enormity of the main cave came into full view. I had been to other lime-stone caves in the past, like the Mawsmai Caves in Cherrapunjee and to be honest, I had expected something similar here as well. But to my surprise, these caves were so huge that it actually took us 272 steep steps, which is around half-an-hour’s climb including a handful of stops, to make it to the top, from where the actual cave can be accessed. Which involves again going down on the inside of the cave after you are at the top.
Before we started walking down inside the cave we decided to sit down for some time to relax and take-in the view, if only the crazy monkeys let us do that, that is. They kept a close eye on every person going up and down the steps. Anything resembling food in anyone’s hand was promptly pounced upon and snatched away. Thankfully, we had nothing to be worried about on this front for all we had with us a water bottle.
From almost a hundred meters above the ground everything looked tiny apart from the 140 feet tall statue of Hindu deity Murugan. Watching this world’s tallest Murugan statue, which I learned was painted in 300 liters of gold (!!!) I couldn’t help but think if it was the best use such an insane amount of gold was put to? Could it have been used for something more… ! The Menara KL and the Twin towers stared at us from a distance as we got up to proceed inside the cave.
As you walk into the cave complex, you can almost immediately feel the drop in temperature, the lack of sunlight and a very mild smell of lime-stone, similar to what I had experienced in the caves in Cherrapunjee. On the way to the main temple inside the cave, we noticed various other temples perched on the sides of the cave-walls, some dedicated to a deity while some seemed to depict some significant event(s) from the past. We realized how huge the place was only when we were right in the center of the main cave. The temples that would have been otherwise considered big enough, felt negligible in size compared to the size of place. Huge limestone-droppings hanged from the top making the place look surreal.
The Batu caves being a religious place, I had expected big crowd here but thankfully that was not the case. Not that there was no crowd at all but majority of the people who were there were basically camera-totting tourists (just like me 😉 ) . One selfie-here, one photo there and then they were on their way to whatever interested them next. No crowding one particular place.
We spent a good couple of hours there before we finally walked out of the caves on our way back. There were couple of caves more there but we did not feel much inclined to visit them. They were smaller versions of what we had already seen and had nothing special to offer and because they too had their share of temples and seemed a little crowded, we chose not to visit them.
If you are in Kuala Lumpur and have half a day free, keeping half a day to visit the Batu caves is a good idea. It actually is a nice place and well worth the time. It is well-connected to the capital city by road and the rail. On our way to the caves, we had taken an Uber (Uber has excellent service in Malaysia) and on our way back, we took the Komuter (more on that below).
How to Reach Batu caves from Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral)
By Road: You can hire a cab or Uber from anywhere in Kuala Lumpur. We paid less than 17 Ringgit (around Rs. 275/- INR) and it took us less than half an hour.
By Train: If you want to opt for a cheaper (but in no way less comfortable) mode of transport, you take the Komuter. The train runs every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes during off-peak hours and takes around 15 minutes to cover the distance of 17 kilometers. And the best part, one way fare is RM 2.5!
Have you been to the Batu caves in KL? How did you like it?