Batu Caves

So the Rambler has been on a bit of a hiatus lately. I haven’t been regularly posting for a couple reasons: one, I’m now freelancing full-time, which means by the end of the day I’m usually tired of staring at a computer and making words appear onscreen. Two, since our trip to Indonesia, I’ve mostly just been writing…which means I don’t have a whole lot of interesting things to write about. While living in a foreign country is totally awesome and affords me many opportunities I normally wouldn’t have, I still have a pretty normal routine of eat/sleep/work on most days. Not exactly the most compelling blog material. However, since I do love keeping this blog, I’m going to try to do some more posts about day-to-day life in Malaysia that hopefully will not bore you all to tears.

That said, the past week has been amazing and I have lots of new things to share. Last weekend, I was able to sneak up to Kuala Lumpur to meet one of my very good friends, Hayley. Hayley was my radio co-host-turned-bestie in New Paltz, who I rather unfortunately had to let go after her study abroad was up. Since she lives in Australia, visits are few and far between. That said, I could not pass up an opportunity to rendezvous with her in KL.

What do you do with 24 hours in KL? We headed to the Batu Caves, an enormous Hindu shrine located about 8 miles north of KL and easily accessed by train from KL Sentral. One look at the entrance to the caves, and you understand why people chose this as their place of worship.

Upon entering the complex, you’re greeted by this guy:

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That is the Hindu god Hanuman, who is a vanara – a “monkey-like humanoid.” (Thanks, Wikipedia). You’ll later understand why they chose to place him in the entryway to the complex. 

After a short walk down the pathway, you’ll notice two things: another, even bigger statue and far too many stairs. 

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That is the statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war, victory, wisdom and love (quite the overachiever). A deity in charge of so many things deserves the biggest Hindu statue in Malaysia, which also happens to be the second-largest Hindu statue in the world. Standing at 140 feet, they needed 79 gallons of gold paint to beautify him. 

And what’s that behind Murugan? 272 steps, to be exact. Someone wasn’t thrilled…

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I promise that the climb is well worth it. Once you reach the top, you’ll meet some furry friends:

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These little guys are everywhere, hence the monkey-god-humanoid statue you see when you first come in. Since tourists come here all the time, they’re very used to people (and used to people feeding them). They’ll happily accept anything you want to give them, but I witnessed more than a few become aggressive if they noticed someone taking their picture.

It was hard to capture just how cavernous and beautiful these caves were (because caves are, ya know, dark and whatnot). Here are my valiant attempts:

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Okay, so maybe I took more photos of monkeys than of the shrines themselves, but they were so cute. Except they are apparently known to steal sunglasses and cameras from tourists, and return them only when given a piece of fruit. 

The Batu Caves take about 40 minutes to reach from KL Sentral. Even if you only have a couple days in the city, make sure you get here.

Oh, and don’t forget to rehydrate with a fresh coconut on the way out! You deserve it after all those stairs. 

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