Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Little Cave? Batu Caves

Where to? This was Jack's question to me that morning. I told him we were to go to the Theme Parks. He suggested that we go to the
Batu Caves but I have gone there the other day. By the way, Jack is my teksi (taxi) driver. Cool guy, that Jack. My driver, my tour guide, my photographer, my friend, but no discount on the taxi fare, Miss. Ouch!

You know what happened after we went to the parks of Kuala Lumpur? I decided to return to the Batu Caves. There is something about the place that draws me back. To the bat cave . . .

The place is the focal point of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia. In 2007, the festival attracted more than 1.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the largest gatherings in history.

The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan, ayan siya (that's him on the photo). The entrance, with the Murugan golden statue towering at 42.7 m high, was built in 1891 at Gombak district, Selangor.

Below the Temple Cave is the Dark Cave, with its amazing rock formations. It is a two-kilometer network of relatively untouched caverns. Both stalactites jutting from the cave's ceiling and stalagmites rising from the floor, which took thousands of years to form, shape intricate patterns like cave curtains, flow stones, cave pearls and scallops.

Wooden steps up to the Temple Cave were built in 1920 and have since been replaced by 272 concrete steps. Of the various cave temples that comprise the site, the largest and best known is the Temple or Cathedral Cave, so named because it houses several Hindu shrines beneath its 100 m vaulted ceiling. My target then was to be able to climb all the way up the 272 steps in the shortest time while staying alive. (Tipong Kamay ni Hesus steps ito sa Lukban, Quezon, 292 steps naman). Go Girl . . .

The limestone hill, which has a series of caves and cave temples got its name from the Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows past the hill. (Aba more than 400 million years old ito, hindi na bata. Kaya pala "Batu" caves at hindi "Bata" caves). The hill is more than 400 million years old.

It is also the center of rock climbing development in Malaysia for the past 10 years with more than 160 climbing routes. Sayang, I was not able to try rock-climbing, stairs climbing lang.

To welcome you and bid you farewell are the Cynomolgus monkeys at the steps of Batu Caves, waiting for visitors to feed them.
(Other places I went: Safari, Genting, Malacca City
A' Famosa, Melaka)

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. Seneca

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