The Batu Caves temple is one of the top things to do when visiting Kuala Lumpur. The 272 colorfully painted steps are situated inside a massive limestone cliff which lead up to a hidden cave temple. Guarding this iconic and important Hindu temple is the monumental statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu God of War, painted in gold.
Follow this complete guide to find out everything you need to know about visiting the Batu Caves temple in Malaysia.
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What is the Batu Caves and What is it Famous For?
The Batu Caves temple is a famous pilgrimage sight and is the largest Hindu temple outside of India. Millions of visitors (Hindus and tourist) come to the Batu Caves yearly to climb the vibrant steps and admire the unique cave shrine.
At the base of the stairs is the imposing, 140 foot tall gilded monument of Lord Murugan. Erected in 2006, this monumental statue which guards the colorful steps is now an integral part of the Batu Caves temple.
Thaipusam is an annual holy festival that happens in February and celebrates the Hindu deity Lord Murugan. During this time, Tamil Hindus from all around the world flock to the Batu Caves to honor the God of War and climb up the steps to the shrine within the temple cave.
How old are the Batu Caves?
The Batu Caves first originated in 1891 when Malaysian leader, K. Thamboosamy Pillai set his sights on the location. He noticed a remarkable resemblance of the entrance to the cave to that of Lord Murugan’s spear and decided to create a place of worship for the Hindu God of War.
The limestone cliffs that engulf the cave temple is said to be around 400 million years old.
Originally, there were no steps that led up to the cave temple until 1920 when wooden steps were installed. Today the steps are made out of brightly painted concrete which lead all the way up to the top of the cave temple.
How Many Steps are there at the Batu Caves?
From the bottom of the climb to the entrance to the cave temple there are 272 rainbow colored stairs. How long it takes to climb the Batu Caves depends entirely on your fitness level.
It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to climb the entire length of the Batu Caves. The stairs are slightly steep and the climate can get pretty hot and humid so take that into consideration as well.
Unfortunately there is no other option to reach the top of the stairs for those with mobility issues. However, there is still plenty to see from the bottom of the steps.
What is Inside the Batu Caves Temple?
There are three different caves that are located inside the massive limestone cliff. These are the Batu Temple Cave, the Dark Cave and the Ramayana Cave. These are all separate caverns within the large cave at the top of the stairs. Beneath the stalagtites within the cave you will find elaborate Hindu shrines as well as art depicting stories and tales from Hindu legends.
Most visitors will only enter the Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave. This cavern is filled with several Hindu shrines and more notably its’ 100 meter high vaulted ceiling.
If you want to go inside the Dark Cave you will need to set up a guided tour which lasts for around 45 minutes. During the tour you will learn about the history or the temple and geological information about the surrounding areas.
Where are the Batu Caves Temple?
The Batu Caves are a famous Hindu religious site located just 9 miles north of Kuala Lumpur. They are situated in the Gombak District of Malaysia.
How to Get to the Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur- KL Sentral
How to Get There by Taxi
The distance from Kuala Lumpur Sentral to the Batu Caves is about 15 km (~9 miles). It will take about 20-30 minutes to reach the recognizable cave temple depending on traffic.
Since the Batu Caves are located slightly outside of the city center, the easiest and most convenient way to get there is by using GRAB. The journey will cost about $5-10 USD depending on the time of day.
How to Get There by Train
If you want to use the public transportation system to get to the Batu Caves then the best option will be to take the train. This will be cheaper than a GRAB or taxi unless you have multiple people to share a ride with. The train takes about 45 minutes to reach the Batu Caves.
There are daily trains that run every 30 minutes from just before 7 AM to just after 10 PM. You will take the KTM Komuter train from KL Sentral (the main train station in KL) to the Batu Caves station.
Once you enter the KL Sentral Station you can purchase your train ticket. The ticket prices are around 2 RM ($0.50 USD) per person. Additionally, there is always someone there who can help you if you are confused as to where to buy your ticket.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
The best time to visit the Batu Caves is around sunrise. If you arrive just as the sun is rising you will avoid the large crowds of visitors who start to show up around 9:00 AM.
By arriving early you will also avoid the hotter temperature and increased humidity. Plus there is very little shade on the stairs so you won’t want to be there in the middle of the day.
The Batu Caves are open daily from 7 AM to 7 PM.
How Long Should You Visit the Batu Caves?
Once you arrive at the Batu Caves you should plan on staying for around 2-3 hours. The Batu Caves are a beautiful place to visit but there isn’t much else to do around the area.
If you are trying to plan an itinerary for Kuala Lumpur then I would allocate at least 3 hours to see the caves including travel time.
Is there an Entrance Fee at the Batu Caves?
Currently it is free to see and climb the colorful stairs of the Batu Caves. However if you’d like to enter the temple at the base of the limestone mountain it is recommended to leave a small donation.
But you can easily climb all the way up to the top of the stairs and go inside the cave before entering the actual temple. I definitely recommend entering as it is very unique and beautiful inside.
What Should You Wear?
The Batu Caves is a Hindu religious site and therefore a respectful dress code should be followed. Men and women should not wear any short or revealing clothing during their visit to the Batu Caves. It is also advised to cover your shoulders when entering the temple inside the cave.
Is It Worth Going to the Batu Caves?
Yes, it is absolutely worth going to the Batu Caves! You can easily add a trip here during your time in Kuala Lumpur. If you are looking for more ideas of things to do and see in Kuala Lumpur you can check out this guide!
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