Batu caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Batu Caves: Everything You Need To Know

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Batu Caves is one of the most celebrated Hindu temples outside India. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva. The pilgrim site is located at Selangor, a 30-minute drive from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This guide describes everything you need to know about the Batu Caves, including its significance, the Thaipuram festival, the golden statue of Lord Muruga, and so much more.

Complete Guide to Batu Caves

Caves, Statues, & Colored Stairs

Murugan statue at Batu caves

Batu Caves is also known as “10th Hill” or “Pathu Veedu” in Tamil. An Indian Tamil trader, K. Thamboosamy Pillai, recognized the temple as a place of worship and installed the Murti, or consecrated statue.

The  43 m or 140 feet high, golden-colored statue of Lord Murugan was completed in 2006 after three years of construction. It is one of the tallest Murugan statues in the world.

Batu caves - complete travel guide

The wooden steps to the caves, originally built in 1920, were later replaced by concrete stairs in 1940. Today, about 272 concrete stairs will lead you to the top of the cave temple. The stairs were painted in vibrant colors in 2018. The steps are fairly easy to climb, with railings for support. But carrying water bottles with you is a good idea, especially if you have kids. 

Thaipusam Festival

Thaipusam festival at Batu Caves, Malaysia

Thaipusam is a Hindu Tamil festival celebrated on the first full moon day of the Tamil month of Thai, coinciding with the Pusam star in Hindu astrology. It generally falls in late January/ early February. The festival is celebrated as the day Lord Murugan emerged victorious in his battle over the demon Surapadman. The demon was said to have been vanquished using a vel, or divine spear, granted by his mother, Goddess Parvati.

The vibrant festival involves a lot of drums and most of the devotees dressed up in yellow color. A part of the festival includes ritual practices of carrying a Kavadi (a semi-circular carrier decorated with flowers and peacock feathers) on the shoulders of the devotees or carrying containers of cow milk called Paal Kudam as an offering to Lord Murugan. Some devotees also pierce their skin, tongue, or cheeks with vel or skewers. After bathing in a nearby river, Sungau Batu, the devotees holding their possessions make their way up to the cave temple at the top.

Special poojas and events are performed to the deity throughout the day. The events at the Thaipusam festival and the Batu Cave Temple are beautifully captured in a popular Kollywood song. Watch this four-minute song to experience how vibrant the festival is.

The Base Temples

Architecture of the Ganesha temple located at the base
Interiors of Lord Ganesh Temple

There are a lot of temples located on either side of the caves, such as,

  • Sri Aru Padai Murugan Sannathi or Lord Murugan Temple
  • Vinayakar Sannathi or Lord Ganesh Temple
  • Meenakshi Amman Sannathi
  • Anchaneyar Sannathi or Lord Hanuman Temple
  • Sri Alarmel Manga Samedha Sri Vengadajalapathy Temple

The Hill Top Temples

Inside look of the Batu caves and Velayuthar Swamy temple
Sri Velayuthar Swamy Temple

There are three main temples situated at the hilltop.

  • Sri Idumban Temple
  • Sri Velayuthar Swamy Main Temple 
  • Sri Valli Theivanai Subramaniyar Sannathi or the Lord Murugan Temple

The first temple you’ll reach after climbing the colored stairs is Sri Idumban Temple beside the small statue of Lord Murugan under an umbrella. A large and spacious cave shelter opens up when you go a few steps down. There is a heavy smell of bats. The Sri Velayuthar Swamy Temple is on your left, welcoming you with two beautiful peacock statues at the entrance.

Lord Murugan temple or Sri Valli Theivanai Subramaniyar Sannathi, Batu caves
Sri Valli Theivanai Subramaniyar Temple

Sri Valli Theivanai Subramaniyar Temple can be reached after climbing 58 more steps. With his two wives, the Lord Subramaniyar or Murugan can be worshipped. Beside the temple at the corner, you can see the stalactites, stalagmites, and other rock formations.

You can also do pooja with coconut and fruits, light a ghee lamp, and get offerings or prasadam. These are chargeable services done at the temple. You also need to pay for the Kavadi and the Paal Kudam services.

Timings & Entry Fee

Batu Caves is open from 6 AM to 9 PM on all days. You can enter the Batu Caves for free. No entry fee is charged for the visitors.

Although the colored stairs and the caves are accessible from morning until night, the pilgrim sites inside the Batu Caves are open only during specific times. Also, note that the timings are subject to change during festival days.

  • Temple Timings: from 6:45 AM to 1 PM, from 3:15 PM to 8:30 PM
  • Abishegam at base temples: 6:30 AM and 5 PM
  • Abishegam at hilltop temples: 7:30 AM and 4 PM
  • Pooja at base temples: 7 AM and 5:30 PM
  • Pooja at hilltop temples: 8 AM and 4:30 PM
Pooja items sold at the temple

Parking Facilities

A large paid parking space is available. Cars are charged RM 2, and buses and other heavy vehicles are charged RM 10.

Restroom Availability

Paid restrooms are available at the base. The restrooms are well-maintained and kept clean.

Best Time to Visit Batu Caves

View of the Murugan statue from the top

Batu Caves can be visited throughout the year. The best time to visit is during the early hours before 10 AM and post-noon hours after 4 PM when the weather is not hot and humid. Expect a huge crowd during the Thaipusam festival, which falls in late January/ early February every year.

Since Batu Caves is a popular tourist attraction, it gets very crowded. To avoid the crowds, plan your visit early, around 6 or 7 AM.

How to Reach Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur?

By Train

The KTM Komuter Seremban line runs between KL Sentral and the Batu Caves. It is the most affordable and the easiest way to reach the Batu Caves. The Komuter train is not very frequent, running once every one or two hours. You can check the timings at the official website. We highly recommend you choose the Komuter train to visit the Batu caves due to its ease and comfort.

By Road

There are no direct public buses from Kuala Lumpur city to the Batu Caves. You might have to change buses en route. Google Maps will guide you with the bus number, bus station name, and route.

You can also use taxi services like “Grab” (similar to Uber) to reach the Batu Caves. If you have a car or a two-wheeler, you can reach Batu Caves easily by road.

Where to Eat?

Numerous dine-in restaurants, sweets, and snack shops are close to Batu Caves. Fresh juices, ice cream, tender coconut, sweets, and Indian restaurants are available nearby.

Dress Code

As a religious site, Batu Caves requires a strict dress code. You cannot climb the rainbow staircases if you fail to cover your knees and shoulders. Overpriced shawls are sold at the counter for RM 15. Men are allowed to wear shorts. 

You can wear footwear while climbing up the stairs. But when you enter the place of worship, you’ll have to remove the footwear outside. “Remove your shoes” signs can be seen at the entrances.

Monkeys & Doves

There are monkeys everywhere in the Batu Caves. They are notorious for snatching belongings, especially food and drinks. So it is better to carry food in a backpack. Be careful, and do not feed them. Learn how to deal with the monkeys. Many doves can be seen flying around in front of the colored stairs at all times. You can feed the doves.

Hair Donation & Ear Piercing

Hair donation area

Hindu rituals of hair donation and ear piercing are performed at Batu Caves. Towards the right side of the Batu Caves, where the shops are lined up, you can see guided directions for the hair donation. RM 25 per person is charged for hair donation. For ear piercing, RM 30 is charged. Head shaving is done for kids and adults at RM 20 and RM 25, respectively.

Cave Villa & Art Gallery

The paintings in the cave narrate the story of Lord Murugan’s victory over the demon Surapadman. There are several statues of gods and goddesses inside the cave. You can also see some caged animals and reptiles, which we don’t endorse. 

  • Entry Fee: RM 5 per person

Ramayana Cave

The Ramayana Cave depicts the story of Lord Rama along its irregular walls. It is located close to the KTM railway station. On the way to the Ramayana Cave, you can also see a 15-meter (50-foot)- tall statue of Hanuman, a devotee of Lord Rama, and a temple dedicated to Hanuman. 

Rock Climbing at Batu Caves

Rock climbing is popular in the Karst limestone rocks in the Batu Caves. These climbing routes start from the northeastern side of the cave complex, whereas the rainbow staircase and temple entrance face South. The routes cater to all levels, from beginners to advanced. MIR Adventures Batu Caves Climbing and Gua Damai Extreme Park are two companies where you can learn or rent equipment for rock climbing. There are a few more companies in the area.

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