Batu Caves is a limestone hill thirteen kilometers north of KL. Dedicacated to Lord Murugan, the shrine inside is the largest Hindu temple in Malaysia and one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. It is the site of many Hindu festivals large and small which contribue to the massive amounts of visitors to Kuala Lumpur each year. Next to the entrance is a very tall gold-painted statue of Lord Murugan.

The entrance to the stairs is covered with ornate statues of Hindu gods.

The 272 stairs leading up to the caves are littered with monkeys. In my opinion they are adorable and awesome. It seemed the locals don’t think much of them.

The monkeys are very used to people, especially Westerners, bothering them and offering them food. I, like any tourist, was enamored with them and tried to get close for pictures.

One monkey looked thirsty to me (as if I know what a thirsty monkey looks like) and nearby there was a water bottle with a leak in the bottom so I offered it to him. I know this just looks like I’m watering down a monkey but he really did drink some of it. However, too much water splashed on his face and he bared his teeth at me. It was a little scary and I left the monkeys alone after that.

Inside the caves is a lot of open space, mostly in Cathedral Hall, and various shrines appear along the walls as well as a bigger open area at the back with a bigger shrine for ceremonies. There are stalactites on the walls and ceiling but not the pretty kind. It is nonetheless a very sacred place.

In the back hall we watched a Hindu ceremony while two musicians played some really cool beats on a clarinet and a clay jar drum. The man leading the ceremony washed out several jars and then constructed a statuette of a deity. I must confess that at this time I know very little about Hinduism or the particulars of what I witnessed. In due time I hope to learn much more, probably when I am in India.

Back outside we bought coconuts. This coconut vender seems to have unsolved waste management logistics issues.

Near the bathrooms some monkeys found a trashcan full of half-eaten food and had their way with it. Some took bags up to the roof of the adjacent building and tore them apart looking for meals. After a while a groundskeeper ran over to chase the monkeys away as they taunted and shrieked at him. It was a really funny scene to watch. Tourists love monkeys but they make messes more than do anything else so the locals get sick of them very fast.