Under thundery skies we take the Komuter train from KL Sentral Staion (sic) out to BATU CAVES for US 70c, 13 kilometres north of the city centre, which takes less than half an hour.
It’s free entry; we wander through the gates and past a magnificent 15-metre green statue of Hanuman the trickster monkey, past a pond full of the biggest goldfish I have ever seen, past Indian sweet stalls filled with multi-coloured sweet and sticky looking tidbits then stand in awe before a 140-foot golden statue of Lord Muruga standing magnificently in front of a steep flight of 272 steps that lead to a huge, sacred cathedral cave.
This Temple cave has a massive 100-meter high vaulted ceiling, filled with dripping stalactites and cheeky monkeys, where a constant stream of tourists and devotees with craned necks are awestruck and commenting on the beautifully crafted colourful statues of sacred cows, Shiva, Ganesh and other such deities of the Hindu religion.
Amidst the crowing of a righteous rooster and the constant flash of tourist cameras in the 400 million year old limestone cave, there is a seated swami swathed in yellow fabric with the longest wrap of hair tucked around his waist, an orange-clad monk looking at ice-creams and souvenirs in the trinket shop, monkeys raiding rubbish bins and all surrounded by dimly lit but intricately carved technicolour Hindu statues looking serene and happy, not sad and in pain and dark like the icons of the west.
Back down the steps we purchase a refreshing coconut which is deftly opened with a thwack whack of a machete wielding man; I ask him to hold up his hand to check he still has all his fingers!
Vegetarian lunch at Jain Indian of dumpling-like rolls and savoury crepes filled with spicy potatoes that we dip in a deliciously rich coconut sauce.
All in all a fabulous, easy and cheap day full of bright and beautiful colour, amazing photo opportunities, I thoroughly recommend a visit.