The limestone Batu Caves were discovered in 1892, which was about the time when the Hindu temple was built atop 272 intimidating steps. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, of whom there is a resplendent 47-metre golden statue at the entrance, the 400 million years old Batu Caves is probably the most popular Hindu shrine in all of Malaysia.
If you think the statues outdoors look spectacular, wait till you're inside, where you'll see many, many more statues of deities and Hindu gods. Three main caves together with several smaller ones make up the phenomenon that is Batu Caves.
The Temple Cave or Cathedral Cave is the best known of all caves, probably because it's the first once you enter after your climb up. This huge chamber is best seen in daylight, when sunlight filters in from naturally formed holes in the 100-meter high ceiling. The Dark Cave, which is below the Temple Cave, requires a special permission from the Malaysian Nature Society if you wish to access it. It is 2,000 meters long and reportedly contains endemic cave animals. Lastly, the Gallery Cave, located at the footsteps of Temple Cave, is so named because it contains an art gallery. Here you can find more statues of deities as well as wall paintings showing well-known scenes from Hindu mythology.
A word to the wise. Hold on tight to your bags, cameras and other valuable belongings on your climb up to the entrance of the Batu Caves because the monkeys here are numerous, untamed and notorious for their mischief. It might sound cute now while you're reading this ("Oh, monkeys! How exotic and adorable!") but the reality is a whole other ballpark altogether.
Although the Batu Caves are 13km north of Kuala Lumpur, in the state of Selangor, a distance which puts off otherwise keen tourists, it is easily accessible thanks to the KTM Komuter, which stops right at the doorsteps of these magnificent limestone caves. Couple your trip to the Batu Caves with an excursion to the National Zoo or Zoo Negara, which is only a ten-minute metered taxi ride away.