Batu Caves Temple, located in Gombak district, about 13km from the Kuala Lumpur city centre, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Murugan. The temple, which is a top tourist attraction in Malaysia, is also home to the world’s tallest Murugan statue. The outstanding gold painted statue stands 140ft tall and is located on the right of the 272 concrete steps that lead to three large caves. The statue was built in 2006. On the left, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, worshipped by the Hindus as the Remover of Obstacles. Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan are brothers and the sons of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer, and Goddess Parvati, Goddess of Fertility, Strength and Power. According to well-known scholar Ziauddin Sardar, the phrase “Batu Caves” is a collective name given to "a closed ecosystem of caves" which include the temple cave, the Dark Cave, the Museum cave, Fallen caves, Sakai cave and the Quarry caves (p.352) . The writer claims it was first discovered in 1879 by Captain H. C. Syers, the first Superintendent of Police in Selangor. Others claim that Batu Caves was discovered by American explorer William Hornaby in 1881 . In the pre-historic days, the limestone cave was inhabited by the indigenous people, known as orang asli. In the early 1860s, Chinese immigrants began to arrive and started to harvest guano, accumulated fertiliser made of bird droppings, from the caves in order to fertilise their vegetables. However, the cave was turned into a place of worship by an Indian trader, K. Thamboosamy Pillai, after the installation of a small statue of Lord Murugan in 1892. It is believed that the late Mr. Pillai was inspired by the shape of the cave, which resembled a vel. A vel is a divine spear carried by Lord Murugan, the Commander-in-Chief of the celestial army. Other attractions within the compound of Batu Caves Temple include the Ramayana Cave, the Hanuman Temple and the Venkateswara Temple. Batu Caves Temple is the focal point of the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam, when thousands flock to the temple to offer Kavadi to Lord Murugan as thanksgiving.
In this Learning Experience, you will learn that while weathering and erosion (beyond the scope of this LE) can deteriorate limestone caves, the same geological processes are also responsible for creating some of the most beautiful limestone landforms in the world. This Learning Experience is suitable for learners Year 1 to Year 3. Note: The reflection phase will take place under Point B.