Centrepiece of the Batu Caves complex and one of Malaysia's most photographed sights, Temple Cave sits atop 272 steps populated by scampering monkeys. Guarded by a 42.7m statue of Lord Murugan, erected in 2006 and said to be the world's largest, the dome-shaped cavern is the focal point of the yearly Thaipusam festival. Temple Cave has been a Hindu shrine since K Thambusamy Pillai, founder of KL's Sri Mahamariamman Temple, placed a statue of Lord Murugan here in 1890.
Temple Cave is actually two enormous caverns connected by a flight of stairs. Inside the first cavern, at the top of the stairs, Murugan’s six abodes are carved into the walls. The second cavern holds the temple of Valli Devanai, Murugan’s wife. Murugan, son of Shiva and the Hindu god of war, is widely worshipped in Hindu Tamil communities. Prayers are held at 8.30am and 4.30pm.
Hugely popular with visitors, Temple Cave is seldom a tranquil experience. It was even more clamorous than usual when we passed through, with construction works for new shrines in full swing.