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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Malaysia: Batu Cave Temple and the World's Tallest Murugan Statue


I believe almost all visitors of Kuala Lumpur won't miss Batu Cave, next to the Petronas Twin Towers. I was doubly excited to visit this karst-formed Batu Caves when it was featured as a photographic location of the 2014 Asia's Next Top Model (By the way, the Malaysian won and her two runners-up are both Filipinos). This is a Hindu temple first and a tourist attraction next. But contrary to my high expectations, I was dismayed by the dirty stairs and floors. While I know that caves are supposed to be bat-inhabited and dim and unswept, at least I expected Batu Cave to be clean and well-lit given the temple and shrines in the interior of the cave. In the ANTM episode, I saw a newly-painted, well-lit and decently clean stairs, so I had these in my mind. At any rate, this did not stop me from climbing the Temple or Cathedral Cave. 


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But despite its apparent uncleanliness (good thing, we need not remove our shoes), further readings on this religious site silenced me from clamoring more: Batu Cave in Kuala Lumpur is an important Hindu place of worship among pilgrims. 

Wikipedia narrates its history as follows: Batu Cave was promoted as a place of worship by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader. He was inspired by the 'vel'-shaped entrance of the main cave and was inspired to dedicate a temple to Lord Murugan within the caves. In 1890, Pillai, who also founded the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur, installed the murti (consecrated statue) of Sri Murugan Swami in what is today known as the Temple Cave. (Wikipedia)


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Pigeons are all around.

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Some flowers for the Hindu gods.

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'Lord Murugan Statue' (Tamil : முருகன் சிலை ; Bahasa Malaysia : Tugu Dewa Murugga ) is the tallest statue of Hindu deity in Malaysia and second tallest statue of Hindu deity in world, only second place to the Kailashnath Mahadev Statue in Nepal. It also the tallest statue in Malaysia at 42.7 metres (140 ft) in height. It located at the Sir Murugan Perumal Kovil at the foot of Batu Caves. It took 3 years of construction and unveiled in January 2006 during Thaipusam festival. (Wikipedia)

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Murugan or Kartikeya (also called Subramanya, Subramani, Muruga, Karthikeyan, Shanmughan and Shanmukha) is the Hindu god of war, victory, wisdom and love. He is Commander of the gods. Son of the lord Shiva and Parvati, his brother is Ganesha and his wives are Valli and Deivayanai.

Murugan is worshiped primarily in areas with Tamil influences, especially South India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore and Reunion Island. His six most important shrines in India are the Arupadaiveedu temples, located in Tamil Nadu. In Sri Lanka, Hindus as well as Buddhists revere the sacred historical Nallur Kandaswamy temple in Jaffna and Katirkāmam Temple (also known as "Katharagama Devalaya" in Sinhala) situated deep south.[1] Indians in Malaysia also pray to Lord Murugan at the Batu Caves and various temples where Thaipusam is celebrated with grandeur.

In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, He is known as Subrahmanya with a temple at Kukke Subramanya known for Sarpa shanti rites dedicated to Him and another famous temple at Ghati Subramanya also in Karnataka. In Bengal and Odisha, he is popularly known as Kartikeya (meaning 'son of Krittika').[2] Murugan is most popular amongst the Tamil people who revere Him as Thamizh Kadavul which means 'God of Tamils'. (Wikipedia)

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Opened in 2006, this World's Tallest Murugan Statue is made of 250 tons of Steel bars, 1,550 cubic meters of Concrete, and 300 liters of gold paint used to build this statue.

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Since 1892, the Thaipusam festival in the Tamil month of Thai (which falls in late January/early February) has been celebrated there. Wooden steps up to the Temple Cave were built in 1920 and have since been replaced by 272 concrete steps. Of the various cave temples that comprise the site, the largest and best known is the Temple or Cathedral Cave, so named because it houses several Hindu shrines beneath its high vaulted ceiling. (Wikipedia)

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This is the spot where the ANTM 2014 had a pictorial. In that episode, the statues were surely added and the lightings are great. While I wonder why they allow secular activity inside the cave, I realized that the temple below (see next photo) are specially set up for the pilgrims to pray and do their rituals.

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This photo is taken inside the Cathedral cave in a specially built open-sided temple. It appeared to me at the time I took this photo that the pilgrims were reenacting a story, but I am not sure on that one. This experience was an opportunity to observe a Hindu place of worship.

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