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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

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Approximately seven miles from Kuala Lumpur dwells Malaysia's tallest Hindu deity statue, and the second tallest in the world at 140 feet, the Lord Murugan Statue—second, only to the 143-foot-tall Kailashnath Mahadev in Sanga, Nepal. The giant gilded deity guards 400-million-year-old limestone formations and a 100-year old Hindu temple.

Recently, however, visitors are flocking to see the religious site’s newly painted staircase, which was redesigned in early August of this year. 

Each of the 272 steps leading to the caves has been coated in a vibrant hue. The gradient design, featuring shades of blue, green, red, and more, creates a striking scene evocative of India’s brightly colored Hindu celebrations. Vivid and dynamic, this fresh coat of paint further animates its bustling surroundings. The steps now seem to compliment visitors’ multicolor sarees and give the local monkeys’ antics an appropriately whimsical backdrop.

The Batu Caves’ extraordinary new paint job was done in preparation for Kumbhabhishekam, or consecration festival, which happens every twelve years and fell this year on August 21st. The temple and its surroundings, including the staircase and entryway arch, typically get cleaned and freshly painted.

This year, however, rather than coat the staircase in the expected shades of red and white, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam trustee Datuk Sivakumar Nadarajah decided to go a different direction with the temple's refresh. The result of this decision is as striking as the temple trustee's decision to stray from tradition. 

In addition to being a bright and photogenic scene, The Batu Caves themselves are comprised of several limestone caves as well as the Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave. The latter two caves, which rest at the foot of Batu Hill, are home to a number of Hindu statues and paintings, making this experience an absolutely necessary stop for any culture traveler heading to Malaysia.


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