During the first time I set foot in Malaysia back in 2010, we only had one day and between Melaka, Genting Highlands and the Batu Caves, we decided to play with the clouds. It was only during the month-long Southeast Asia backpacking trip that I made it to Melaka and to the Batu Caves, both thanks to my fried Rajie who took time off her busy schedule to tour me, Lalai and Tetet! 🙂 Anyway, Batu Caves, as the name suggests (in Tagalog, batu, well bato, means stone), is a series of caves and cave temples inside a limestone hill. Batu Caves is a popular tourist spot and Hindu temple site around 13kms north of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. The area is surrounded by birds feeding on corn kernels the visitors throw around and by a small pond of ducks and koi fish. You’d need to climb up about 8-10 floors worth of stairs, alongside monkeys that can be pretty violent when they see food, to get inside the caves and the temples. Rajie, at the time at least, was not a devout Hindu so we were not sure whether the stories of Kartikeya (the massive golden statue at the foot of the caves to which the cave temples are dedicated to), and his family (daddy = Shiva, mommy = Parvati, brother = Ganapathi) and the peacock he’s riding, were as accurate as the scripts or just made up bedtime stories! It was quite entertaining though. 🙂 After visiting the caves, you might want to relax your legs and knees a bit and stay a while by the small pond, watching the ducks and koi fish glide and swim. Or, you can also pay a visit to Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, farther on the left.
I spent the weekend on top of the world—well, on top of cliffs and mountain-plateaus to have better viewpoints of the Ajanta and Ellora caves, with the Kailash Temple as one of the highlights of my Aurangabad cave exploration!
Here’s a basic description of the Kailash Temple, according to Wikipedia: Kailashnath Temple, also Kailash Temple or Kailasanath Temple is a famous temple, one of the 34 monasteries and temples, known collectively as the Ellora Caves, extending over more than 2 km, that were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff in the complex located at Ellora, Maharashtra, India. Of these 34 monasteries and temples, the Kailasa (cave 16) is a remarkable example of Dravidian architecture on account of its striking proportion; elaborate workmanship architectural content and sculptural ornamentation of rock-cut architecture. It is designed to recall Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. It is a megalith carved out of one single rock. It was built in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I.
And, according to me, the Kailash Temple is a magnificent symbol of millennium-old awesomeness of Indian architecture, religion and culture. The entire complex of Ellora Caves actually! Whenever you are in Aurangabad, a visit to the Ajanta caves (totally different area) and Ellora Caves is a must and marveling at the Kailash Temple is a delight. Now, climbing on top of the high basalt cliff from which the Kailashnath Temple is carved from? That is another experience altogether. If you can do that, you’ll see the Kailash Temple from a different angle and really, maybe you’d feel like Shiva looking over his worshippers!