Our time in Malaysia was intended to be one of rest and recovery but the adventurers’ in the group said ‘screw it’ and sought out another experience! Originally we set out to see the tallest towers in Asia but it just so happened they are closed to visitors on Mondays. The next day we had our sights on the Batu Caves. Part of the Batu Caves is a place of worship for Hindu’s and the other main part is an ecological national heritage site, called Dark Cave (yes like the one in Poke'mon with all the Zubats' haha). Late in the morning we climbed on a train with shattered windows and began our ambitious journey.
Upon arriving we saw people selling small idols and various sculptures that I assumed were for worship or offerings but what struck me was how impoverished and destitute the people appeared. We walked along a path passing multiple shrines and small temples that were awaiting devotes’ to give offerings. From a distance we could see a gigantic, golden, gaudy, garish statue emerge its head over the trees. As we approached the hundreds of steps leading to the caves it was emotionally overwhelming to see such a mass of resources poured into false hope for people who are already so poor. The extravagancies didn’t stop when we entered into the cave of worship. Three other shines were inside the massive cave with people giving or collecting offerings. In the moment I couldn’t help but desperately wish they hadn’t desecrated such a stunning piece of nature with their religious artifacts and idols.
On our way down we saw the sign for the Dark Cave and took a gander. To our delight they offer tours through the biologically rich and most extensively studied cave system in the world. Even though it was pitch black throughout most of the excursion I did manage to get some images that depict how eerie it was even with our torchlights on. We saw multiple spiders, other alien-like insects and millions of bats! I guess that would answer the title question, along with guano: lots and lots of guano.
What are your thoughts on natural wonders being altered into places of worship? Comment below and feel free to share!