The Batu caves are situated in a limestone hill 13km to the north of Kuala Lumpur. This hill, which has a series of caves and cave temples, takes its name from the Sungai Batu river, which flows past it. The Orang Asli had been aware of the caves for a long time. However, they became famous only after they were discovered by the American Naturalist William Hornaday in 1878.
Of the various cave temples that make up the site, the largest and best known is the Temple or Cathedral Cave, so named because it houses several Hindu shrines beneath its 100m high ceiling. This cave is the focus of the yearly Hindu Thaipusam celebrations. Next to the caves there is a colony of macaque monkeys, who are not afraid of humans.
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