KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20: Renovation works in Batu Caves Temple will continue to go on smoothly with the full authorization of the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) after today’s visit by the local council’s President YDP Suliman Abd Rahman.
MPS and Batu Caves temple committee have overcome their miscommunication dilemma when the local council agreed that the temple committee had indeed documented proper paperwork and that a miscommunication between the two parties has now been solved.
According to temple trustee Datuk N.Sivakumar, beautification work inside and outside the cave is going on smoothly and they are working towards providing the devotees and the public with proper facilities for next year’s Thaipusam.
“MPS has finally put an end to this speculation by the media, the temple committee is relieved that the public will be able to enjoy an enhanced Batu Caves for the Thaipusam celebrations next year,” told Sivakumar to The Malaysian Times (TMT).
Three major works being carried out at Batu Caves are on the fourth staircase with 272 steps; the temple at the bottom of the hill and a long stretch of concrete grading next to the staircase.
According to Sivakumar, the fourth staircase was built in the 1980s when there was a tram car service.
As for the concrete grading next to the fourth staircase, Sivakumar said it was not true that the structure was a waterfall as claimed by some parties.
He added that the structure was built to allow water to flow down from the hilltop and to prevent landslides.
Sivakumar, who is in charge of works at Batu Caves, thanked the public for its concern saying that as custodians of a sacred ground, the temple committee members were duty-bound to protect it .
The temple’s managers said they informed the council of the renovation plans in March this year, and will continue with the works to complete the project by Thaipusam in late January next year.
Every year, Batu Caves Temple is visited by about a million people, from Hindu devotees to foreign tourists, during the annual Thaipusam festival which is just three months away.
Originally the Batu Caves were used as shelters by the indigenous Temuan people, its name derives from the Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows past the hill and it shares the name with the neighboring town.
Today the Batu Caves are home to one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India and is dedicated to Lord Murugan.
The cave became known as a place of worship by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader. He was inspired by the Vel shaped entrance and thus dedicated the temple to Lord Murugan.
Eventually, in 1892, the first Thaipusam festival was celebrated at the caves and it now serves as a pilgrimage site not only for Malaysian Hindus, but Hindus worldwide, from countries such as India, Australia and Singapore.
The yearly celebration occurs in the Tamil month of Thai (which falls in late January/early February).