Malaysian Batu Caves Temple Steps Gets Technicolor Paint Job

MALAYSIA, August 31, 2018 ( South Chinese Morning Post):The Batu Caves complex, a series of caverns set in a limestone hill on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, is popular with devotees from Malaysia’s ethnic Indian minority and tourists, with a regular stream of people clambering up the 272 steps to reach the temples. The steps have been painted in a kaleidoscope of bright colors ahead of a Hindu ritual that is conducted in temples every 12 years, which will take place Friday. But the temple management committee has found itself in hot water with the government heritage department, after allegedly failing to seek permission to paint the steps. The committee will receive a warning letter from the department, while deputy culture minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said he was “very disappointed” and the work had “disturbed the harmony, integrity and originality of Batu Caves”, The Star newspaper reported. The newly painted steps of the famed Batu Caves complex have impressed visitors but angered officials who oversee heritage sites.

Batu Caves is an important religious site for Tamil Hindus. Most of Malaysia’s roughly 32 million people are Muslim, but the country also has around two million ethnic Indians and nearly seven million ethnic Chinese.