Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia temple gets multicolour paint job



Malaysia temple gets multicolour paint job

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Visitors walk up the newly painted 272-step staircase leading to Malaysia’s Batu Caves Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. Manan VATSYAYANA/afp

Malaysia temple gets multicolour paint job

A famed Malaysian Hindu temple complex has had its steps painted in a dazzling array of colours, sparking excitement from some visitors but angering officials who oversee heritage sites.

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 colours ahead of a Hindu ritual that is conducted in temples every 12 years, which will take place onFriday.

Warning letter

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.

He played down the possibility of the complex losing its heritage status, but urged others running historic sites to get consent before carrying out major work or renovations.

But the paint job on the steps, which were previously the same colour as the limestone hillside, impressed tourists visiting the complex.

Ratna Yunita from Indonesia described it as “out of the ordinary”.

“So many colours, so many people in such a beautiful place, it feels like you’re in India, not in Malaysia,” she said.

Batu Caves is an important religious site for Tamil Hindus. During the annual Thaipusam festival, massive crowds of devotees descend on the complex, with many piercing their bodies with hooks and skewers to showcase devotion to the deity Lord Murugan.

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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the