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

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian