Temple of Stone

Special to The Toronto Star Weekend Travel Edition: January 28, 2006

Nature’s Temple of Stone: The Batu Caves

photography: Stephen Smith

Batu Caves – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — At the base of the mountain a wedding is in full swing, inches from the parking lot and a stone’s throw from the congested highway to KL. A Hindu priest waves his hands over incense and fire. He blesses an offering of oranges as a tabla drum and singa horn pierce the early morning air. Ganesh and the gathered sit content, undisturbed by a pounding jackhammer and concrete saws blasting away behind the temple. Adorned in rivers of gold bracelets a young bare foot bride glides through the dusty construction site leading to the temple. As a witness and backdrop to this timeless ceremony it would be hard to beat the shear face of one of the two largest limestone massifs in South-East Asia and home of the Batu Caves.

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* header image courtesy of unsplash