The first things that we visit today are the Batu Caves: a Hindu temple and sacred place nestled in the limestone rocks, just few kilometers North of Kuala Lumpur. The site consists of three main caves where there are temples and Hindu icons, and it can be reached after a steep staircase of 272 steps guarded by a giant statue of the Hindu deity. Embedded in the limestone rocks just few kilometers North of Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves are home to a number of Hindu temples and constitute one of the major religious sites in the region. The steep staircase of 272 steps leading to the entrance is guarded by a giant statue of the Hindu deity Murugan. With its 42 meters height, it’s the tallest statue in the world dedicated to the god warrior. After the long climb of 272 steps, Ema, with his trivet and stick for the microphone on his shoulder, is ready and perky for filming in Batu Caves, especially because at least in the caves it’s fresh. At the base of the caves we find temples, painted walls, bas-reliefs and host niches statues of Hindu mythology. Even non-devotees can visit the site; the important thing is that they enter barefoot in the sacred area.
After all this “exercise” we begin to feel a little hungry, so lunch break for champions: rice with vegetables, fried chicken and pineapple!
We continue the walk and visit the Batik Factory “EAST COAST BATIK”, and we interview one of their designers, “Ruby”, which explains us a little the process of realization and processing of tissues. Batik is a technique used to color the tissues by protecting the parts in covers, so they cannot be colored, using waterproofing materials such as clay, resin, starch or wax. The artisan begins the first phase by drawing with a pen the model to reproduce and paint directly onto the fabric. The subsequent steps are almost identical and are repeated according to the number of colors that you wish to use. By a metal spout, hot wax is poured until it covers all fabric parts that will not be colored. The fabric is then immersed in the tank containing the chosen colors until it does not penetrate fully into the wax-free fibers. The next step is a bath in boiling water that washes away the color excess, melting the wax applied in the previous phase, until you get the clean tissue, ready for the new application of wax. You have to repeat the application of the wax layer on the already- colored parts and on the parts that should not be colored with the next color bath.
Now we visit the Malaysian National Mosque whose main dome is shaped like a 18 bits-star to represent the 13 states of Malaysia and the five central Pillars of Islam. One of the largest mosques in the South-East Asia, with its modern design, is a contemporary expression of art, calligraphy and Islamic ornamentation.
To be an Overland cameraman you must be willing to do anything … even to wear a beautiful lilac tunic!
As in so many other places of worship in the world, also in the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, you cannot enter in shorts!