Only those who volunteered carried pails up Batu Caves

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam Temple Committee today dismissed as untrue a viral social media allegation that visitors were forced to carry pails of construction material up the stairs to the Batu Caves hill-top temple that is undergoing renovation.

Its chairman, R Nadarajah, said only those who volunteered had been carrying construction material up the 272 steps as part of a charitable cause since the end of last year.

“The activity invites people to do good and work together to help in the renovation of the place of worship.

“We appreciate those who are willing to help voluntarily. However, we understand that some people do not want to do it,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

A check by Bernama revealed that the iconic Batu Caves temple is undergoing renovation.

Visitors, including tourists, were encouraged to carry building material, such as bricks or sand, stones and cement, in yellow pails to the hill-top of the temple.

Nellea Sari Wulandari, 25, a tourist from Indonesia, said it was her first visit to Batu Caves and she agreed to carry bricks to the cave temple atop the hill because she saw it as a unique and exciting experience.

“Walking the 272 steps up to the cave is quite exciting. My visit was more meaningful because I indirectly did charitable work. However, I only did what I was capable of doing,” she said.

Rahul Sadana, 35, from India, said it was a good idea to encourage people, especially Hindus, to contribute and be part of the “builders” of the holy place and indirectly serve and pay respect to their religion and God.

“I don’t see anything wrong with encouraging people to do this kind of thing. As Hindus, we believe that God will repay each person according to what they do,” he said.

Malaysian S Mala, 43, said however that more signboards should be installed to avoid any confusion among the general public.

“Some foreign tourists, especially those who do not know English, may misunderstand the whole thing and think that they must carry the construction material up the hill,” she said.