|Temple at the foot of the mountain|
|Temple decorations with Hindu iconography|
|Many shops there, selling snacks and flower offerings|
The caves are at the top of almost 300 very steep steps. It was a good workout for me, as I had to walk the whole way carrying R (it was too steep and precarious for her to do it herself), while wearing 2-inch wedge sandals (because I am vain). I was so tired by the time we got to the top!
|There's the entrance!|
|Looking up from the bottom|
|The main cave|
|R exploring the cave in a rare moment of freedom|
|The end of the series of caves has this natural skylight:|
you can't see but the forested sheer walls were crawling
with dozens of wild monkeys
Beyond the monkey issue, R had rather a hard time at the caves thanks to the other (mostly Indian) visitors. It's almost inevitable that whenever we go anywhere, she becomes the center of attention in SE Asia thanks to her appearance (white skin, red, curly hair and cute face). Everyone wants to take her photo and otherwise interact with her. But the Indians went further, constantly coming up and touching her without asking or giving any warning. Somebody even tried to grab her out of my arms! R posed for some photos but then got overwhelmed by all the side-swiping. I had to carry her for her own protection.
|R posing and not liking it|
|Side swipe! Poor R.|
After admiring the main cave area, I carried R back down all the steps (a rather dicey maneuver: they were really steep!) and we visited the temple at the foot of the mountain. It was packed with families picnicking and receiving blessings from the priests (many of the receipents were babies with shaved heads covered in some kind of white paste).
|Blessing ceremony underway: note that the priest is bare chested|
|R investigating the carvings|
|Some Hindu gods|
I really enjoyed our visit despite all the steps: it seemed to give a really authentic glimpse of Hindu worship in action, and the caves were like something out of a movie (swarming with malign monkeys and all). R didn't, though, and was rather grumpy by the end. The problem with being a toddler is that you can't pick the destination!
|Us right before leaving: I'm happy but R is over it.|