It turns out that not everyone loves rainbows. When the 272 steps leading up to Malaysia’s famous Batu Caves received a rainbow makeover, Instagrammers flocked and tourists swooned — but the Malaysian National Heritage Department wasn’t as easily impressed. Temple authorities claim the rainbow-colored stairs are meant to welcome tourists and make Hindus feel more comfortable, but department officials say the unauthorized updates could be cause for delisting the site in its heritage registrar.
Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that due to the temple’s heritage status, additional approval from the department was required before work began. Management at the historic site insists that giving the stairs a bright makeover isn’t in violation of any heritage regulations, but the National Heritage Department notes that the modification work, which saw updates to each of the 13 temples at the site, could be grounds for delisting as a heritage site.
“But they must respect the rules and follow accordingly,” said Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik to The Star. “In fact, I hope this message goes out to all building owners whose buildings are registered as national heritage — to not simply carry out renovation or painting jobs without first getting consent from the heritage commissioner.”
According to a report in the Jakarta Post, the painting took place in advance of a Hindu ritual known as a consecration festival, which takes place at the temple every 12 years. Additionally, many Hindus make the pilgrimage to the Batu Caves temple each year because the site is home to a large golden statue of the Hindu god Lord Murugan. The temple site sits just outside of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
H/T: Lonely Planet