Adams Peak as it is known is English is more popularly know as “Sri Pada” or holy footprint in Sinhalese. Sri Pada is mountain is located in the Rathnapura District and the Nuwara Eliya district also crossing two provinces in Sabaragamuwa province and Central Province. The mountain is 2,243 meters or 7,359 feet in height, and is the 5th tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.
Although Adams Peak is not the tallest mountain in the country, it is probably the most significant and important mountain in terms of faith. At the top of the mountain there is said to be a foot print, a left foot print to be precise. The size of it is measured at 1.6m in length and 75cm in width. A giant foot print that is believed to be left behind by the leaders of their faith. Sri Lanka is a diversified country with many religious beliefs and as a result the Christians and muslims believe this is the foot print of Adam, the first human being on the planet according to the Bible. The story goes as once Adam was sent away from paradise he was on Adams peak for 1000 years. Catholics also believe that this is a foot print left behind by St. Thomas who was a disciple of Christ is said to have roamed most of India and Asia right after the crucifixion. Hindu’s believe this is the foot print of Lord Shiva.
But the most significant belief is that this is the foot print of Lord Buddha. one of Lord Buddhas documented visits to Sri Lanka was to Sri Pada. Sri Lanka being a 70% Buddhist country carries the faith of Sri Pada being the footprint of Lord Buddha. Every year millions of pilgrims make the trek up to the summit and make it an annual adventure with families getting together.
There are many Buddhist landmarks and customaries on the way to the top. The mountain is believed to be protected by lord Saman. Although the climb and surroundings depict a Buddhist shrine, there are many people from Christian, Muslim and Windy faiths that climb the mountain annually to pay recpects to their own beliefs. There is not religious friction at all during the climb and is a very peaceful and cordial journey.
Getting to the top of the mountain is not easy, and it is advisable to leave at least 2 days for your entire trek. There are two main paths to the summit. One being through Balangoda, southern part of Sri Lanka and the other being through Hatton in the central province. Trek from Balangoda is a flat but longer and dangerous climb as the path is not defined and during off season it can get quite lonely. The most famous trek starts from Hatton in the central province. “Nallathanni” being the precise name which is given to the foot of the mountain from Hatton. The season to climb Sri Pada is from December to April, where a lot of pilgrims make the trek up, and the pathway is brightly lit.
It generally takes about four to five hours for the climb, and the best time to start the climb is between 10pm and midnight. You should time your climb to be at the summit by 5:00 am where you can see one of the most beautiful sunrises in the world. It is advisable to climb on a weekday if you can time your trip this way to avoid excessive crowds especially during the peak season of January to February. You need to carry plenty of water and should be in good physical health to take up the challenge. There are plenty of eateries on the way to the top, where you can stop from some rest and a fresh cup of pure Ceylon tea.
One of the traditions of Adams Peak is ringing of bells. There are bells fixed at the summit of the mountain, and your supposed to chime the bell according to the times you have submitted the mountain. This is in almost to announce to the Gods that you have arrived one more time, or you’ve come here for the first time.
If you time your climb to summit at the time of the sunrise, Mother Nature will paint the most beautiful picture to you. You cannot ask for a more beautiful sight than the sunrise at Adams Peak. You will only get a limited time at the summit, make sure you get the best view and indulge in the moment of peace and calmness where you would feel, the world has stood still. Spend less time taking pictures, but see the sunrise in its own glory and beauty from your own eyes.
Although it will be quite warm when you start out on the trek, it will get very cold closer to the peak, so it is advisable to carry some warm clothing including a water resistant cover if possible as it can rain intermittently.