Sri Pada- Adams Peak is one of the most famous physical features of Ceylon. This holy mountain is situated in Ratnapura District, surrounding by group of mountains called the wilderness of the peak. Adams peak is about 7359 ft (2,243m)high and though it is the fifth highest peak in Sri Lanka, its position in relation to the topography is so dominant that it stands out above all others. Sri Pada mountain is also called “Samanala mountain” (The Mountain of Butterflies) by locals. This sacred place is holding Sri Lankan’s hearts due to the religious importance and the culutre, history entwined with it. For many, climbing the peak is a pilgrimage, for some others, it is a profound adventure. Especially locals and foreign travelers climb this holy mountain to spot the best sunrise view the country offers.
The story behind this Holy mountain, Sri Pada is fascinating. It is said that when Lord Buddha visited Sri Lanka “The God of Saman” (Local god) invited to place his footprint on the summit of this mountain. Therefore the name was derived “Sri Pada” which translates to “The sacred footprint” of Lord Buddha. Sri Pada mountain region is considered to be guarded by the Local god, God of Saman and he is much revered by the locals.
However, The religious significance of Adam’s Peak greatly goes to the main four religions as follows;
Buddhists – Believe the footprint mark is the left foot of Lord Buddha
Hindus – believe the footprint is belong to none other than the God of god, Lord Shiva
Muslims & Christians – believe it’s the Adam’s first step after being deported from the Garden of Eden.
Locals believe miracles on this place. The Pilgrims make sure to well behave and avoid meat during the climb out of respect to this holy place. The mountain has been an object of pilgrimage for over a thousand years, at least since the Polonnaruwa era, when greatest kings from Polonnaruwa kingdom Kind Parakramabahu and King Vijayabahu constructed shelters here for visiting pilgrims according to the ancient chronicles.
When to visit Adams Peak?
Most visitors climb Sri Pada mountain during the pilgrimage season which starts in December and the season ends in May. During the season between December and May the weather on the mountain is at its best, and the chances of a clear dawn at the summit highest, Travelers can spot one of the best sunrises all time. Although most people climb by night, you can also go up the mountain by day, but the summit is often obscured by cloud and, even if it’s clear, you won’t see the famous shadow, or won’t enjoy the amazing night time illuminations.
Sunrise from Adams Peak
The Route to the mountain
There are several routes to lead to the Sri Pada mountain. But the most used and the popular route is “Hatton- Nallathanniya” route. Most of tourists take this route to reach to Adams Peak mountain. There are some hotels and guest houses in the small town “Nallathanniya” just below the mountain. The longer hikes available, the hike of Kuruvita Erathna, Ihala Maliboda and Rathnapura are the hardest routes which are used by some local travelers. Through the most common route of Hatton to Nallathanniya, the starting place of the climb is “Dalhouise” which is located 30 kilometers from Hatton town. The Hatton route is short and steep. It is approximately 5 km walk one way and will take 3-4 hours to reach to the summit. The steep path with largely paved path will slow down the climb.
Accommodation for Adams Peak Climb
Travelers who wish to climb Adams peak have two major options for accommodation. They can stay either in Hatton or Dalhouise. Dalhouise is the closest town to Adams Peak and it has number of guest houses and small hotels for travelers. Most of accommodations can be booked through Booking.com and agoda.