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Sri Pada / Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka

          

"Sri Lanka's Holy Mountain"

           Adam's Peak for Tourists, Sri Pada,"the Illustrious footprint" for the locals; this mountain is the fifth highest summit in Sri Lanka but it is by far the most climbed. Tourists from various corners of the world and Sri Lankans of all ages from toddlers barely able to walk and aged grandmothers ascend the mountain for two phenomenal purposes. One being to worship the footprint on the flat rock and the other is to observe the effulgence of the rising sun.

          Adams Peak is a Sacred mountain, famous as a goal of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus. Buddhists believe the holy footprint to be that of Lord Buddha himself, to Hindus it is the footprint of Lord Shiva. They also call this sacred mountain by the name “Shiva’s Peak”.While Muslims and some Roman Catholics say it is the place where Adam first set foot on earth, many Roman Catholics say the footprint impressed in the boulder is that of St. Thomas, the early Christian Apostle, who preached in south India.

          This sacred mountain is also called “ Samanala Kanda”, the peak of the God Saman. According to legend God Saman is one of the four deities, who undertook to protect Buddhism and the Island. According to an early Chronicle in Sri Lanka, The Mahavamsa, the four Deities were God Saman, God Upulvan, God Vibishana and God Skandha. God Saman was worshiped until the Nayakkar dynasty from South India overthrew the Kandyan Kingdom; at which point the people introduced the Goddess Pattini to replace God Saman.

           The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the central highlands in the Ratnapura District and Nuwara Eliya District of the Sabaragamuwa Province and Central Province. It is surrounded by forested areas with other small hills. There is also a Wildlife reserve along the mountain, it houses many varying species from leopards to monkeys to elephants

           Adam's peak is 2,243 meters in height and the climb consists of 5,200 rising stairs in order to reach the peak. The climb takes 3 to 4 hours. The first signs of dawn come around 5.15, Sunrise is usually between 5.30 and 5.40. Approximately 300,000 pilgrims visit this place in a year. The pilgrimage season starts on the poya day of December till the poya day of May, with the busiest months being January and February. It is possible to navigate to the top in the other months but the climb can be a very wet experience as the mountain is included in clouds.

           The Mountain is accessible by 6 trails: Mookuwatte, Malimboda, Murraywatte, Ratnapura- Palabaddala, Hatton- Nallathanni, and Kuruwita – Erathna.The most Usual route taken by pilgrims is the ascent via Hatton and the descent Via Ratnapura. The Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda routes are hardly used, but Nallanthanni and Palabaddala are favored by many tourists. Although the climb via the Hatton trail is the steepest, it is shorter than any of the other trails by approximately five kilometers. It is a hard climb to the top but the wonders up top will guarantee a journey you will never forget.<