Sri Lankan Stairway to Heaven
The perfect conical shape of Adam’s Peak rises abruptly above the central highlands in the southwest corner of Sri Lanka. This distinctively shaped mountain is known locally as Sri Pada or “Holy Footprint.” Easily spotted far out to sea, the mountain’s dominant profile served as a landmark to ancient seafarers on trade routes between Asia and India. Today, Sri Pada is an important pilgrimage site especially for Buddhists and Hindus. The pilgrimage season, when thousands of devotees flock to the mountain, is from December to April when the weather in Sri Lanka permits the steep climb to the peak.
Reaching a height of 7360 meters, the peak is crowned with a sacred footprint that is a holy site to the world’s four major religions. According to Buddhist tradition, the Lord Buddha made the footprint. Portuguese Christians claim the impression was left by St Thomas on a missionary trip to Sri Lanka. An Arab legend indicates that Adam left the footprint after he was expelled from the Garden of Eden. Hindus believe it was the world-creative dance of the god Shiva that left the giant footprint.
Located near the city of Ratnapura, the base of Adam’s Peak is between Columbo and Kandy on the way to Horton Plains National Park. The walk to the top is a remarkable experience. Commencing at night with stars overhead, the steep path is lighted and safe with traditional Sri Lankan hospitality offered along the way. The idea is to reach the summit by sunrise, when the distinctive shape of the mountain becomes a shadow on the valley below and which moves quickly downward as the sun rises. The wilderness sanctuary at the top is a good place to see birds and butterflies.
For more information about places to visit in Sri Lanka, hiking and the best season to visit Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada), please contact us via the form below.
Photo 1 by Thierry Leclerc
Photo 2 by Van Deth Images