We are born, and soon our little foot is being dipped in ink and imprinted on our birth certificates – marking our ‘official’ beginning. In Sri Lanka the birth of the main religions also came to life with a footprint – a sacred footprint. However instead of being imprinted on paper, it’s imprinted on the top of a steep peak 7,295 feet above sea level. If you want to see this footprint, you have to give your own feet a workout.
At the top of Adam’s Peak (referred to as Sri Pada in Sri Lanka) is a huge ‘footprint’, claimed by Muslims to belong to Adam, who stood there in expiation of his sin in the Garden of Eden. However religion is never that simple. This same ‘footprint’ is believed by Buddhists to be the mark of Buddha, Hindus hold the print to have been made by Lord Shiva, and Christians claim it is the footprint of St. Thomas. I don’t know who is correct, but I do know that the footprint continues to draw pilgrims from all religions to the top of the peak from December to April for over one thousand years.
When: December to May. If you’re planning to make the climb during the Poya (full moon) it's very crowded & you may have to wait hours in the queue to the summit.
Where: The climb begins at the town of town of Dalhousie. Buses run to Dalhousie from Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, and Colombo in the pilgrimage season. Train is also available to Hatton and then bus/tui tuk is required from there.
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Climbing Adams Peak
We woke up at 2 am to begin the climb to the top of Adams Peak. We were sent off with a bag breakfast from our hostel and a backpack full of warm clothes. Strings of lights line the route up the hundreds of stairs to the top. Each night, at least dozens of people make the trek--you will definitely not climb alone!
At the top, we found a small temple, and dozens of people huddled in their warmest gear waiting for the sunrise (it is COLD on top!). As dawn broke, it was as if we could see the entire Sri Lanka--we even saw a glimpse of Colombo far in the distance.
By the time we got to the bottom, or legs felt like jelly (thanks to the stairs), but it was definitely worth it.
Bring a coat (or two!) and be prepared to brave the wind in an otherwise warm Sri Lanka.