Witnessing the sunrise from the peak of Adam’s peak requires a great deal of hard work, the visitors need to make a moonlight hike, which lasts about 5 hours upon 5000 steps, it is not something for the faint-hearted.
According to the historical information, Adam’s peak has been a pilgrimage site for the people of Sri Lanka for more than 1700 years. Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics as well as Muslims considered it to be a place or worship.
Perhaps you will find the lavish narration of the sunrise seen from Adam’s peak is overrated because this hike through the chilled night is very difficult.
However, witnessing the dawn from the mountain top is lifetime wish of every Sri Lankan. As the twilight fading large number of people flock to the temple in order to see the big moment.
Adam’s peak is the 3rd highest mountain in Sri Lanka, the mountain is 2243 meters (7360 feet) high; the summit is reached via a narrow, steep path that features 5000 steps. It is a place for pilgrims, nature lovers and adventure seekers.
People of Sri Lanka call it “samanala kanda” (peak of butterfly), Sri Pada or Adam’s peak. At the pinnacle of the mountain is a Buddhist temple with a stone slab which contains the footprint of Buddha. One of the popular names for this mountain Sri Pada literally means the foot of Buddha. However the Hindu devotees believe it to be the footprint of God Shiva and Muslims believe it is the footprint of Prophet Adam, one of the popular names of the mountain Adam’s peak derived from this thought. According to the Christians, the stone slab at the top of the mountain is engraved with the footprint of apostle St.Thomas. Whoever the footprint belongs to this temple has been a leading pilgrimage site for all major religions on the island and all religious groups carry out their activities with harmony. This temple, which shines in the sky, is a place that retains religious harmony.
Buddhist flags in all sizes line-up the Narrow, steep steps from the 1st step of the staircase uppermost step; it is a clear sign of Buddhist domination at the site. However, the visitors encounter a large number of foreign tourists every morning, who are venturing to the top of the mountain in order to see the sunrise and enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the way. The peak wilderness, which is a wildlife reserve envelopes the Adam’s Peak Mountain, this patch of forest is resided by a large number of wild animals and it is an evergreen rain forest with higher biodiversity.
The flat surface on the mountain is small but can accommodate nearly a hundred people at a time. On top of the circular surface, the visitors encounter a small rectangular shrine which is built to house the stone slab with the footprint. Behind the shrine room is the tower with a hanging bell. It is customary to ring the bell by every visitor, who reaches the shrine; the number of strikes should resemble the number of all visits undertakes so far.
As I was reaching the top during my recent visit, it has been very crowded, because I have chosen the peak pilgrimage season to go up the mountain. The upward, as well as downward journey, might take more than 5 hours due to the tourists and pilgrimage traffic, demanding you to allocate more time for the journey. The delays movements might occur especially on public holidays due to the large concentration of local devotees to the site. As the dawn breaks, everyone at the top of Adam’s peak is keeping the antenna up and watching the eastern sky to catch the first glimpse of the sunrise. However, I was lucky to station myself in a place that enables me to see the sunrise clearly. There are several conditioned to be met in order to witness the clear sun-rise from Adam’s peak, the most important fact is the cloud-free sky. As the sun rises, the cone-shaped shadow of the mountain lands on the surface of the peak wilderness and diminish gradually in a few minutes.
The view from the mountain is incredible; the smell from just a few meters away from the peak is also very intense. A few meters below the viewpoint is the restroom and stinking garbage collection point with tons of papers, plastic bags, bottles and many other things. The restrooms are not well maintained; therefore it is largely unsuitable to put into work. If you wish to go up the mountain of Adam’s Peak it is highly recommended to reducing the chances of using the toilet near the peak as much as possible. There are a large number of guest houses and restaurants near the starting point of the climb, the travellers can easily freshen up just before starting the climb.
Red-faced monkeys known as macaque are also frequented in the area along with the devotees. These red-faced monkeys are gathering to the area to find food, sometimes the people feed these monkeys. However, getting too close these animals can be dangerous because macaque monkeys can be aggressive and there is a chance of attacking people.
The pilgrimage season starts in the month of December parallel to the North-East monsoon and subsequently last 6 months. It is highly recommended to refrain from climbing Adam’s peak during the off-season due to the wild animal attacks and adverse weather. There are hardly any Sri Lankan and foreign traveller set off on this journey during the off-season.
The month of December is a slightly cooler month with moderately lowered temperature, especially in the mountainous areas. Full moon days are the best time to climb Adam’s peak due to the light. However the stairs of Adams peak are illuminated by electric lights but they provide hardly any adequate light, it is better to have a head torch to get the better view on the steps and surrounding area. Don’t forget to cover-up against the cooler climate on the mountain, you might feel it very cool as you seas the movement and waiting for the sunrise.
The trekker encounters many stalls and boutiques selling Tea, Coffee, Rotty and many other things required by the people, some of them provide well-maintained toilettes. These are resting points and located infrequent intervals.
Climbing Adam’s peak is mainly a religious affair and undertaken by the local people, but there are many thousands of foreign travellers who set off on this arduous journey in order to experience this pilgrimage to the highest elevated temple in the world, which lies 2243 meters above sea level. The tourists are benefitted in many ways during the march, 5 hours long trek is a wonderful opportunity to mingle with the local community coming from various parts of the country. And this trek also helps the foreign travellers to witness the rich natural wealth around the area.
Two of Sri Lanka’s best temple trails
- Dambulla cave temple
Better known as Golden cave temple for the elegantly painted granite caves in the jungle of boulders, in the central province of Sri Lanka is a great place to see the Buddhist heritage of Sri Lanka. Artistically rich cave temple accommodates hundreds of statues and many thousands square meters of the painted ceiling. Pilgrims from all over the island gathering here to see one of the oldest temples in the world, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and dating back to 1st century BC. Dambulla golden cave temple is an essential part of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka and located at the heart of triangular area demarcated by Kandy, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Today Dambulla cave temple is under the purview of archaeological department. The temple is located close to t5eh Dambulla town, about 181 km away from Colombo. It is about a 30 minutes trek from the foot of the mountain to the cave temple. There are well-paved granite stairs leading to the temple.
2, Sigiriya rock fortress
If you look for something – both mentally and physically – then you should consider a drive to Sigiriya rock fortress. Laidback small town in the dry-zone of Sri Lanka is popular for iconic granite monolithic rock, known as Sigiriya rock fortress. It was the capital of Sri Lanka during the reign of renegade King Kashyapa. Today the fortress is visited by thousands of Sri Lankan and foreign travellers to take a glimpse on the rich artistic and engineering feats of the ancient people of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya is a popular UNESCO world heritage site that can be visited all year round. The Sigiriya rock fortress is an essential part of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.