Adam’s Peak

A near 5 hour drive inland of Colombo will lead you to one of the most sacred sites held dearly by the major religions of the country; Buddhism, Hinduism, and the Abrahamic religions. Adam’s Peak, sometimes known as ‘Sri Pada’ (Holy footprint), is just one of the sites that serve as a melting pot of multicultural Sri Lanka. Pilgrims from all over the world make the arduous ascent of more than 7,000 feet towards the summit, where the giant footprint that belongs to an array of religious figures (depending on the pilgrims’ persuasion) can be viewed.

Best Known For

  • Adam’s Peak is famously known for the giant footprint that is clearly visible at the summit, which has resulted in many to marvel at the site of such a footprint, be it pilgrim or casual mountain climber.
  • It does not stop there, as the fabled mountain is known for being a haven for various species of animals that take refuge from the scourge of urbanization. Sometimes being called ‘Samanalakande’, literally translated as Butterfly Mountain. This is a glimpse of just one of the many species that are observed here.
  • The sunrise from Sri Pada can be considered one of the world’s best views of the bright star and the surrounding countryside, slowly emerging with rays of light casting the famous triangular shadow of the peak westwards. Words cannot do justice in explaining such beauty. It has to be seen to understand the majesty of it.
  • The arduous climb has also made it for the traveler looking for a challenging mountain to conquer. Boasting of more than 5,000 steps ascending up into the sky 7,000 feet above sea level is certainly something that should not be taken lightly.

Interesting Facts

  • The rock is shrouded in fabled stories stemming from the major religions, each of them similar in some areas, and not so in other areas.
  • Buddhists believe that the sacred footprint belongs to Lord Buddha when he visited Sri Lanka, as a symbol for worship at the invitation of Buddhist God Saman.
  • Hindus consider the giant footprint to be that of Lord Shiva.
  • Muslims and Christians believe that the footprint belongs to the first ancestor Adam, who was sent down from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God.
  • The mountain is accessible through 4 routes, each of them having unique traits.
  • The most used route is considered to be the Hatton trail, which is subsequently the shortest, and is very crowded during the Sri Pada season for mountain climbing.
  • The longest route is considered to be the Ratnapura trail, which has 2,000 steps more than the Hatton trail.
  • The least used routes are the Kuruwita trail and Deraniyagala trail, which is the most rustic out of all the trails, but challenging nonetheless.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Sri Pada season runs from December to May when the weather is perfect to witness the majestic sunrise, however, keep in mind that it can get very crowded due to the many pilgrims and other tourists climbing the mountain.
  • It takes more or less, around 4 hours to climb to the summit depending on the trail you choose, so make sure you budget the time accordingly to witness the sunrise.
  • The summit is also a shrine, which makes it very important to respect the Buddhist traditions, especially when seeing the sacred footprint. So no photographs, and no revealing clothes.
  • It is not an easy climb as the temperature may drop, and can be quite steep in certain areas, so it is important to carry a good quantity of essentials such as water and food.
  • The Kuruwita and Deraniyagala trails have difficult underfoot conditions, which make it imperative to wear the necessary footwear when climbing.
  • Please do not obstruct the pilgrims taking the arduous journey up, if possible do try and help them when they are in discomfort as there are many elderly people partaking in such an endeavour, so a little help can make them go a long way too.
  • Please keep the surroundings clean, and always adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the authorities.

Adam’s Peak concoction of a rustic charm, coupled with sacred links to various religions in the country and ideal mountain climbing nature, makes it all the more ideal for any traveler yearning to understand heaven on earth, which is Sri Lanka.

Title image by: Yohan Perera

Location info



December - May

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