Towering above Nuwara Eliya, more than 2000-metres above sea level and officially dubbed the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka, the Piduruthalagala Mountain, sometimes known as ‘Mount Pedro’, may be considered to be one of the more inaccessible mountains in the country due to being a communications hub for the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. However, if you are lucky and obtain a special pass to venture to the summit, you are certainly in for a ‘one of a kind’ treat that only a few can experience. Boasting of, arguably, the best views of the Sri Lankan hill countryside, filled with verdant mountains draped in lush green cloud forests with a thriving wildlife, the sceneries here will definitely make you realize that you are witnessing a piece of ‘heaven on earth’.

Best Known For

  • The Piduruthalagala Mountain, or Mount Pedro, is undoubtedly famed for being the tallest point of Sri Lanka, providing an idyllic setting to witness an unhindered 360 degree view of the lush green Sri Lankan hill country.
  • The pathway is also praised for being one of the more picturesque in the country due to the complementing factor of the endemic flora and fauna that can be witnessed, making the climb all the more rewarding.
  • It has also become a haven for the mountain climbing enthusiast. Although the peak is restricted to access by foot, the pathway that leads to the beginning of the high security zone is still quite challenging, as it is an uphill climb that is around 4-kilometres long.

Interesting Facts

  • The mountain towers at 2524-metres, making it the tallest mountain in the country, however, it still does not serve to be the highest accessible peak by foot, due to it being designated a high security zone by the Armed Forces and Government of Sri Lanka.
  • The derivation of the Sinhalese name is due to the pale yellow appearance of the vegetation at the summit, as a result of the intense heat that dries up the greenery. Therefore, giving a straw-like appearance, hence the name ‘Piduruthalagala’ or ‘Straw laden rock’.
  • During the British colonial era, many high ranking officials, along with their families would spend their leisure at the mountain due to the cool temperate climate the mountain experiences.
  • In 1897, records shows that there was one man made pathway that enabled individuals to partake in an exhilarating 2 and a half hour mountain climb to the summit. Moreover, the pathway also accommodated horseback riding to the summit too, making the climb up to the summit shorter.
  • The name ‘Mount Pedro’, really is derived from the way the colonisers used to pronounce its original name. Since it was quite difficult to pronounce the entire name, the colonisers used the short ‘Mount Pedro’ to identify the colossal mountain.
  • Presently, the mountain is considered to be one of the 1515 ultra-prominent peaks around the world and is a designated high security zone of the country, serving to be a major communications hub controlled by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Due to the mountain being a major communications area for the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, it is a high a security zone. However, entrance is still granted only if there are less than 10 vehicles at a time (Still not guaranteed, depending on the weather conditions and the activities of the armed forces).
  • There are quite a few protocols that you will have to go through at the entrance, such as filling out a form and producing your identification details to make sure no one gets lost, since the Armed Forces are responsible for your wellbeing.
  • The best time to visit is during the early morning, since the weather will most likely be clear, allowing you to witness the hill country in all its glory.
  • Do keep in mind that hiking up to the summit of the mountain is prohibited and can only be accessed via vehicle, since the route teems with wildlife, including dangerous leopards and wild elephants.
  • Should you be yearning for a good hike, the hike up to the beginning of the high security zone is still quite challenging and quite rewarding, since you still can witness the natural splendour of the hill country.
  • It is prohibited to stop and disembark from your vehicle at all times, until you reach the summit.
  • Remember to always keep in mind the rules and regulations set forth by the Armed Forces and please do not pollute the area.
  • Do not forget to take your camera to photograph the splendid surroundings of the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.

In conclusion, the summit of the Piduruthalagala Mountain, or Mount Pedro, may be quite difficult to access and may be restricted for hiking due to it being a high security zone, however, it certainly falls nothing short of rewarding if you are able to get your hands on a pass. The views here are so magical that it really cannot be put into words and has to be experienced with your own eyes.

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