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Adam, Buddha, Shiva: Religions Come Together At Sri Lanka’s Adams Peak

Pilgrim's climbing Adams Peak (Sri Pada)

From December to April, thousands of pilgrims flock to the cities of Dalhousie and Ratnapura in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, to the base of the of Adams Peak (Sri Pada) and to prepare for the  2,243 meter climb. You’ll make the walk at night, trekking for about four hours alongside fellow pilgrims and travellers to watch the magnificent sunrise from the very top. An experience open to all and a highlight of the journey for many of our customers that venture here during this time of year.

The World’s Most Famous Footprint

For Sri Lankans, Adams Peak is an important pilgrimage site and a site where four religions and their believers come together to share the walk and the holy site, walking step by step to the top of the peak. Buddhists believe the footprint mark on the top marks the indentation of the Lord Buddha’s left foot. Hindus believe the footprint belongs to none other than Lord Shiva. As for Muslims and Christians, they believe it marks the spot of Adam’s first step after being exiled from the Garden of Eden.

Whatever you might believe, the experience, the people, the nature, and the mystery is worth the 5,500 steps it takes to reach Adams Peak summit.

Scenery Around Adams Peak

A Spiritual Night Walk Like No Other

You wake up in the middle of the night, around 01:00am. It is pitch dark and, gazing bleary-eyed outside your window, you’ll see the mountain trail, the path upwards, glowing with thousands of tiny points of light, climbing all the way to the top of the holy mountain. It is thrilling but a little chilly, but you’ll grab your day (night) pack and go meet your group and guide. The walk starts easily enough, you’ll walk through the village, along the river, and reach the beginning of the stairs and conquer the 1st step… only 5,499 to go. On the way up you’ll pass plenty of little shops, all illuminated and casting a otherworldly glow on the passersby. It can get a little crowded at times, but you’ll always be surrounded by cheerful people having a good time: walking, resting, chanting, having a cup of tea, having a breather and a bite to eat. Sharing a special moment and having a good time.

As you approach the top of Adams Peak, the crowd of people gets intense and you have to squeeze yourself through the multitude to grab a good spot, sit down and wait for the sunrise. While you wait, you’ll hear the crowd chanting and praying in anticipation of the magical moment. Relax, enjoy the unique atmosphere and just wait for the sunrise. It is spectacular, and you’ll hear a cascade of audible sighs and joyous outbursts. When you’re ready, you can take your time descending the steps and reaching your hotel… where you’ll want to pack in a good breakfast to get your energy back and maybe a little nap to get you back into tip-top shape for your next adventure.

Some Practical Advice When Visiting Adams Peak

Remember to bring some warm clothes that you can shed along the way as you start to get warmer. We also recommend avoiding weekends, the full moon and Sri Lankan New Year as the crowds really swell and make it more difficult to enjoy the sunrise at the top!

Where to Book a trip to Adams Peak

If you’d like to join some fellow GoBeyonders to visit Adams Peak, book our eight day Best of Sri Lanka tour!

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