Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Adam's Peak (Siripada)

Adam's Peak (Siripada), is a 2,243 metres (7,359 ft.) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well-known for the Sri Pada "sacred footprint", a 1.8 m rock formation near the summit, in Buddhist tradition held to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Muslim tradition that of Adam.

The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands, in the Ratnapura district of the Sabaragamuwa Province - lying about 40 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura. The surrounding region is largely forested hills, with no mountain of comparable size nearby. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve housing many species varying from elephants to leopards, and including many endemic species.

Access to the mountain is possible by 6 trails (Ratnapura-Palabaddala, Hatton-Nallathanni, Kuruwita-Erathna, Murraywatte, Mookuwatte & Malimboda). Out of these the Nallathanni & Palabaddala routes are the most popular. Kuruwita-Erathna road is somewhat popular as well. The other 3 roads are almost obscure. It joins the Palabaddala road midway through the ascent. Buses connect the final nodes of Nallanthanni to Hatton, Palabaddala to Ratnapura & Erathna to Kuruwita. There after it's a difficult journey through the forest on foot. Most of the pilgrims use Hatton route as the journey on foot can be reduced by more than five kilometres even though the slope of this route is much greater than other routes. Sri Pada is the term, derived from Sanskrit, used by the Sinhalese people in a religious context. This name is also understood in Pāli, and may be translated roughly as "the sacred foot". It refers to the footprint-shaped mark at the summit, which is believed by Buddhists to be that of the Buddha. Other traditions assert that it is the footprint of Adam, left by his first entrance into the world.

Shivanolipatha Malai and Shiva padam are two Tamil names holding similar meanings, but both refer to the footprint as being that of the Hindu deity Shiva rather than that of the Buddha.

The Sinhala name of the mountain is Samanalakanda, which refers either to the deity Saman, who is said to live upon the mountain or to the butterflies (samanalayā) that frequent the mountain during their annual migrations to the region.

It is revered as a holy site by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. It has specific qualities that cause it to stand out and be noticed; including its dominant and outstanding profile, and the boulder at the peak that contains an indentation resembling a footprint.The hollow in the lofty rock that crowns the summit is said by the Brahmans to be the footstep of Siva, by the Buddhists of Buddha, by the Muslims of Adam, whilst the Portuguese Christians were divided between the conflicting claims of St Thomas and the eunuch of Candace, queen of Ethiopia. The footstep is covered by a handsome roof, and is guarded by the priests of a rich monastery half-way up the mountain, who maintain a shrine on the summit of the peak.

It is an important pilgrimage site, especially for Hindus and Buddhists. Pilgrims walk up the mountain, following a variety of routes up thousands of steps. The journey takes several hours at least. The peak pilgrimage season is in April, and the goal is to be on top of the mountain at sunrise, when the distinctive shape of the mountain casts a triangular shadow on the surrounding plain and can be seen to move quickly downward as the sun rises.

Climbing at night can be a remarkable experience, with the lights of the path leading up and into the stars overhead. There are rest stops along the way. The mountain is most often scaled from December to May. During other months it is hard to climb the mountain due to very heavy rain, extreme wind, and thick mist.

Buddhists say that the footprint mark is the left foot of the Buddha, left behind as he strode away, the right footprint being (depending on legend) in Amphoe Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi Province, located about 150 kilometres northeast of Bangkok, Thailand. This place is called in Thai Phra Bat or Phra Phutthabat.

Tamil Hindus think it is the footprint of Shiva.

Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka ascribe it to where Adam, the first Ancestor, set foot as he was exiled from the Garden of Eden. The legends of Adam are connected to the idea that Sri Lanka was the original Eden.

A shrine to Saman, a Buddhist "deity" (People who have spent spiritual life during their life on earth and done pacificism service to regions are deified by Sri Lankan Buddhists) charged with protecting the mountain top, can be found near the footprint.

Adams's Peak, Maskeliya - Sri Lanka

Adams's Peak, Maskeliya - Sri Lanka

Adams's Peak, Maskeliya - Sri Lanka

Adams's Peak, Maskeliya - Sri Lanka

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