Apr 28, 2015

Climbing Adam's Peak

Ascending 7359 feet into the sky by foot was intriguing and scary at the same time especially considering I have a height phobia.

Yet, with so much of legend surrounding this towering mountain and the fact that so many, the young and old, climb it every year, gave me the motivation to get to the top. Adam's Peak or 'Sri Pada' as it is called in Sri Lanka is considered sacred with much religious significance for many. People make a pilgrimage to the top during December to May, and the mountain remains beautifully lit throughout this time. Although the climb can be made off season, you will need to carry a torch with you and it usually rains, which makes the ascent more difficult and dangerous. There are three routes to get to the top. The more popular path is via Ratnapura where there are steps carved into the rock, rests called 'ambalamas', food and water spots along the way. The tougher routes are via Ratnapura and Kuruwita although the view is much more beautiful and serene considering that you hardly come in to contact with any people.

Opting for the route via Ratnapura, there were many small hotels and inns of which a group of us chose one to keep our belongings before the climb. After a good dinner we started the climb at 10pm. There were seven peaks to cross and we wanted to reach the summit before dawn and watch the sunrise. Some of the steps dating back to the 11th century are cemented while the tougher climbs have chains and metal railings for safer support. The rest of the climb was over rough terrain which required much effort. Despite the support, the climb was arduous and the weather got quite windy and cold as we went higher. I would recommend carrying water and some biscuits to keep yourself going at a steady pace and not rush as the season attracts a crowd of people.

Approximately eight hours later we made it. Although exhausted, it was fully worth it as we were fortunate enough to see the shadow cast by the mountain on the surrounding plains. The peak also has a footprint which is considered by the Christians and Muslims to be that of Adam, while the Buddhists and Hindus believe it to be that of Lord Buddha and Lord Shiva.