Climbing Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) at Night


 

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This way to Adam’s Peak

 

Sri Pada is a mountain peak in central Sri Lanka that is held sacred due to a footprint like formation that is at the very top of the mountain.  According to Buddhist belief  which forms the greater part of tradition regarding the pilgrimage to the top, the footprint is believed to be of the Buddha

To reach the top we took the Hatton-Nallathanni trail which is the most popular route to the summit, at around 10.00pm so that we can hope to catch the sunrise from the summit which is said to be a most spectacular sight.

In the darkness we could see the last part trail we are supposed to climb, illuminated by the street lights:

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Sri Pada trail at night

The official starting starting point of the Sri Pada pilgrimage is marked by the “Makara Thorana” which is a gate that has a carving of a dragon (makara):

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The official Entrance
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Makara Thorana close up

To the side of the thorana is a statue of the Buddha and the Sri Lankan deity named Saman who is said to be the guardian the Sri Pada mountain and the wilderness surrounding the area:

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According to the legend, the Buddha left his left footprint on the top of the mountain during his third and last visit to Sri Lanka some 2500+ years ago.
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Saman, the guardian deity of Sri Pada and Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Depicted with a lotus in hand and an elephant standing behind.

The rest of the trail is paved with steps and decorated with shops that freely offer benches for resting. Climbing more than 5,500 steps is not an easy task. We had to stop frequently to catch our breaths and to let our legs rest:

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Benches for frequent rests

The prices of food and beverages get higher as you climb the fifth highest mountain peak of Sri Lanka. 

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Traditional “Sara Vita” made of beetle leaves to keep people warm and awake

With lots of determination to reach the summit I took a brief moment to make a capture of the trail behind me. At this moment we were climbing the steepest and hardest section of the trail near the summit called the “Mahagiridambe“:

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When we reached the top around 3:30 am we saw many people already settled on the steps of the temple on the summit to see the sunrise. Like them we found a space to sit and wait for a hint of sunlight in the sky.

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Meanwhile the moon was still up.

 

 

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