So why is this peak so special?
Adam’s peak (or Sri Pada, how it’s actually called) with 2,243 meters of altitude is the second highest peak of the island and has a very special significance for Sri Lankans because they believe that here is where Buddha put his foot in his third pass by the island, thus leaving a giant footprint on the top.
It is important not only for Buddhists but also for Hindus, who believe that the footprint is Shiva’s and for Muslims and Christians who believe that the footprint is Adam’s, when he was expelled from Eden.
There are up to six trails to climb to the top, but the most known and done, is the one I did and explain.
How to get there
Hatton is the nearest train station to the mountain, and can be accessed easily from Colombo or Kandy. Once there, you must go to Dalhousie (or Nallathanniya). In order to do that you can take a bus, that costs only 70 rupees, or a tuktuk that they will try to charge you between 500-1,500 rupees depending on the rich tourist face you have. I guess it goes without saying that to me they asked me only 500 rupees. And also goes without saying that I took the bus.
The journey, even if it’s only a few kilometers, takes an hour and is quite beautiful. When you arrive, whatever time it is, you will find shops opened everywhere and people starting to hike.
The pilgrimage season begins in late December and lasts until the arrival of monsoon to the southeast of the island, between April and May.
While in the guides usually it’s recommended not to do it in the pilgrimage season, for me one of the highlights of the experience was sharing with thousands of locals that pilgrimage route to the peak.
You could see not only young people going up, but also 90-year-old elders doing their best to go up, mothers with young babies in their arms and even so young kids walking as champions without complaining, with the only goal in mind to reach the top, ring the bell and pray in the temple as the sun rises behind them.
My experience going up
I arrived at night after 10 PM to Dalhousie and looked for a campsite. If you want to reach the top in time to see the sunrise, it is recommended to start from Dalhousie at 2 AM, but since I walked about forty minutes in the direction of the peak looking for a place to pitch the tent, I allowed myself to begin forty minutes late the next day, beginning so at 2.40 AM.
I had the whole backpack with me and after the first 15 minutes walking, I was dead. So I spoke with one of the shopkeepers and left there my backpack with him, taking with me only a little backpack with some food, water and a sweatshirt. I continued the climbing of the several thousand steps and no way. Since I was doing it alone, it was totally dark and I had no battery on my phone (so no motivational music!), I had nothing to think about more than asking myself what time it was, if I was on time or not, how tired I was and that maybe it would have been better to stay sleeping in the tent.
Being sure that this way I would not succeed, I decided to kind of play a game about climbing a hundred steps without stopping and then stop to rest. After a few minutes, I should go back to it to try to do now two hundred steps without resting. Then three hundred. Unwittingly I easily reached the 600/700 steps without stopping, and finally, in one of the rounds I just went nonstop until I counted exactly 1,358 steps and I reached the top! And even with time, because it was not even 5 AM. I had time to walk around, see the small temple on the summit and find a good place to sit and wait for the sunrise, which would not arrive until one hour later.
Quick tips for the hike
+ Bring water and provisions.
+ Comfortable shoes.
+ Begin to walk with time.
+ Once up there, get a good place for the sunrise.
+ Bring along dry clothes to change. When you reach the summit, you are going to be all sweaty and it will be cold. So cold!
+ And last, but not least important, take a good camera with you to immortalize such an incredible moment.