Sri Pada or Adam’s Peak is one of Sri Lanka’s most treasured mountaintops. Perched 7341 feet above sea level, here you will find people from all walks of life making the climb to the mountain’s summit during the pilgrimage season, which is during the months of December through May.
The climb is not an easy one, you are advised to begin your ascent at around 2am and it will take you around 3-4 hours to reach the summit depending on both your level of fitness and the number of people undertaking the climb at the same time. One thing is for sure though; it will be worth it to witness the magical sunrise from the mountain’s spectacular summit.
What is so special about this site, is that it is considered a holy site by devotees of all four main religions. For Buddhists it is said to have the imprint of the left foot of Lord Buddha, which was from his first visit to Sri Lanka. It is a symbol of worship at the invitation of the Sri Lankan God Saman.
For Tamils and Hindus, it is thought to be the site of the footprint of the Lord Shiva. Additionally, it is also fabled that the mountain was once the capital of Ravana during the Ramayana times from where he ruled in Sri Lanka. Christians and Muslims attribute it to Adam, who they believe to be the first ancestor. They believe it is the site where he first set foot, as he was exiled from the Garden of Eden.
The belfry at the summit is associated with an ancient tradition. After reaching the summit, all pilgrims should sound the bell, once for each time they make the climb. Clinging onto the green flanks of the mountain are also many fascinating legends.
There are stories about a magical garden hung with sweet fruits. Nearby the garden is said to be the Diva Guhava, the cave in which Lord Buddha rested during his visit, though no one has come across this mysterious cave so far. These myths have made the mountain a mystical awe-inspiring place.
Saman Devalaya in Ratnapura is dedicated to Saman Deviyo, who is the guardian deity of Sri Pada. It has been recorded that God Saman met Lord Buddha during his first visit to Sri Lanka and attained the higher state of Ariya after listening to the Budda’s sermon. Saman Deviyo is considered to be the guardian of Sri Pada. This deity is a symbol of non-violence and tranquility.
The statues of God Sumana Saman is seen holding a lotus flower. Visited by thousands, Sri Pada is one of the most sacred sites in Sri Lanka and the associated Saman Devalaya is a place of tranquility and peace. With the start of the season, this is the best time to visit.