Adam's Peak (Sri Pada)
Adam's Peak (also Adam's Mount; Sinhalese Samanalakanda, "butterfly mountain" - 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 kilometers even though the slope of this route is much greater than other routes.
More details and photos at http://sripada.org/
Recommended review time for sightseeing: 10 h
Anna D [TA], , Swansea, United Kingdom
We climbed Sri Pada in December 2013 on a poya day (religious festival) which means the experience was extra special as we climbed along with thousands of religious revellers singing and chanting religious songs which was such an inspiring experience. We were staying in Nuwara Eliya and a driver was organised for us by the guest house we were staying in which meant we had transport right to the bottom of the mountain and waiting for us at the end. There were 4 of us in the group, all in our 20s but of mixed ability - 2 very fit people, one smoker and one very unfit person (me). We started our climb at 2am at a nice, steady pace. The 2 fit people soon went ahead as they found the climb easier and the other two of us found it better to keep to our own steady pace without the pressure of keeping up with the others! We took plenty of water and energy bars with us but the monks serving free sweet tea and crackers along the climb were lovely and a welcome help in the chill of the evening. The steps to begin with are gentle but gradually become steeper and more frequent until the top where there's a railing to help pull yourself up. We were taking a breather every 20 steps by the end but were encouraged along by everyone around us and even the monks on their pilgrimmage were egging us on. Seeing the euphoric state people were in, singing and dancing as they got closer to the top, was truly amazing. Our friends made it to the top but felt uncomfortable squeezing for space amongst people praying so came down a few steps to a ledge where many tourists seemed to be settling. This is where we met them and watched the sun rise and it proved to be a beautiful spot. My partner proposed at this spot and it couldn't have been more perfect. After the sun rose, we could see the breathtaking views and appreciate the great climb we had managed. The climb down is very difficult, taking its toll on the knees and ankles but we came down a little faster than we climbed up. The festival vibe at the bottom of the mountain was brilliant and although going up stairs for the next three days was very painful, it was totally worth it. Take advantage of the toilets at the start of the climb as they aren't the best on the way up and there are none at the top and stick to your own pace. My legs were less painful the day after than my fit friend- she pushed her pace a bit too much and suffered for it the next day! I recommend this climb to everyone who's going to Sri Lanka. Magical.
Joelle A [TA], , Geneva, Switzerland
We (my fiance and me) took a bus to Ratnapura and sleep their since we where too late to take the last bus to Siripagama. We were bagpacking so we wanted to take different way to go up and to go down. We had to carry all our stuff but it was alright (probably more pleasant without our bags). We begun our ascension around 3 pm in Siripagama, this is early but we wanted to see the jungle and landscapes before night. We saw many monks and monkeys on the way up. This hike has the particularity of being stairs all the way up. It does not mean it is easier, I found it quite tough and some parts are hard if you have vertigo (I have it, and I did it :)). I think it is better to have a good condition to do this trail. You can find snacks and water all the way up but not in the top. On the middle of the trek their is a cascade where you can take a shower (for men only and with your underwear). It is nice to change your clothe if you are sweating because when the night comes it is rapidly cold and you do not want to be wet. When you arrive at the top by this way, the first thing you see is the "police of Adam's peak". Some people had bad experience, in our case it was more like "do not leave your stuff without surveillance". We arrived in the top around 10 pm. We stayed and tried to sleep in the "cave", we were the only tourist and the locals were very friendly (sharing food and clothes). If you spend the night in the top, it is VERY COLD, even for a Swiss woman (bring a wind coat is a really good idea). It is true that you share the top with hundreds of other people, the toilets are smelling bad and you may not have the best view to see the sunset but it is an amazing experience and the landscape is great. The way down to Dalhousie was the most difficult thing in this trek: our legs were shaking and we felt like we were not going to make it. In Dalhousie we took a bus to Hatton and then to Kandy and went directly to bed. We had aches for 2-3 days after it, so do not plan to do the Knuckles directly after Adam's peak.
antc777 [TA], , Melbourne, Australia
Did the climb on Sunday 27th with a fit son, daughter and son's fiance. Used the easiest path from Nallathanniya on both ways. Started at 11:15PM and reached the peak at 4:15AM with the whole party slowed down by myself. This is the hardest I have done but the whole experience was awesome. With good pacing, this is possible even for a moderately fit person. There were lots of people climbing but not large enough to slow us.
First 2-3km is a gentle walk uphill. Then the hard part starts with a fairly steep climb of big steps. This goes for a while and then reaches the steep climb to the peak. Last part in fact is relatively easy since there are railings that you can hang onto and push yourself. There are many rest areas along the way that you can buy food and drinks. There are basic toilet facilities as well along the way where you pay Rs.20 to use.
You can see the lit path to the top while climbing and this is a very pretty sight. Views from the top are amazing. There is a platform to view the sunrise outside of the temple area. We started the descent at 6AM and the views again were amazing. Stopped along the way for a roti breakfast.
Descent is in fact harder than the climb and by the end I could hardly feel my legs. Maintaining balance is another challenge. Overall, this is an awesome experience and I am glad I did it before it is too late :-)
MOPSA1969 [TA], , Paris, France
Incredible moment. Adam's peak is not only that climbing of 5200 stairs , it's much more than that.Iwas staying at the nice White house with 3 other guys ( swiss and estonian ). We began at 2.30. Funny at the beginning and become quiet. It really has somathing to see with the religious thing. At the top , waiting in a common room with families , pilgrims , tourists and out at the temple waiting for the su to rise and the peole singing. WOUAHHH !!! that's a moment and the way down , not the easiest but with the sun and smiling and a bit of time. One of my best moment for sure in the loving Sri Lanka.
MikeB3401 [TA], , Boston, Massachusetts
Do not try and climb Adam's peak if it is around a holiday or weekend. The guide books mention that there is a que near the top, but they fail to explain that the que is hundreds of people crammed together on a staircase that does not move. After waking up at 2am to climb, there was no chance that we would even make it to the top due to the heavy crowds.
Not worth the trip all the way out to Dalhoiuse...
Todovika [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka
Climbed up the peak but as not in great shape as I thought I was took me 3.5 hours. Crowded as did it during pilgrimage but once on the top it was all worth it. The view, the spirituality and the history of the Buddha reportedly being there made everything worthwhile! Totally recommend it but be ready fir sore legs for a week after.
georgegri... [TA], , London
A general level of fitness is needed for this climb up steep and sometimes high steps. We left at 22.00 and the assent was relatively quiet as we passed Sri Lankan families pushing and pulling their elderly matriarchs up the mountainside. They would have spent all day for the climb up and another day for the climb down. The summit is somewhat haphazard, but what do you expect on top of a mountain in a limited space. We congregated in a room where you can lay down and sleep, so take a plastic sheet for the floor and a thin blanket or large towel. I helped the temple serve coffee and candy to the Sri Lankan pilgrims as a way of keeping warm. Sunrise was like watching a photographic print being developed in a bath of chemicals. Take a change of attire for the summit as you become sodden with perspiration and you need a jacket to keep warm. Wear good shoes and NOT flip flops. I saw one girl loose her control and she began involuntarily running down the uneven and steep steps only to end up in a heap concussed and a couple of teeth knocked out. I am happy to say her flip flops survived intact.
Paul K [TA], , wellington
My first climb was on a Buddhist holiday in Feb 2014, and even though I left very early, by the time i got near the top there was a queue that was hardly moving. That's because there was several hundred people on the top waiting for sunrise and several hundred on the steps below trying to get up. Somehow I managed to get up just after sunrise and overall it was a great trek, amazing views and good experience. On the way down my legs were turning to jelly but I found a place that was giving free herbal tea and free calf muscle massages which was bliss.
My leg muscles then ached for a week. I then returned to Maskeliya and decided I wanted to climb it again at a quieter time so I could get to the top with the hassle of so many people. (The problem is near the top the steep step path is divided into two by a handrail. Those going up must be on the right hand side and the path is narrow. Because people of all ages and physical states do this trek since many of them are pilgrims, there can be people holding up others at this part of the trek - The last few hundred metres to the top is slow going in pilgrim season.) So on my second time I thought I'd be sweet since I left an hour earlier and it was a normal weekday albeit Friday. However near the top I once again met traffic, which was nowhere near as bad as the previous time but still takes a bit of getting past without bumping people. I got to the top well before sunrise and take warm clothes because you stop trekking it quickly get's cold.
Amazing views, and I think the trek is quite tough and a very long walk. Second time around my legs didn't ache in the days afterwards and coming down was easier but going up will always be tough. That's why climbing in the night is good because it's cool and you don't really know what you're in for.
If you go in Buddhist pilgrim season do it on a normal weekday but not a Friday. Leave earlier than you'd think depending on your fitness it can take anywhere from 2 hours to 5 with an average of 3 to 4.
One of the best things I've done in Sri Lanka in three trips covering several thousand K on a scooter. Must do!
And it's free unlike some of the rip-off archeology sites further north.
sltravel [TA], , san francisco
We did the climb during off-season (actually the day before the season started in December 2012). I have done this twice before during the season but this was by far the best experience. We were told that you can't do it during off-season and were nervous until we went there. We were told they don't light the path before the season so we bought few flash lights. It was pitch dark most of the path but we had an amazing experience. There were lots of tourist who climbed with us at 2:30 am. It took us 3.5 hours to climb up and lot more time climbing down since we spent time specially taking pictures, talking to locals climbing and carrying heavy sacks for the temple and just people watching.
Next night, we were able to experience the carnival like atmosphere in the town on the first day of the season and was able to worship the relic that was going to be carried up to the temple. It was a amazing.
Christian... [TA], , Brisbane, Australia
We started 2am and it took us a little less than 3 hours to reach the top, another 2 hours to get down. It is something special walking up the illuminated stairs in the middle of the night reaching the summit and observe a spectacular sunrise. We got caught in the middle of some local showers, but it felt rather refreshing during the climb.
Some people, mostly locals as I understood decided to camp overnight at the temple, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's freezing cold and very cramped up.
The local village does not really have much to offer besides Adam's Peak but I'm glad we decided to stay an extra night following the climb to rest out.
We stayed at Hotel White Elephant, big, clean rooms, hot water, tasty dinner, wi fi and a very friendly manager. Hotel next door did seem like a better option but it was fully booked.
KamDoh [TA], , Prague, Czech Republic
We climbed Sri Pada in complete off-season (August, 4th) and yet enjoyed it a lot! Manager of White House in Dalhousie (where we stayed overnight) who had been on the peak more than 60 times (one can never know, but he seemed trustworthy) told us that in this period of the year there is no point to start the ascent around 3 a.m. (to watch the sunrise) because the sunrise will not be visible due to the clouds if we are not able to see the peak's top light at 1 a.m. (the peak is in clouds). On the contrary there might be short period of cleared up sky around 9 a.m. As we hadn't saw the light we decided to wait till 5.30 a.m. and than started the climbing with the day light. Tens of people we met on their way down near Dalhousie just confirm the prediction - they went for the sunrise and yet saw "just" gradually enlighten clouds and fog. We take an advantage of quite solo ascent - apart form several groups near Dalhousie we have met really few people on the way up and down as well. All the way up without seeing anybody was stunning experience - there weren't any shops, and the last part beneath the peak and the temple on the top itself was more like a ghost town. On the peak we got also very much cloudy view but the feeling was great anyway. On the descent the sky was quite clear so we can enjoy the beautiful view of the valley below us.
Expect a Buddhist monk at the begging of the path who is expecting donation from the pilgrims. On the top of the mountain there is a group of men living there for the whole year and they are ready to offer you tea. Anyway - as there are no stalls during the off-season, be extra ready concerning the water and sweets or any other energy-suppliers!
And if you are worry about the difficulty of the terrain - we made in even in trekking sandals :)
Artur2006 [TA], , Poznan, Poland
If you start climbing at night, you pass by beautiful countryside, you do not realize, until you climb down. Water cascades, mountain view... 5200 stairs are tiring, but worth it:) Unfortunately the weather was not nice, and we saw sunrise behind the clouds. A man, who is living upstairs said that they show Buddha's/Adam's/Shiva's feet in December:)
joias [TA], , Foz do Iguacu, PR
It was off the season and no shops along the way. We started at 3h in the morning and get in time at the top. Unfortunately, it was cloudy so nothing abut the special effect in the sky and the temple was closed as well...
then we decided to get down by the other side..15.000 steps and 15km versus 5.000 and a few km for the other path. We arrived 6h later and exhausted. We took a 30 min. tuktuk to Ratnapura.
The whole experience was spectacular. I'll do it again.
Hash K [TA], , Manchester, United Kingdom
it's a wonderful sight when u r at the top .. but lots and lots of walk !!! u need to constantly climb for 3 or 3.5 hours .. but the temple at the top and the sunrise view can actually worth out your effort .. We found a nice place just near to the start of our climb named Punsisi Rest Inn with great service and wonderful view of Sri Prada !!!
nagindth [TA], , London, United Kingdom
we climbed the peak with a guide (though you dont need one) as he was part of the package we paid for already. we were told that it was arduous and recommended different clothing. But i guess things have moved on. Now there is a tea shop with blaring music every 10 minutes - good distraction during the climb. the toilets were average (better than wat we expected from similar journeys). most of the way has railings to hold on to and you just climb stairs which were not steep. We did it at night, which i would recommend, so that you are there for the sunrise, we did it in May and it was still very cold at the top at 4 am. Please time it correctly, we did not adn ended up at 4 am with no place to stay, the 2 "rooms" were full of people and we soon joined the masses. all the effort is worth with the sun rise, the sounds of the early morning pooja preparations and you can see more things as you climb down. difficult to say whether we will do it again, but worth it for this time
SuttonHil... [TA], , Hereford, United Kingdom
We are not fit and still managed the climb. Yes it's arduous, but it is absolutely worth it to see the sunrise and the mysterious shadow. We started at 2.15 am (later than planned) and it took us three hours at a steady pace, arriving at 5.30 am. We had one stop for tea. It is imperitive if you are doing this in pilgirmage season to stay in Dalhousie and start early - you cannot over estimate the number of people. The last 45 minutes was basically a queue of locals - and therein lies another beauty of the climb,
Yusuf S [TA], , London, United Kingdom
I climbed it with my 9 year old son in 3 and a half hours and it took us 3 hours to descend. It's very atmospheric on the way up with all the Buddhist shrines and the tea shops, even if you climb at night. At first my son outpaced me but as the steps got steeper he started to flag and I started to get worried. We decided to give ourselves small targets, like 300 steps before resting, and this is a good way of motivating yourself to continue. By the end of the climb the 300 steps became 50 steps! Also, thinking about all the obese or old people who make it up there is a good way of motivating yourself. Take warm clothing and good footwear and take it easy. Leave at least 4 hours to make it up. When we got to the top it was misty and we could hardly see anything. So this was a great disappointment after all that effort. But on the way down the views were amazing although it did rain constantly. When you descend the pressure on your knees and feet is incredible and I am still limping several days after the climb. In conclusion, I would say that you feel a great sense of achievement after having done the climb and it's a must-do experience in Sri Lanka. But it's damn hard.
cottie11 [TA], , Stockport, United Kingdom
Just back from Adams Peak and highly recommend the guide
Good compnay, well informed and very personable
Rise early and see the sunset
shanti_Tr... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka
I have previously climbed Adam's peak from the easier route which from Hatton and told myself that's it never again. However this year I had the opportunity to join a group of interns to climb it from Ratnapura side. Which is the longer and the harder route. In comparison with the Hatton route there are lesser number of shops and pit stops along the way, there were stretches of the pathway which had no lights. Unless you are a pro in climbing and you have a very very fit body my advice is DON'T do it. Especially if you have only 2 weeks to spend on holiday in Sri Lanka I'm sure you will not want to spend more than 5 days limping around!!
Nicoleri [TA], , Switzerland
We walked the Adam’s Peak in January. It was a great experience but really wet and really cold. If you want to do that trek make sure you have proper clothes and prober shoes. We had good rain jackets, proper shoes and even an umbrella, but still we were soaked wet because it was raining the whole night. We started around 2.00am and finished around 7.00 am. In the travel guide is written that you have to walk up four hours and down 3 hours. For sure it depends how fast you walk, but if there are a lot of people who are walking up or down, then it can take you even longer because mostly you can’t pass them. It was a really good experience, but on the other hand if it’s already raining when you want to start, then I probably would think about if you really want to do it or not. We have been to the very top and if it’s bad weather you can see nothing at all. There is no view and no sunrise, you are probably better off if you go on daytime.
SuSuSt [TA], , Wien
On out 12day trip around the island we tried to hike a bit.
Adam's Peak was the top location on our list.
We stayed at Upper Glen Bungalows and at on Feb 18 1am we started our drive to Dalhousie.
Dalhousie was almost empty when we arrived. Our driver stayed at the car (and had a good sleep) but our guide also wanted to climb Sri Pada.
Termperature was OK and up we went. Somewhere on the way we lost our guide. His endurance was not as good as ours but we met him again at the top.
Up there a very cold and strong wind was blowing and everyone was trying to hide and get a bit of sleep while waiting for the sunrise.
And then the light came. It was a wonderful experience seeing the sunrise with all the pilgrims giving their prayers.
Looking to the other side of the mountain we also could see the shadow of the peak of Sri Pada on the clouds.
A truly unique experience