Climbing Adam's Peak is one of the best travel experiences in Sri Lanka for experienced as well as amateur climbers. As for those who travel for religious purposes it is both memorable and rejuvenating.
A religious site with significance for many religious
The Adam’s Peak is sacred to all four major religions in Sri Lanka -Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslim and Christianity. Buddhists call the mountain Sri Pada (“the sacred footprint”) and say it was visited by Gautama (Lord) Buddha and placed His Footprint on top of the mountain. To Hindus, the peak is “Shiva Adipatham” and has the Shiva’s footprint. Muslims insist it is the place where Adam first set foot on earth when he was expelled from the Garden of Eden. Roman Catholics say the footprint impressed on the boulder at the summit is that of St. Thomas, the early Christian apostle who preached in South India.
Best time is during off-peak seasons
While December to May is the season for Adam’s peak it is best to avoid the weekends or special periods like the new year celebration in April, or Poya holidays (full moon days), as there can be very long waits in line to reach the peak.
Challenging yet suitable for trekking at all levels
The Sri Pada is a 2,243m (7,359 ft) mountain and you will be climbing 5,000–6,000 crumbling steps (approx. 7km) uphill, but no prior experience or preparation in climbing or trekking is required.
It takes approx. 2-4 hours to climb depending on your fitness level and an additional 1-2 hours to come back down. Coming down is known to be the hardest, and therefore a walking stick might be the best option for those who get shaky knees.
Pick your climbing spot and start time
It is advisable that travelers use the Dalhousie starting point. Even though pilgrims prefer the longer starting point from Rathnapura. An early morning start at 2 am is also recommended so that you can reach the summit at dawn to view the breathtaking sunrise.
Lights are used to illuminate the walking path throughout the pilgrim season, and this will not be available during the off-season. It is advised that you use a guide during these periods.
Take breaks and wear appropriate clothing
The climb is very high and can be exhausting, it is advised to keep yourself hydrated take breaks while climbing and also wear appropriate clothing. Clothing includes good footwear, and warm clothing for when you reach the top which is very chilly.
Bring your own food
There are mini food stops/ tea shops along the way but it might not suit your taste buds and can be limited to roti and wades. Most of the small tea shops are open throughout the day. Don’t forget to bring your own water as well.
Pick the right accommodation
While there are various accommodation options to fit your budget. The ones closest to the Sri Pada are the budget and mid range accommodation in Dalhousie. The luxury accommodation is located a bit further away and among the tea estates or mountains.
Don’t forget your camera
The view from each level is beautiful on its own, but you will not want to miss the view from the top. You will see the tea country, mountains and slopes and even Colombo city (The business capital of Sri Lanka) is visible from the top.