Adam’s Peak, the butterfly mountain is located in the central highlands region in Sri Lanka. This mountain is an interesting place both as a pilgrimage and as a climbing spot. Let’s explore the importance of Butterfly mountain, the most striking among natural landmarks.
Why Adam’s peak is so important?
It is a very popular destination among local people and worldwide. This is a mountain of many names. It is known as Sri Pada (the location of the sacred footprint left by Buddha), ShivanolipathaMalai (the mountain containing the footprint of Lord Shiva), Samanalakande (Butterfly Mountain), Ratnagiri (the jewelled hill), Samantakuta (the peak of Saman) and Svargarohanam (the climb to heaven). The name Samanala Kanda / Butterfly mountain is given to the place because it is where all the butterflies go and die.
People start to climb the mountain in the middle of the night. When doing so, you can reach the peak for a breathtaking sunrise on Adam’s Peak. The peak is an ideal spot for a backpacking tour.
Adam’s Peak/Sri Pada is the fourth highest mountain at 2244m. For more than 1000 years, the peak has remained as a pilgrimage. People from many religions climb the mountain to invoke blessings. On top of the peak, there is a huge footprint. It is important for all religions.
- Buddhists- Believe it’s the left foot of Buddha.
- Hindus- Believe it’s the foot of Lord Shiva
- Muslims and Christians- Believe it’s the first step of Adam after being exiled from the Garden of Eden.
Location of Adam’s Peak
Adam’s Peak is in southern reaches of Central Highlands in Ratnapura District, Sabaragamuwa Province. The peak lies 40 km northeast to Ratnapura city and 32 km southwest to Hatton city.
The surrounding region is forested hills. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve and there are many species varying from elephants to leopards and many endemic species. There is no comparable mountain nearby.
Adam’s Peak is an important watershed in Sri Lanka. The place is the source of origin of the four of the principal rivers of the island. This includes the Mahaweli River, the longest river in Sri Lanka.
There are six possible trails to Adam’s Peak / Sri Pada.
The most popular routes among the above are Hatton-Nallathanni and Ratnapura-Pallebaddala. This is due to the picturesque views encountered within these tracks. The least used trail is Kuruwita-Erathna trail. Other trails like Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda trails are hardly used.
The Hatton trail is steepest among the trails. But it is shorter than other trails with a distance around 5 kilometres.
Adam’s Peak pilgrimage season
The pilgrimage season to Adam’s Peak begins on Poya Day in December. The season continues until the Vesak festival in May. The peak pilgrimage season is in April. During the season, lots of pilgrims and tourists climb to the top of the mountain to visit the temple on the summit. The goal is to be on top of the mountain at sunrise.
During the other times, the summit’s temple remains unused. Due to very heavy rain, extreme wind and thick mist, it is difficult to climb.
Before the climb to Adam’s Peak
It is a wise decision to prepare yourself before going on hiking.
First, you must check the weather report. It should be a bright day without many clouds. Rain can make the hike difficult. Even the clouds or mist will block the sunrise and beautiful views.
Here are some things that you should carry out before climbing Adam’s Peak.
- A small backpack to pack all your essentials.
- A water bottle in the case when you are tired.
- Raincoat in the case when it rains.
- Jersey and Gloves. At night it is very cold outside. It will be a wise choice to bring them with you.
- Camera to capture wonderful moments and attractive places.
- Trekking Poles to protect the knees. This is not mandatory. If you have one, it is okay to carry it.
- Keep some snacks in reserve in the case when you get hungry. You can buy snacks from the town and also during the hike. There are small spots near the climbing path.
- A good attitude. It is better to think positive all the time during the hike.
Journey to Sri Pada
A larger part of the track that leads from the base to the summit of Adam’s Peak comprises of several steps built in cement or rough stones. It may take around 5 to 7 hours to reach the summit on foot. The hiking time may vary depending on the fitness, crowds and number of breaks taken. The trek may take around 5000-6000 steps. Going up will not be difficult. But going down will be difficult for the knees. Getting down may take less time compared to climbing up. Technical climbing will not be necessary.
It is recommended to start climbing at night, which will be a remarkable experience. The night-time climbing is safe even when accompanying kids. The path leading to the peak is being illuminated with electric power lines. Along the trail, there are rest stops and wayside shops. They can provide refreshments and supplies.
The Sama Chetiya at Adam’s Peak
On the way up to the peak, you can find the “Sama Chetiya”. This is also known as “World Peace Pagoda”. It was built in the year 1976 by Ven. Nichi Fuji, a famous Japanese Buddhist monk. Currently, the temple is maintained by several Japanese monks.
On the summit of Adam’s Peak
There is a monastery at the summit of Adam’s peak. The visitors should remove their footwear before entering the monastery.
Once you reach the summit following morning, you should enjoy the majesty of the beautiful sunrise. On the summit, you can witness the stone tablet covering the Footprint-shaped mark which is 5 feet and 11 inches. It is the major centre of attraction in the summit. The footprint is enclosed in a small temple within the monastery.
There is basic accommodation on the summit of Adam’s Peak. It is better to bring your own food and if you prefer, you can bring a blanket or sleeping bag.
The journey to Adam’s Peak will be worth the effort. Travelling at night will make the hike more exciting. But some serious planning must be done before the journey. For an adventurous person, the journey to Adam’s peak will be an unforgettable experience.