Climbing the Adam’s Peak- Sri-Lanka

Adams-peak, Cr-buddhanet.net

Adams-peak, Cr-buddhanet.net

Adam’s peak is the highest mountain in Sri Lanka, located about 40 km Northeast of Rathnapura, the gem capital of Sri Lanka and 137 miles from Colombo(the capital of Sri Lanka). Buddhists believe the footprint on the summit is that of Buddha; Hindus hold it to be the mark of Shiva; Muslims are convinced it is that of Adam, who wept after the loss of Eden (whereby the mountain got its name); and some Christians believe the indentations were caused when St. Thomas, Christ’s Apostle who came East, prayed at the peak

The season traditionally starts in December and ends in April. During other months it’s hard to climb the peak due to very heavy rain, extreme wind, and thick mist. It is best to go earlier in December because towards April it’s the busy season. Weekends and particularly full moon days should be avoided. Most people make the climb at night so they can arrive in time for the sunrise. You can climb up during the day; stay overnight and go down the next morning. This way you can avoid the crowds, have plenty of time to enjoy the view, see the sunset and get the best place to observe the sunrise in the morning. Accommodation on the summit is basic and you would have to bring your own food and perhaps a sleeping bag. The Area is limited and don’t try to find comfy places because there aren’t any. However, whenever you decide to go, check the weather report. Rain can make for a miserable trip.

How To Get There:

Don’t try climbing the mountain from this side. Locals prefer this, because of more merit gained.  The climb is  more likely 10h.  Go to Ratnapura and take a Taxi to the Carney Estate, or a bus. There are plenty of supplies in the village, and for the first 2-3 kilometers up. After the village, the stretch up the mountain side through rainforest is extremely tirering   and never any plain stretches. Just steps, up, steps, up. Going down this way is very rewarding and a great trip, taking about 5-7 hours.

Actually there is another route from the South; it merges with the Ratnapura path a few kilometers before the mountain.

Northern Route:

You can take a bus from Kandy. Once at Hatton take one of the numerous private buses to the mountain, a distance of about 32km. Take the train, from Colombo (220km) and you would be able to get there.

The more adventurous traveler might consider taking the Hatton path up and the Ratnapura path down. This second path is thickly forested for its entire length, crosses numerous streams and is definitely only for those used to trekking.

Simple way:

You can take a private van to the foot of the Adam’s Peak for $60 and drop off in Kandy in front of your hotel. Driving by yourself is not recommended if you are not local because of the way people drive. So, think twice before renting a car.

What To Bring:

Whether you are climbing during the day or night, the climb can be an arduous, so bring only what you need. There are food and drink stalls almost all the way up but are pricy. You can bring some snacks and trail mix with you along with some water. Even though you might feel warm while climbing especially at night. I recommend you bringing a sweater, scarf and some gloves for the cold weather at the top. If you do climb during the day, you may not need this. The sun is hot and don’t forget to bring a good sunscreen.

The hike takes about 5 to 6h to climb and it’s about 2 miles high from the bottom. If you are not in good shape, this may vary. There are always things to buy along the way if you feel hungry or thirsty. You may notice so many shops selling souvenirs related to the climb. The Path is almost illuminated all the way to the top so, you don’t need to bring a flash light. Pilgrims climbing the peak traditionally greet each other by saying ‘Karunava’ meaning ‘Compassion to you’. If you say this to the people you meet you are sure to get a warm smile and a similar greeting in return.

The summit is a narrow place but crowded. Everyone is read to see the sunrise. As soon as you’ve done that. Head back  and try to get to the bottom quickly. The sun is hot and use some sun scream. The best way I found it to go back down is to run on steps. It might be harmful but easier way to go down. I think going down is harder than going up due to the efforts you have to make to keep it steady. People might think you are crazy but it’s fast and it took us 2h to run the peak down. When you get to the bottom, you go to your hotel room, sleep a little take a nice shower then  hit the road by train  by bus or by car. We waited the van to take us up to Kandy Hotel.

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