Adam's Peak

Adam's Peak is a 2,243 m (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well known for the Sri Pada, i.e., "sacred footprint", a 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) rock formation near the summit, which in Buddhist tradition is held to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Islamic and Christian tradition that of Adam, or that of St. Thomas.[1][2]

Adam's Peak
Sri Pada
Sri Pada
Adam's Peak from a distance
Highest point
Elevation2,243 m (7,359 ft)
Coordinates06°48′41″N 80°29′59″E / 6.81139°N 80.49972°ECoordinates: 06°48′41″N 80°29′59″E / 6.81139°N 80.49972°E
Adam's Peak is located in Sri Lanka
Adam's Peak
Adam's Peak
Sri Lanka
LocationSabaragamuwa, Sri Lanka
Parent rangeSamanala


UG-LK Photowalk - 2018-03-24 - Maskeliya Reservoir (3)
Adam's Peak from Maskeliya, in March 2018.

The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands in the Ratnapura District and Nuwara Eliya district of the Sabaragamuwa Province and Central Province —lying about 40 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura and 32 km southwest of the city of Hatton. 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.

Adam's Peak is important as a watershed. The districts to the south and the east of Adam's Peak yield precious stones—emeralds, rubies and sapphires, for which the island has been famous, and which earned for its ancient name of Ratnadvipa.[3]


Sri Pada - The Holy Mountain
The Holy peak viewed at Adiyamalatenna Ambalama – Kuruwita-Erathna trail
Sri pada road

Access to the mountain is possible by 6 trails: Ratnapura-Palabaddala, Hatton-Nallathanni, Kuruwita-Erathna, Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda. The Nallathanni & Palabaddala routes are most favored by those undertaking the climb, while the Kuruwita-Erathna trail is used less often; these trails are linked to major cities or town by bus, accounting for their popular use. The Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda routes are hardly used, but do intersect with the Palabaddala road midway through the ascent. The usual route taken by most pilgrims is ascent via Hatton and descent via Ratnapura; although the Hatton trail is the steepest, it is also shorter than any of the other trails by approximately five kilometers.

Once one of the starting 'nodes' of Palabadalla, Nallathanni or Erathna are reached, the rest of the ascent is done on foot through the forested mountainside on the steps built into it. The greater part of the track leading from the base to the summit consists of thousands of steps built in cement or rough stones. The trails are illuminated with electric light, making night-time ascent possible and safe to do even when accompanied by children. Rest stops and wayside shops along the trails serve refreshments and supplies.

Whilst there are many ancient monuments on the mountain, there is an important Peace Pagoda located halfway up, built by Nipponzan Myohoji in 1978.


Mahagiri Dambaya
Mahagiri Dambaya

Due to its significance to the various people that inhabit the country, the mountain is referred to by a variety of names.

The often used Sri Pada is derived from Sanskrit, used by the Sinhalese people in a religious context; this name also has meaning in Pāli, and may be translated roughly as "the sacred foot". It refers to the footprint-shaped mark at the summit, which is believed by Buddhists to be that of the Buddha. Christian and Islamic traditions assert that it is the footprint of Adam, left when first setting foot on Earth after having been cast out of paradise, giving it the name "Adam's Peak". Hindu tradition refers to the footprint as that of the Hindu deity Shiva, and thus names the mountain Shiva padam (Shiva's foot) in Tamil. Tamils may also use the name Shivanolipatha Malai to refer to the mountain.

Another Sinhala name for the mountain is Samanalakanda, which refers either to the deity Saman, who is said to live upon the mountain, or to the butterflies (samanalayā) that frequent the mountain during their annual migrations to the region. The name Sri Paada, however, is the more commonly used.

Other local and historic names include Ratnagiri ("jewelled hill"), Samantakuta ("Peak of Saman"), Svargarohanam ("the climb to heaven"), Mount Rohana and other variations on the root Rohana.


Sripada in 1890
Sri Pada (Adam's Peak) in 1890 during the British rule in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Sri Pada is first mentioned (as `Samanthakuta') in the Deepawamsa, the earliest Pali chronicle, (4th century), and also in the 5th century chronicle Mahawamsa, where it is stated that the Buddha visited the mountain peak. The chronicle Rajavaliya states that the King Valagamba (1st century BCE) had taken refuge in the forests of Adam's Peak against invaders from India, and later returned to Anuradhapura. The Mahawamsa again mentions the visit of King Vijayabahu I (1058–1114) to the mountain. The famous Chinese pilgrim and Buddhist traveler Fa Hien stayed in Sri Lanka in 411–12 CE and mentions Sri Pada although it is not made clear whether he actually visited it.

The Italian merchant Marco Polo in his Travels of 1298 CE noted that Adam's Peak was an important place of pilgrimage but did not mention a footprint in the rock.[4] The Arab traveler Ibn Battuta climbed to the summit of the mountain which he called Sarandīb in 1344 CE. In his description he mentions a stairway and iron stanchions with chains to help the pilgrims.[5][6][7] John Davy brother of the noted chemist Sir Humphry Davy visited the peak in 1817. He recorded observing an oversized foot print carved in stone and ornamented with a single margin of brass and studded with gems.[8]

The Sacred Mountain

Maskeliya 01
The village of Nallathanniya at the foot of the mountain, where the stairs begin

It is revered as a holy site by Buddhists, Hindus, some Muslims and Christians. It has specific qualities that cause it to stand out and be noticed; including its dominant and outstanding profile, and the boulder at the peak that contains an indentation resembling a footprint. As the 1910, Encyclopædia Britannica notes[9]

"For a long period Sri Pada was supposed to be the highest mountain in Ceylon, but actual survey makes it only 7353 ft. above sea-level. This elevation is chiefly remarkable as the resort of pilgrims from all parts of the East. The hollow in the lofty rock that crowns the summit is said by the Buddhists of Buddha, by the Hindus to be the footstep of Siva, by some Muslims of Adam, whilst the Portuguese Christians were divided between the conflicting claims of St Thomas and the eunuch of Candace, queen of Ethiopia. The footstep is covered by a handsome roof, and is guarded by the priests of a rich monastery half-way up the mountain, who maintain a shrine on the summit of the peak."

It is an important pilgrimage site, especially for Buddhists. Pilgrims walk up the mountain, following a variety of difficult routes up thousands of steps. The journey takes several hours at least.

The mountain is most often scaled from December to May. During other months it is hard to climb the mountain due to very heavy rain, extreme wind, and thick mist.The peak pilgrimage season is in April, and the goal is to be on top of the mountain at sunrise, when the distinctive shape of the mountain casts a triangular shadow on the surrounding plain and can be seen to move quickly downward as the sun rises.


Sri Paada1
A view of Adam's peak from Maskeliya town

For Buddhists, the footprint mark is the left foot of the Buddha, left behind when Buddha visited Sri Lanka, as a symbol for worship at the invitation of Buddhist God Saman.

Tamil Hindus consider it as the footprint of Lord Shiva. It is also fabled that the mountain is the legendary mount Trikuta the capital of Ravana during the Ramayana times from where he ruled Lanka.

Some Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka ascribe it to where Adam, the first Ancestor, set foot as he was exiled from the Garden of Eden. The legends of Adam are connected to the idea that Sri Lanka was the original Eden,[10][11] and in the Muslim tradition that Adam was 30 ft tall.[12]

A shrine to Saman, a Buddhist "deity" (People who have spent spiritual life during their life on earth and done pacificism service to regions are deified by Sri Lankan Buddhists) charged with protecting the mountain top, can be found near the footprint.

See also


  1. ^ "Seruwila to Sri Pada (Sacred Foot Print Shrine)". Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  2. ^ Ricci, Ronit (2011). LITERATURE, CONVERSION, AND THE ARABIC COSMOPOLIS OF SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA. University of Chicago Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-226-71088-4.
  3. ^ Palihapitiya. "P.G.G." Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  4. ^ Yule, Henry; Cordier, Henri (1903). The Book of Ser Marco Polo (Volume 2) (3rd ed.). London: John Murray. pp. 316–330.
  5. ^ Defrémery, C.; Sanguinetti, B.R. trans. and eds. (1858). Voyages d'Ibn Batoutah (Volume 4) (in French and Arabic). Paris: Société Asiatic. pp. 179–182.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Gibb, H.A.R.; Beckingham, C.F. trans. and eds. (1994). The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, A.D. 1325–1354 (Volume 4). London: Hakluyt Society. pp. 853–854. ISBN 978-0-904180-37-4.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Dunn, Ross E. (2005) [1986]. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta. University of California Press. pp. 242–243. ISBN 0-520-24385-4.
  8. ^ Davy, John (1818). "A description of Adam's Peak. By John Davy, M.D. F.R.S. In a letter addressed to Sir Humphrey Davy F.R.S. LL.D. Colombo May 1st 1817". The Journal of Science and the Arts. 5: 25–30.
  9. ^ Chisolm, Hugh (1910). The Encyclopædia Britannica (Vol. 5). University press. p. 778.
  10. ^ "Adam's Peak". Places of Peace and Power. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Adam's Peak: Myth, Legend and Geography". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  12. ^ "Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka". Retrieved 27 October 2016.

Further reading

External links

Batatotalena Cave

The Batatotalena Cave, also known as the Diva Guhava in Buddhist literature, is a cave system in Sudagala, 8 km (5 mi) away from the town of Kuruwita, in the Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka.

The cave measures approximately 15 m (49 ft) high, 18 m (59 ft) wide, and 25 m (82 ft) in length, totalling the internal cave area to 6,800 m3 (240,000 cu ft). Accessing the cave involves a 400 m (1,300 ft) hike from Sudagala, and an additional 50 m (160 ft) climb to reach the cave entrance. Approximately 30 m (98 ft) from the cave is another partially submerged cave, which is accessible after a 20 m (66 ft) swim.In Buddhism, it is believed to be the cave in which the Lord Buddha spent the day after placing his footprint on Adam's Peak, from where he supposedly proceeded to Dighavapi.

Dalhousie, Sri Lanka

Dalhousie, Nallathanniya or Delhousie is a village in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. The place is situated en route to Adam's Peak. The village borrowed its name from a nearby tea estate.


Haputale (Sinhalese: හපුතලේ; Tamil: அப்புத்தளை) is a town of Badulla District in the Uva Province, Sri Lanka, governed by an Urban Council. The elevation is 1431 m (4695 ft) above the sea level. The area has a rich bio-diversity dense with numerous varieties of flora and fauna. Haputale is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations. The town has a cooler climate than its surroundings, due to its elevation. The Haputale pass allows views across the Southern plains of Sri Lanka. The South-West boundary of Uva basin is marked by the Haputale mountain ridges, which continue on to Horton Plains and Adam's Peak to the west. CNN in 2010 named Haputale as one of Asia's most overlooked destinations.Notable Government institutions are :

Police Station

Government Hospital

Railway Station

Haputale Divisional Education Office

Main Post Office


Hatton, Sri Lanka

Hatton (Sinhalese: හැටන්, Tamil: ஹற்றன்) is a town in the Nuwara Eliya District of Central Province, Sri Lanka governed by the Hatton-Dickoya Urban Council. Hatton is a major centre of the Sri Lankan tea industry.

Hatton is one of the busiest cities in the hill country of Sri Lanka and is colloquially known as the tea capital of the country, as it is the central point for most upcountry tea growing regions, such as Maskeliya, Talawakelle, Bogawantalawa and Dickoya.

It is located approximately 83 km (52 mi) southeast of Colombo and 44 km (27 mi) south of Kandy, at an elevation of 1,271 m (4,170 ft) above sea level.

Hatton was founded during the British colonial times in order to serve the coffee plantations and latter tea estates. The name of the town refers to the village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. A number of the surrounding tea estates are also named after Scottish villages.

Hatton serves as a gateway to Adam's Peak (Sri Pada) and Sinharaja Forest Reserve, but is better known for its Ceylon tea plantations and Stassen group tea.

Kokoona zeylanica

Kokoona zeylanica, known in Sinhala as කොකුන් - (Kokun) is a species of plant in the Celastraceae family. The genus is classified in the family Hippocrateaceae by some authorities.It is endemic to Sri Lanka. It is extant at Adam's Peak and at Kanneliya.The species has been listed by the IUCN as threatened.

List of mountains of Sri Lanka

The following page lists all mountain peaks of Sri Lanka that are over 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in elevation.

Maha Saman Devalaya

Maha Saman Devalaya or the Great Saman Temple (also called Sumana Saman Devalaya) is a shrine dedicated to deity Saman, situated at Ratnapura, Sri Lanka who is the presiding deity of the Sri Pada Mountain (Adam's Peak) which is also called Samanthakuta meaning the mountain of Saman which is believed to have the left foot impression of Lord Buddha which he kept in his visit to Sri Lanka.

Pada (foot)

Pāda is the Sanskrit term for "foot" (cognate to English foot, Latin pes, Greek pous), with derived meanings "step, stride; footprint, trace; vestige, mark".

The term has a wide range of applications, including any one of four parts (as it were one foot of a quadruped), or any sub-division more generally, e.g. a chapter of a book (originally a section of a book divided in four parts).

In Sanskrit metre, pāda is the term for a metrical foot.

As a measure of length, a pada amounts to 12 or 15 fingers' breadth, or 1/2 or 1/3 or 3/7 of a Prakrama.

In Sanskrit grammar, a pada is any inflected word (noun or verb).

In Buddhism, pāda is the term for a Buddha footprint. Gautama Buddha’s footprints symbolized his presence, and his image and iconography developed several centuries after he had died. There are also several landmarks venerated as "footprints" (pāda, also pādamudrā) of Hindu deities. For example, Si Pada on Adam's Peak is a rock formation in Sri Lanka venerated as the footprint of Buddha in Buddhist tradition, the footprint of Shiva in Hinduism, and the footprint of Adam in Muslim tradition.

Peak Wilderness Sanctuary

Peak Wilderness sanctuary is a natural reserve in Sri Lanka. It is the third largest (by area) of the 50 sanctuaries in the country."Sri Pada" Peak Wilderness sanctuary is a tropical rain forest that spreads over a land of 224 square kilometers around the Sri Pada (Adam's Peak) mountain. A huge forest area that belonged to the Peak Wilderness was cut down and cleared during the British colonial rule in Sri Lanka (1815-1948) to gain land for the massive tea estates which are still functioning in Nuwara Eliya district. The remaining portion of the Peak Wilderness was declared a wildlife sanctuary on October 25, 1940.

The contours of "Sri Pada" Peak Wilderness vary from 1000 to 7360 feet above sea level. Therefore, it possesses unusual geographical formations compared to the other natural reserves of the island. Bena Samanala (6579 ft), Dotalugala, Detanagala, are some of the taller mountains in the Peak Wilderness. It is also the birthplace of Kelani, Kalu, Walave rivers and many tributaries of the river Mahaweli which make waterfalls such as Dotalu falls, Geradi falls, Galagama falls (655 ft), and Mapanana falls (330 ft) inside the sanctuary.

Out of the 3 access routes; Hatton route, Kuruwita route and Palabaddala route, which Buddhist devotees and other tourists use to reach the Adam’s Peak, Kuruwita and Palabaddala routes go right across the Peak Wilderness sanctuary. This forest area is entirely under the control of Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Department. It does not maintain any lodge, bungalow or such type of facility for tourists inside Peak Wilderness sanctuary in order to safeguard the purity of this forest. Yet, there is no restriction for eco-tourists to enter the sanctuary after obtaining permission from Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Department. Entering the sanctuary during the rain season is at the tourist’s own risk because of the unforeseen downpours and instant floods lead to life-risk situations.

Perbrinckia gabadagei

Perbrinckia gabadagei is a species of freshwater crabs of the family Gecarcinucidae that is endemic to Sri Lanka. The species was once categorized as vulnerable by founders, but now considered to be critically endangered and probably extinct due to lack of recent evidences since 1996. The species first found from Adam's Peak area. It is very rarely found, and known to live under moist soil, and near water sources.

Perbrinckia integra

Perbrinckia integra is a species of freshwater crabs of the family Gecarcinucidae that is endemic to Sri Lanka. The species is categorized as vulnerable by founders due to habitat destruction and human interference. The species is found around Adam's Peak area only. It is found, and known to live under moist rocks, and near water sources.

Pseudophilautus bambaradeniyai

Pseudophilautus bambaradeniyai (Bambaradeniya's shrub frog) is a species of frogs in the family Rhacophoridae, endemic to Sri Lanka.

Its natural habitats are wet lowland forests of Sri Lanka. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is one of the 8 species of rhacophorids that was discovered from Adam's Peak recently.

Pseudophilautus dayawansai

Pseudophilautus dayawansai (Dayawansa's shrub frog) is a species of frog in the family Rhacophoridae, endemic to Sri Lanka.

Its natural habitats are wet lowland forests of Sri Lanka. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is one of the 8 species of rhacophorids that was discovered from Adam's Peak recently.

Pseudophilautus jagathgunawardanai

Pseudophilautus jagathgunawardanai (Jagath Gunawardena's shrub frog) is a species of frogs in the family Rhacophoridae, endemic to Sri Lanka.

Its natural habitats are wet lowland forests of Sri Lanka. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is one of the 8 species of rhacophorids that was discovered from Adam's Peak recently.

Pseudophilautus karunarathnai

Pseudophilautus karunarathnai (Karunarathna's shrub frog) is a species of frogs in the family Rhacophoridae, endemic to Sri Lanka.

Its natural habitats are wet lowland forests of Sri Lanka. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is one of the 8 species of rhacophorids that was discovered from Adam's Peak recently.

Pseudophilautus newtonjayawardanei

Pseudophilautus newtonjayawardanei (Newton Jayawardanei's shrub frog) is a species of frogs in the family Rhacophoridae, endemic to Sri Lanka.

Its natural habitats are wet lowland forests of Sri Lanka. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is one of the 8 species of rhacophorids that was discovered from Adam's Peak recently.

Pseudophilautus sirilwijesundarai

Pseudophilautus sirilwijesundarai (Siril Wijesundara's shrub frog) is a species of frogs in the family Rhacophoridae, endemic to Sri Lanka.

Its natural habitats are wet lowland forests of Sri Lanka. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is one of the 8 species of rhacophorids that was discovered from Adam's Peak recently.


Ratnapura (Sinhalese: රත්නපුර; Tamil: இரத்தினபுரி) ("City of Gems" in Sinhala and Tamil) is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of Sabaragamuwa Province, as well as the Ratnapura District, and is a traditional centre for the Sri Lankan gem trade. It is located on the Kalu Ganga (Black River) in south-central Sri Lanka, some 101 km (63 mi) southeast of the country's capital, Colombo. Ratnapura is also spelled as Rathnapura.

The name 'Ratnapura' is a Sanskrit word meaning "city of gems", from the Sanskrit words pura (town) and ratna (gemstone). Over 2000 years ago, when the first Buddhist monks arrived here from the north eastern provinces of India namely Bodh-Gaya, Varanasi and Pataliputra, they not only brought with them the Buddhist religion, but since their teachings were mainly in Sanskrit and Pali they also influenced the local language. While candy produced from the jaggery palm is traditionally known in this region as ratnapura, it is more likely that the candy was named for the locale rather than vice versa.It is the centre of a long-established industry of precious stone mining including rubies, sapphires, and other gems. Apart from gem mining, the city is known for the production of rice and fruit. Large plantations of tea and rubber surround the city. Tea grown in this region is called low-country tea. There is a well-established tourism industry in Ratnapura. Nearby Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Udawalawe National Park, Kitulgala, and Adam's Peak are especially popular among tourists.In 1901, the town of Ratnapura had a population of 4,084, and by 2011, it had increased to 52,170, with Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims each constituting a significant portion of the population.

Walawe River

The Walawe (Sinhalese: වලවේ ගඟ, Tamil: வளவை ஆறு) is a 38.7 km (24.0 mi) long river in Sri Lanka which initiates from Adam's Peak. It meets the Indian Ocean at the coastal town of Ambalantota.

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