The Sacred Mountain


Between November to May, thousands of devotees from all four major religions in Sri Lanka climb over 2000 metres to the summit of the mountain, also known as Adams Peak, to pay homage to the impression of a gigantic footprint at the summit. Buddhists believe the footprint is that of Lord Buddha’s, the Hindu’s think it is that of the God Shiva, and the Muslims and Christians believe it is where Adam first set foot after being exiled from the Garden of Eden.

Known as Samanalakanda or Butterfly Mountain in Sinhalese, it is a significant pilgrimage site for the Buddhists. Pilgrims walk up the mountain for hours following a variety of difficult routes up thousands of steps. The mountain is most often climbed from December to May when the rain, wind, and mist is not so prevalent. The peak pilgrimage season is in April when the goal is to be on top of the mountain at sunrise. According to the Sinhalese, this is where the sun god pays homage to Lord Buddha. Pilgrims at the summit witness the distinctive shape of the mountain, as it casts a triangular shadow on the surrounding plain which moves quickly downward as the sun rises. This rite is called the ira sevaya or service of the sun. Climbing the mountain at night with the lights of the path leading up and into the stars overhead is a wonderful experience.