Sri Pada - Mountain
Sri Lanka's most revered mountain, Sri Pada or Adam's Peak is located in a very breathtaking area of the southern hill country. Sri Pada has been a pilgrimage centre perhaps for all faiths for over 1000 years. The sacred footprint, a rock formation nearby the summit, is believed to be the Lord Buddha's. Therefore, thousands of devotees throng to this sacred mountain peak in order to worship the sacred footprint of the Buddha. Sri Pada is a conical mountain 7,360 feet high, soaring clear above the surrounding mountain ranges. The pilgrimage usually takes place from December to April, which is the dry season just before the southeast monsoon breaks. The great desire of every pilgrim is to reach the peak before dawn to see the magnifi cent sight of the sunrise and thereafter perform their religious rites. Young, old and married women carrying children and old men, who appear physically incapable of the tiring effort, make the ascent strengthened by the belief that they are doing a meritorious act. Since of late it-has become a pleasure.
trip for some. The climb is by no means easy. It takes several hours to reach the top. There are several resting places at various points on the path, where pilgrims are able to rest, cook and have their meals or even spend a night. There is a river that separates the peak from the surrounding mountain range in which pilgrims take a ceremonial bath of cleansing and change into clean clothes before crossing over a fort bridge to the sacred mountain itself. From this point the path is an ascent of steps, very steep at some points. Especially at these and other points railings are fi xed to support the climbers. Many make the ascent during the night in order to reach the peak before dawn; the pathway is today lit with electricity. but earlier there were only lanterns at various points. Groups of pilgrims recite devotional songs as they climb. Cries of "Sadhu Sadhu" are heard especially, when one group passes another.