Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Adam's Peak (Part Two)

Sri Lanka: Adam's Peak (Part Two)

Following on from the first instalment of Original Travel Founder Tom Barbers' 3 part blog series about his Sri lanka Tour...

We ring the sacred bell to signify our arrival at the summit...


Spirituality in Buddhist Sri Lanka

From the north we headed down to Kandy, the last great Sinhalese kingdom before the arrival of the colonialists, where we visited the Temple of the Tooth. This is the most spiritual place in Buddhist Sri Lanka and is allegedly where one of the Buddha's teeth was taken for safe keeping after its discovery in war torn India. From here we went down into the central mountains of the tea country. Our destination was Hatton, an unremarkable village which revolved predominantly around tea cultivation. Our reason for coming here was to climb Adam's Peak (Sri Prada), a majestic mountain and the most sacred pilgrimage sight in Sri Lanka, revered not only by Buddhists but Hindus and Christians alike. It is claimed that at the top there is a footprint of Buddha as he strode away into the afterlife; Hindus claim it is of Shiva and Christians of Adam as he was exiled from the Garden of Eden.


Climbing Adam's Peak...

It was no mean feat. Equipped with a torch and a bottle of water we set off at 2am to arrive at the summit for sunrise. It didn't take us long to get to the base of the mountain, where we were met by a cheery monk who registered us, blessed us and sent us on our way. The upward climb began gradually and the walk was quiet and pleasant although walking past overbearing Buddhas and Dagobas set within misty forests at the dead of night was somewhat eerie. An hour or so into the journey we encountered a dog, which we named Sambol after the local coconut relish, who seemed to know exactly where we were going and became our guide for the rest of the journey. Three hours later, after numerous quarrels over how to ration our negligible water supply and feeling on the verge of cardiac arrest, we arrived at the summit of Adams Peak.


At the summit

It was still dark, foggy, windy, very cold and there were a few buildings but, apart from Sambol, no sign of life. Panic set in. After a brief while however a light was flicked and a rusty door creaked open. We were greeted with the toothless grin of a bleary-eyed mountain dweller who beckoned us into his room and put the kettle on. It turned out that there were another four people asleep in this room and they were all waking up and grinding up their first mouthfuls of paan. Despite being woken, they were all extremely welcoming and friendly (typically Sri Lankan) and after a few refreshing glasses of tea and some rather theatrical miming for that time of the morning, we set off to ring the sacred bell to signify our arrival at the summit and admire the view. The view however was non-existent as we were smack bang in the middle of a cloud. This was quite a tough pill to swallow as the view as the sun comes up is allegedly staggering. Satisfied nonetheless with our accomplishment we made our weary, wobbly way back down the mountain for bed. Read the final instalment of this blog here.