Incredibly scenic, somewhat intimidating and very twisty roads took us from Kitulgala to the small village of Dalhousie.
Dalhousie is the starting point of the trek up Adam’s peak and is about 1000m above sea level, perched precariously on the edge of a river gorge.
Adam’s Peak is a 2,243 m high conical mountain which is famous for its Sri Pada, “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.
We climbed a week or so before the start of the ‘season’. During the season, thousands of pilgrims climb at night with the path lit by electric lights and with many sellers of food and tea contributing to a festival atmosphere along the way. Traditionally you start at 2am, in order to reach the summit (or usually somewhere below on busy days) so that at sunrise the beautiful triangular shadow of the mountain can be seen as it’s cast on the clouds below.
We decided that 5am start would be just dandy, and managed to get the entire walk up and the summit to ourselves. There were no lights and no food sellers – although a bottle of cola half way up was a welcome surprise! The 4814 stairs, which the boys dutifully counted, began to offer up quite a bit of discomfort on the way down, this was a little tempered by watching locals lug up sacks of coal and cement in thongs for 30c/kg. It wasn’t till the next day that we started to really notice the pain of the 14km round trip!
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