24 December 2009

Sri Pada Mountain


This iconic conical peak is the most sacred mountain in Sri Lanka. It is known by several names like Sri Pada (holy foot print), Siri Pada, Samanala Kanda (Butterfly Mountain) and Adam’s Peak.

The mountain is visited and worshipped by all communities of Sri Lanka as well as foreigners. Buddhists believe that the Lord Buddha once came to the top of this mountain and marked his sacred foot print. Similarly Hindus believe Lord Shiva has set his foot at the same place. Also there is a belief that Adam, the first man on earth set his foot there after he was exiled from the Garden of Eden.

The mountain is about 7300 feet tall and is one of the highest mountains in Sri Lanka. More importantly it has the highest ascend out of all mountains in the country. The climb is around 3000 feet from the foot of the mountain to the summit.

Every year thousands climb to the top to worship the sacred foot print and earn blessings. The Siri pada pilgrimage season starts from December full moon day and ends in April. The off season is usually rainy and it is not the best time to climb the mountain.

The mountain is situated in the western perimeter of the central highlands in the middle of a thick rain forest known as Samanala Adaviya or Adam’s Peak Wilderness Area. It is the principal peak of the Samanala mountain range. The range and the surrounding forest are famous for its rich biodiversity as well as breathtaking natural beauty.

One of the most fascinating sceneries is the sun rise from the top of Sri Pada. Lot of people climb Siri Pada at night to witness this charming cynosure popularly known as, 'Ira Sevaya'.

There are quite a few foot trails leading up to the mountain. Some are quite famous and some are known to villagers and experienced hikers only. I have tried four of the trails and completed three so far. Maliboda trail was tried and failed miserably. The first three mentioned below are the popular ones.

• Rathnapura, Palabaddala Trail – this is the oldest and most celebrated trail to Siripada. This 9km trail consists of the famous waypoints like Lihinihela , Geththampana, Dharmaraja Gala and Seethagangula.
Hatton, Nallathanni Trail – This is one of the shortest and the easiest trails. Hence the majority of the devotees take this route nowadays. The trail is about 6 km.
• Kuruwita, Erathna Trail – The longest and one of the more difficult trails. The entire length is around 12km. This joins with Ratnapura trail about 2 kilometers before the peak at a place called ‘Heramitipana’. This is the third most famous trail.
Maliboda Trail – This is one of the more difficult paths. The entire length is around 12km. Starts from Uda-Maliboda village off Deraniyagala and joins Kuruwita route.
• Moraywaththa Trail – The shortest trail to the peak starting from Moray estate, off Maskeliya. It joins Nallathanni path just before Mahagiri dambaya after Indikatupana. The entire trail is around 5km.
• Mukwaththa Trail – This is another not so famous track. The trail is about 7-8 km.

The above picture of Siri Pada Mountain was taken from Moraywaththa trail (at a place called Sandagalathenna). I will bring detailed accounts of the above trails later.

Please visit this site to learn more about Siripada - www.sripada.org

18 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful sacred mountain, K... Every time we hike to the top of a mountain, I do feel closer to God. There's something about a mountain being sacred. 7300 feet high is really TALL. WOW!!! Thanks for sharing.
Betsy

George said...

I'm very impressed that you've ascended this mountain three times. I think hiking to the top of that mountain would be a tremendous experience. Thanks for the great picture and the interesting information.

rainfield61 said...

It is a unique one. Very beautiful.

Vicente B said...

I just wait to see the pictures from the top. It seems a very nice mountain.
Regards from the Mediterranean

Dilsiri Welikala said...

hey kiri,

shall we climb on the 27th? me and aurore are game. i am sure shanil too. i dont have your number, so text me 0773 686 235. i have a friend who has an estate in kuruwita and there is this cave. supposed to have historial significance, we can explore that too and crash in his bungalow or something if at all. let me know. btw, ho ho ho merry christmas. oh, you can come home for a not so traditional lunch if you like.
dil

Dilsiri Welikala said...

Links to the two trips i did last year. 1. via the ratnapura asecend and kuruwita decend. 2. the hatton trail.

http://www.facebook.com/dilsiriw?ref=profile#/album.php?aid=229813&id=692850281

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=251216&id=692850281

Chavie said...

wow K! I took the Moray trail too 3 years back to reach the peak for the first time... been wanting to go back ever since. It's definitely one of my favourite trips ever, and the only proper 'hike' I've gone on! :D

Kirigalpoththa said...

Betsy,
Exactly, Everytime you climb a mountain you get a great feeling..!

George,
This is an experience that everyone should try.. Whether you are a nature lover or a devotee..I want to try all 6 routes in near future. :)

Rainfield,
hanks very much:)

VicenteB,
I'll post pictures from the top very soon. :)

Dilsiri,
Thanks a lot for the links and pictures. Looks awesome! :))

Hope you had a fab Xmas!!

Chavie,
Nice to hear you did Moray trail. Hope you stayed at fishing hut? The hike is splendid with lots of beautiful sceneries all the way to the top!

Chavie said...

Nah we couldn't stay but we did leave our vehicles there... Yeah, the trail is excellent! :D

Kirigalpoththa said...

Chavie,
We too did a similar thing for the vehicle...Yes..it is an excellent path to climb Sri pada.

Harumi said...

Wow.. you've done a very comprehensive post on Sri Pada. Didn't know there were so many routes. But I've seen one of those tough trails on TV, especially when that TV crew tried hiking during the rainy season.

I've never been up there.. but hope to climb as soon as I get a chance. But I remember seeing Sri Pada somewhat up close from Nallathanni once, some years back.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Harumi,
I had heard about 5 tracks before but heard about the 6th one recently! I think there was aprogram on 'Aware Siri pa Wandanawa' sometime back..

From Nallathanni you can see Sri Pada clearly..
You must do it atleast once! Why not do it this year..The season just started!

Anonymous said...

Web design
very useful, thanx a lot for this artilke .. This is exactly what I was looking for.

Anonymous said...

Thanks we are gonna do the erathna trail this month.its off season(rain and thunderstorms are to be expected)would be a great adventure

Anonymous said...

Sederhana dan manis. Aku sedang berpikir untuk memulai blog lain atau lima segera, dan saya pasti akan mempertimbangkan tema ini. Keep em 'datang!

Kirigalpoththa said...

Anonymous 1,
Thanks for the link!

Anonymous 2,
Hope you had a good hike :)

Anonymous 3,
Terima Kasih :)

Nads said...

Are there any waterfalls starting from Mount Samanala ?

Kirigalpoththa said...

Nads,
This one was in fact in the adjoining mountain of Sri Pada - that was the closest i remember.