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Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka

Adam’s Peak is one of the most recognisable places in Sri Lanka, yet many people are not aware of the island’s famous mountain until they visit it for themselves on their Sri Lanka holidays. The mountain is held in sacrosanct by followers of four religions: Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims. However, long before any of these religions appeared on the island, the mountain was worshipped by the aboriginal inhabitants of the island, the Veddas. They named the peak Samanala Kanda after one of the island’s four deities.

Hindus also have a different name for the peak and call it Sivan Adi Padham. They believe that the giant footprint left on the peak is Shiva’s and was left on the mountain during his creation dance when he created the world. The large footprint is five foot seven inches by two foot six inches wide, but Buddhists believe that the original footprint is even larger and was left by the Buddha on his third and final visit to Sri Lanka. If you are a follower of the Christian religion, then you’ll most probably hear on your Sri Lanka holidays the story of St. Thomas, who brought Christianity to the island. However, the mountain gets that name “Adam” from the Islamic belief that he stood for a thousand years on one foot as penance. The Islamic tradition tells how, when Adam was expelled from heaven, God put him on the peak to make the shock less terrible. This is because Ceylon was believed to the place on earth that most resembled heaven, with Adam’s Peak being the closest spot on earth to heaven.

On your Sri Lanka holidays you may want to take a boat trip around the peak as the mountain is most impressive when viewed from the sea. Marco Polo was among one of the explorers who visited. Early Arab seafarers, who spotted the peak, described it as the largest mountain in the world. However, the peak is not even the largest in Sri Lanka.

If you want to hike around the island, then the best time to visit is from December to May. This time is popular with pilgrims and gets busiest in the winter months of January and February. The trek takes about four hours and, although it is possible to climb Adam’s Peak from June to November, mist and rain make the climb much less appealing. When climbing the mountain on your Sri Lanka holidays you will spot hundreds of beautifully coloured butterflies on your climb, which have earnt Adam’s Peak its nickname, Samanalakande or butterfly mountain. Once you’ve reached the top, you will notice a small Buddhist temple and the shrine of the strange footprint. It is customary to make offerings here and small coils of silver are offered by those wanting to recover from sickness. Rainwater that falls in the footprint is also said to have special healing properties.

Your Sri Lanka holidays just won’t be complete without taking a visit to Adam’s Peak and after spending time on the spectacular mountain, you’ll understand just why the Islamic tale describes it as the closest place on earth to heaven.

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