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Adam's Peak


Adam’s Peak is also known as “Butterfly Mountain”, after the colourful clouds of butterflies that flock to the mountain during their annual migration through the region, and is one of Sri Lanka’s most-visited pilgrimage sites for Hindus, Christians, and Muslims, but especially in the Buddhist tradition. Its 2,243-metre summit is accessible by six different trails of varying difficulty; the usual climb is via Hatton. During the main pilgrimage season between December and May, the trails are illuminated at night, and the nocturnal climb is considered the most dramatic, arriving after four hours or so at the famous Sri Pada, the “Buddha’s footprint”, a 5x2-foot rock formation now housed in a tiled wooden sanctum, and believed to be the footprint of the Buddha. Other religious traditions have their own interpretation of the site; it is also thought to be where Adam first touched Earth after having been expelled from Paradise. The trails are not for the faint-hearted or weak-kneed: there are around 6,000 rough-hewn steps in stone and concrete, although there are rest stops and shelters along the way, some dating back to the 11th century. The trails will be full of pilgrims of all descriptions in colourful dress, chanting and performing ancient rituals along the way. Arriving at the top at the break of dawn, you will be rewarded with the most marvellous views of the mountain’s conical shadow, razor-sharp (weather permitting) over the surrounding forest-covered hillsides of the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and the Horton Plains National Park. You will be following in some illustrious footsteps; previous climbers of Adam’s Peak are thought to include Sinbad the Sailor, Marco Polo, and Alexander the Great.