Adam Peak, Nuwara Eliya - Timings, Accessibility, Best Time to Visit

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Nuwara Eliya): 71 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 4-6 Hours

Place Location: Near Nallathanni Or Dalhousie

Transportation Options: + Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: None

At a distance of 71 km from Nuwara Eliya, Adam's Peak is a conical mountain located in the Sri Pada Wilderness Sanctuary, which is one of the largest sanctuaries in Sri Lanka. It is one of Sri Lanka's most striking natural landmarks and among the most celebrated places of pilgrimage in Sri Lanka.

Also known as Sri Pada and Samanala Kanda, Adam's Peak is standing at 2,243 m (7,359 feet) tall in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Trekking up the mountain is extremely popular with both tourists and locals, who are allured by its mystery as well as the enchanting beauty they are rewarded with at the top. The mountain is also known for the spectacular sight of thousands of beautiful butterflies gracing the area annually.

The mountain has accumulated a number of legends centered around the curious depression at its summit, the Sri Pada or Sacred Footprint. The original Buddhist story claims that this is the footprint of the Buddha himself, made at the request of the local god Saman. Hindus believed that the footprint belongs to Shiva while Muslims claimed that the footprint to be that of Adam. Many centuries later, the colonial Portuguese attempted to rescue the footprint for the Christian faith, claiming that it belonged to St. Thomas. Despite all these rival claims, Adam's Peak remains an essentially Buddhist place of worship since the Polonnaruwa period.

The ascent of Adam's Peak is traditionally made by night, allowing visitors to reach the top in time for dawn, which offers the best odds of seeing the extraordinary views free from clouds as well as a chance a glimpsing the peak's enigmatic shadow. Most visitors climb the mountain during the pilgrimage season, which starts on the Duruthu Poya day in December or January and continues until the Vesak Poya in May. During the season the weather is at its best, and the chances of clear dawn at the summit highest.

Access to the mountain is possible by 6 trails: Ratnapura-Palabaddala, Hatton-Nallathanni or Dalhousie, Kuruwita-Erathna, Murraywatte, Mookuwatte, and Malimboda. The Nallathanni & Palabaddala routes are most favored by those undertaking the climb, while the Kuruwita-Erathna trail is used less often. The usual route taken by most pilgrims is ascent via Dalhousie and descent via Ratnapura. This is the steepest and shorter than any of the other trails. The track up the mountain starts at the far end of Dalhousie village, passing a large standing Buddha. The greater part of the track leading from the base to the summit consists of 5000 - 6000 steps built in cement or rough stones. The trails are illuminated with electric light, making night-time ascent possible and safe to do even when accompanied by children. Rest stops and wayside shops along the trails serve refreshments and supplies. It can take approximately two to four hours to climb and one to two hours to descend.

Timings: 24 Hours

Entry: Free