Adam’s Peak is popularly known among the locals as Samanala Kanda, or Butterfly Mountain in Sinhala. The mountain is 2,243 meters tall tapering at its peak and is the most esteemed site in the Sabaragamuwa Province. Why is it special? It is unique as it is a blessed site to the followers of the world’s four major religions; Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Buddhists believe that the mark of the footprint is the left foot of the Buddha. Hindus believe that it is the footprint of Shiva. Muslims attribute it to as where Adam, the first man, set foot when he was exiled from the Garden of Eden and Christians believe that the it is a footprint of St. Thomas who was the disciple Jesus. There are seasons in which the holy site is visited most by followers but the climb itself is a memorable journey.
The climb is through Gampola and Ginigathhena and you will find the story of this old path carved on two rocks off the 28th milestone on the Nawalapitiya – Ambagamuwa road. The spot is called Akuruketupana and the inscription dates to around 1100 AD. Today there are four other roads to the peak, the shortest being via Maskeliya and the most popular. Other roads are on the Sabaragamuwa side.
The Nissankaala Lena on the road to Adam’s Peak (via Maskeliya, Hatton)
This is believed the cave in the mountainside, where King Keerthi Sri Nissanka buried a great treasure, including his regalia. It is only after one passes this cave and enters the forest that one comes to the Sita Gangula, a holy river of ice-cold water, where pilgrims bathe and put on white garments, before continuing their journey to the peak.