Come visit to lofty peak - Sri Pada

P.D. Padmasiri By P.D. Padmasiri, 25th Aug 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>Sri Lanka>Colombo & Around

Traditional belief among Sinhala Buddhists is that the peak holds the footprint of Gautama Buddha. However, various other religious groups too lay claim to it according to their own creeds.

Footprint of Lord Buddha

Samanalakanda, rising to 2243m or 7362’ is in the Ratnapura District of the Sabaragamuva Province. Perhaps, there is no other mountain in the world, as famous as Sripada, and so extensively referred to, down the ages, in various literatures, as Adam’s Peak. Traditional belief among Sinhala Buddhists is that the peak holds the footprint of Gautama Buddha. However, various other religious groups too lay claim to it according to their own creeds. This holy mountain located about 122 kilometers due east from Colombo is in the Southern reaches of the Central highlands and adjacent to extensive wildlife reserves. With no other comparable mountains nearby, Sri Pada rises prominently above the surrounding area, soaring to a height of 2243 meters above sea level. This is Sri Lanka's mos revered site, considered sacred not only by Buddhists, but also by Christians, Muslims and Hindus.

Sri Pada - Shrouded in legend

The pilgrim season to the holy mountain Sri Pada (also known as Samantakuta, Samanhela, Samangira, Samanalakanda and Samanalagira), begins annually on the 'Unduvap' fullmoon day in December and ends on the 'Vesak' fullmoon day in May. During this open semester, pilgrims ascend the mountain to pay homage to the sacred footmark, which is considered holy by the Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Moslems alike, according to their individual beliefs. Therefore, Sri Pada is the only mountain in the world receiving benefactions and veneration of devotees belonging to different faiths. The summit of the mountain is a small plateau, and according to measurements made by Lieut. Malcolm (the first European to ascend the mountain in 1816), "it is 74 ft. in length and 24 ft. in breadth," the total area being 1,776 sq. ft. On the summit there is a huge boulder, about 8 ft. high., atop which is found the sacred footmark. According to mythical conception woven into the fabric of native folklore, the real impression of the Foot lies under the boulder, on a blue sapphire. To prevent it from sacrilegious profanation, god Sakra had covered it with the boulder.

Request of God Saman

Buddhists believe that the footmark on the summit of Sri Pada is that of Buddha, who, during his third visit to Kelaniya, 2,580 year ago, kept the imprint of his left foot thereon as a relict worthy of veneration. He did so at the kind request of god Saman, the tutelary deity of the mountain wilderness, whose divine eye is supposed to cast upon Deraniyagala, Boltumbe, Ellakkala, Nivitigala and the mountain Benasamanalagala.

Climbing season

The climbing season is between December and May, as the heavy rains and strong winds during the other parts of the year make the ascent difficult and very risky. Climbers usually set off in the night to take advantage of the cool temperatures and time their ascent to reach the summit before daybreak. You will see that trek starts off in a gradual fashion but becomes more and more rigid and strenuous as the climb becomes an almost continuous journey of going up steep, but usually broad steps. You will also find along the way there are dozens of small but colorful and brightly lit tea houses and shops which break the monotony of your climb having a cup of tea or hot coffee in a cool breeze on the top there makes it quite interesting. These are useful places to take a rest. On reaching the peak you will find a huge crowd queuing up to pay their respects at the shrine housing the sacred footprint.

Magical sunrise

The most fascinating and spectacular view you can witness on the peak is magical sunrise.
A light & shadow play few moments following the crack of dawn during the period January to April when the incredible sunrise produces the famous spectacle known as the "Shadow of the Peak", which leaves all ventured on to the summit spellbound.

Way down

After witnessing it the crowd disperses and makes its way down. Located in a beautiful and fascinating area of the southern Hill Country, this lofty peak has sparked the imagination for centuries. Once visited, sweet memories of this great site will never be erased off in your mind because it will be a once in the lifetime experience.

Photos from: Trivago,Vascoplanet,Photolanka

Tags

Buddha, Buddhism, Buddhist Temples, Buddhist Thought, Buddhists, Christianity, Christians, Footprint, Mountains, Muslim Community, Muslims, Sacred, Sacred Places

Meet the author

author avatar P.D. Padmasiri
I am from Weedagama, Bandaragama, SRI LANKA, HR Manager by profession and have 17 years of experience in my chosen field. I am interested in writing on Buddhism, Spiritual advancement, Nature etc.

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Comments

author avatar Delicia Powers
25th Aug 2011 (#)

Very lovely, thank you for bringing us such amazing and beautiful places P. D.:0)

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author avatar Sheila Newton
25th Aug 2011 (#)

Just gotta go to Sri Pada. It looks and sound like an amazing, inspiring place to be. Lovely article.

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author avatar P.D. Padmasiri
25th Aug 2011 (#)

Thanks so much Sheila for reading and gaining much about this inspiring place in our beautiful country, Sri Lanka. Best regards

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author avatar Buzz
26th Aug 2011 (#)

Great read, my friend.

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author avatar Vernazoa
3rd Sep 2011 (#)

I love the pics. I have a girlfriend that is a Buddhist and I know very little about her beliefs.
This is a good time to call her and let her know about your article. Well done!

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author avatar P.D. Padmasiri
4th Sep 2011 (#)

Thank you very much dear Vernazoa for all information along with inspiring comments. I hope you will share this with your friend. There are so much to be learnt
about Buddhism only way to achieve inner peace for life. Best regards and good luck

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