Hiking to Adam’s Peak (otherwise known as Sri Pada) in Sri Lanka is a memorable experience. It was a night time hike, climbing up endless stairs which get steeper as you near the top of this sacred mountain in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. Seemingly endless, I expected it to be a bit easier, but alas, we reached the top. Here’s an overview on hiking to Adam’s Peak.
How to get to Sri Pada/Adam’s Peak
First of all you need to head to the mountain village of Dellhousie (also spelt Del House and Dalhousie). It’s not easy to get there but you can either take a bus to the town of Dellhousie or hire a driver.
Nestled in Sri Lanka’s hill country, bear in mind that the mountain roads are not the easiest to navigate or drive through at night, so the best advice is to get there in daylight.
The best place to stay is the mountain village of Dellhousie and while there are a load of accommodation options in Dellhousie, bear in mind that it gets popular at certain times so you may need to book in advance, with January and February being the busiest months. We stayed at the White House Hotel.
I advise bringing plenty of water, a soft drink, a few snack, as well as a raincoat, poncho or an umbrella as well as sunscreen, a hat, mosquito repellent and sun glasses. The hike starts at night so a torch comes in handy as does a headlamp, though most of the path is lit with lampposts. You’ll want to leave at around 2:30 am and by 3 am, you should be at the foot of Adam’s Peak.
4am – a continual ascent; it’s dark but lit by lampposts.
By 6:30 am, we reached the top but because of the mist, we didn’t have a clear view….we did however see quite a few pilgrims worshipping in the many rooms at the top.
The pilgrimage season (yes there is such a thing!) starts in December on Poya Day and it runs until the Vesak Festival in May. This is the busiest time to do the hike and as mentioned above, January and February are the busiest two months. We did the hike in February but apparently the temple at the top is rarely used for the rest of the year meaning the path is not lit up, so bear that in mind if you choose another time of year for the hike.
The hike is roughly 8 kilometres, so just over 15 kilometres for the return and there are over 5,000 steps all the way up, descending a total of 10,400 steps for the full trip.
Be ready for lots of music and prayers on the way up and warning: the music is loud and indecipherable!
We had heard rumours of muggings and thefts but once you’ve done the hike you will struggle to believe that as everyone seems so friendly. Mosquitos and leeches are also an issue depending on the time of year.
What is Adam’s Peak?
Adam’s Peak is a sacred mountain and various stories have developed over the years, one of which is where Adam came down to earth from heaven and landed. Another theory and the reason for the name Sri Pada (sacred footprint) is because there was a footprint left here by the Buddha before he headed up into paradise!
At the top of Adam’s Peak there are shelters to rest in. These were all built by previous Kings so that the pilgrims could rest here. I read that pilgrims have been doing the upward hike to Adam’s Peak for over 1,000 years.
Hiking to Adam’s Peak video diary: