Adam's Peak (also Adam's Mount; Sinhalese Samanalakanda "butterfly mountain", Tamil Sivanolipatha Malai), is a 2,243 metres (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well-known for the Sri Pada "sacred footprint", a 1.8 m rock formation near the summit, in Buddhist tradition held to be the footprint of Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Muslim tradition that of Adam.
The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands, in the Ratnapura district of the Sabaragamuwa Province - lying about 20 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura. The surrounding region is largely forested hills, with no mountain of comparable size nearby.
Access to the mountain is generally provided by a bus that travels
between Sripada and the nearby town of Maskeliya, to the northeast. The
summit of the mountain, however, may only be reached on foot.
Due to its historical significance to the various peoples that
inhabit the region, the mountain, itself, is referred to by a variety
Sri Pada is the term, derived from Sanskrit, used by the Sinhalese people in a religious context. This name is also understood in Pāli,
and may be translated roughly as "the sacred foot". It refers to the
footprint-shaped mark at the summit, which is believed by Buddhists to be that of the Buddha. Other traditions assert that it is the footprint of Adam, left by his first entrance into the world.
Shivanolipatha Malai and Shiva padam are two Tamil names holding similar meanings, but both refer to the footprint as being that of the Hindu deity Shiva rather than that of the Buddha.
2,243 metres (7,359 ft)
Sabaragamuwa (Sri Lanka)
6°48′41″N 80°29′59″E / 6.81139, 80.49972
The Sinhala name of the mountain is Samanalakanda, which refers either to the deity Saman, who is said to live upon the mountain, or to the butterflies (samanalayā) that frequent the mountain during their annual migrations to the region.
Other local and historic names include Ratnagiri ("jewelled hill"), Samantakuta ("Peak of Saman"), Svargarohanam ("the climb to heaven"), Mount Rohana and other variations on the root Rohana.
The Sacred Mountain
It is revered as a holy site by Buddhists, Hindus, and to a lesser extent by Jews, Muslims and Christians.
It has specific qualities that cause it to stand out and be noticed;
including its dominant and outstanding profile, and the boulder at the
peak that contains an indentation resembling a footprint. As the 1910, Encyclopædia Britannica notes
For a long period Adam's Peak was supposed to be the highest
mountain in Ceylon, but actual survey makes it only 7353 ft. above
sea-level. This elevation is chiefly remarkable as the resort of
pilgrims from all parts of the East. The hollow in the lofty rock that
crowns the summit is said by the Brahmans to be the footstep of Siva, by the Buddhists of Buddha, by the Muslims of Adam, whilst the Portuguese Christians were divided between the conflicting claims of St Thomas and the eunuch of Candace, queen of Ethiopia. The footstep is covered
by a handsome roof, and is guarded by the priests of a rich monastery
half-way up the mountain, who maintain a shrine on the summit of the
It is an important pilgrimage site, especially for Hindus and
Buddhists. Pilgrims walk up the mountain, following a variety of routes
up thousands of steps. The journey takes several hours at least. The
peak pilgrimage season is in April, and the goal is to be on top of the mountain at
sunrise, when the distinctive shape of the mountain casts a triangular
shadow on the surrounding plain and can be seen to move quickly
downward as the sun rises.
Climbing at night can be a remarkable experience, with the lights of
the path leading up and into the stars overhead. There are rest stops
along the way.
The mountain is most often scaled from December to May. During other
months it is hard to climb the mountain due to very heavy rain, extreme
wind, and thick mist.
Buddhists say that the footprint mark is the left foot of the
Buddha, left behind as he strode away, the right footprint being
(depending on legend) in Amphoe Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi Province, located about 150 kilometres northeast of Bangkok, Thailand. This place is called in Thai Phra Bat or Phra Phutthabat.
Tamil Hindus think it is the footprint of Shiva.
Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka ascribe it to where Adam,
the first Ancestor, set foot as he was exiled from the Garden of Eden.
The legends of Adam are connected to the idea that Sri Lanka was the
A shrine to Saman, a Buddhist "deity" (People who have done yeoman
service to regions are deified by Sri Lankan Buddhists) charged with
protecting the mountain top, can be found near the footprint.