Let me start by saying we have started to plan this trip a million times! (I don’t think I’m exaggerating much! haha). My cousins and I finally made it happen this time around. We wished that Kavi and all our cousins could have joined us because it’s even better with a bigger, crazy crowd. We thought we would go anyways because otherwise it will never happen and this is something everyone, especially Sri Lankan’s, should do.
I’ll give you a few details about the importance of it and about the mountain. Adam’s Peak also known as Sri Pada in Sinhala is located in central Sri Lanka. It is a whopping 7360 ft above sea level. You can start to think of what the view would be like from the top. It’s significance varies for different religions but for me, as a Buddhist, it is the sacred foot print of Buddha. There are 6 different paths you can take to climb this. Hatton route is what most people use and it is what we used to climb it as well. Even though it is the steepest of all the routes, it is shorter than some of the other options. Also the other paths are said to have a lot more leeches (Yuck!) due to the wet climate. Yet another reason to choose the Hatton route (haha). The pilgrim season begins in December and ends in May. You get thousands going on pilgrimage on this mountain each year. The climb consists of cement steps. Some a lot steeper than others. Most people climb to see the sunrise as well which means the worship of the foot by the sun-god. The view is supposed to be magnificent which we missed and I will tell you why below.
The 5 of us started the journey to Hatton at 9.30 am. We drove and stopped at the half way point at Kithulgala which is famous for white water rafting. I have done it before but we decided not to do it this time because I think climbing a 7360 foot mountain is enough for a day! haha. We had lunch here, rested and continued on. We reached Hatton by 18.45 pm. We got our backpacks with essentials like food, water, hoodies. We started the ascend by 19.15 pm. The start is not too bad as it’s mostly even ground with small rocks sticking out. We reached this point where there were 2 pathways to choose from. One of the guys there told us that one is longer and easier, one is shorter and much harder. Guess what we chose..? Yup you guessed right! Shorter and harder of course. The steps were very steep and we definitely climbed thousands of it. We stopped a few times to rest and have some food. There are shops and bathrooms (not the most cleanest, but what do you expect!) along the way till quite high up so you can get some food, sit and regain your strength because trust me you will need to. When we were 3/4 way up, climbing steep steps let alone not so steep steps became harder and harder. Once you climb most of it the last shop you see is 600-700 steps before the peak. These steps were not so easy to climb. It really puts your knees and determination to the test. You can’t really stop on these steps either because the pathway is narrow and only 2 people can climb side by side. The higher you go the colder and windier it gets so unless you hold tight to the railing on either side of you, it would be a lot tougher to climb them. When you are climbing the last few steps and you look back, it is quite creepy but the view is amazing. We made it to the top by 1.15 am and worshiped the foot print and decided to stay for a little while, in which time we had to take all our sweaters and layer up. The strong, cold wind is unforgiving. It is not unbearable but it is quite cold. Yes, it took us nearly 6 hours to climb it but that is mostly because we stopped a lot. We wanted to see the sunrise but we were told by a monk that the sunrise is not as clear because it is very cloudy in the morning. We would have had to hang on, in the cold, for 4 hours for the sunrise and at that point it did not seem like a feasible option. So it is better to climb around 22.00 pm so you can reach the top in time for the sunrise.
We decided to climb down. My cousin and I managed to do so in four and a half hours, only because we literally ran down. Taking it too slow was just not an option for us. Our knees were so wobbly while climbing down which was quite a funny feeling. They were so wobbly that it felt like we were automatically running. I’m pretty sure most people we passed by were probably thinking we were crazy but I agree with them (haha). We just thought to hell with our legs and made it down fast and decided to sleep in the car till the rest reached the base. I mean we were up from 8.30 am the day before! We left Hatton by 6.30 am. It was a total of nearly 10 hours of climbing. The next day we thought we would not be able to get out of bed but turns out we were fine. Only our calves hurt really bad. Mine hurt for 4-5 days and those few days, stairs were my enemies.
I have to say this was such an amazing experience. It is a must do! We had so much fun with each other and listening to so many other’s sing along the way. I will definitely climb it again to see the sunrise. If you happen to be in Sri Lanka any time during December to May, do climb it!
Unfortunately non of us could get amazing photos (despite my cousin carrying his professional looking camera all the way up! haha) but these are a few we took.