Sri Pada also known as Adam’s Peak is an ancient pilgrimage site, which has long attracted thousands of pilgrims from all faiths. It is the pilgrimage to the sacred mountain, Sri Pada, popularly known in English as Adam’s Peak. This conical mountain is 7,360 feet high, soaring clear above the surrounding mountain ranges. According to history, when the Buddha visited Sri Lanka he placed one foot on the north of the royal city and the other on Sumana-kuta (Adam’s Peak) fifteen yojanas, or about hundred miles distant. The legendary evidence of Siam brings up that the Buddha left the print of his left foot on Adam’s Peak, and then, in one stride, strode across to Siam, (now Thailand) where he left the impression of his right foot. It is called Phra Sat, and its appearance is supposed to be like that of the foot print on Adam’s Peak and of similar size. Broad steps lead up to this walled enclosure containing the rock over which is a tower-like structure. The portion marked off as having the imprint of the Buddha’s foot is about five feet seven inches long and two feet seven inches broad. The hole in the rock in Thailand, which is believed to have the imprint of the Buddha’s right foot, is about five feet long and two feet broad. Buddhists attribute this universal size to the fact (such is the belief) that the Buddha was about thirty-five feet tall. The real footprint on Adam’s Peak is believed to be set in jewels beneath the visible rock and Hindus believe it that of the god Siva. The Tamil name of the rock (Civan-oli-pata) means “the mountain path of Siva’s light”. Muslims believe the footprint to be that of Adam (hence the name Adam’s Peak); Christians, that of St. Thomas, the disciple Jesus. Alongside the rock is a shrine containing images (one of which is made of silver) of the God Saman and a Brahmin priest officiates at this shrine. In front of the shrine is a small table on which pilgrims place camphor and lighted candles.
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Text by Neil Kiriella