Sri Lanka (2,243 m) – Sacred Mountain of Sri Lanka
Sri Pada is one of the most universally sacred mountains in the Far East. A towering, almost perfectly conical peak, it is considered to be an important religious site by Buddhists and Hindus as well as by Muslims and Christians. Its name means “butterfly mountain”, and though primarily a Buddhist site, is also known as Adam’s Peak.
This mountain of southern Sri Lanka has been an important pilgrimage destination since ancient times, largely because of an unusual feature at its peak which resembles a human footprint. According to Buddhists, this footprint was left behind by Buddha; according to Hindus it belongs to Shiva; and for the local Muslims and Christians it is that of Adam. It was visited by famous explorers such as Fa Hien of China in the 5th century and Marco Polo of Italy in the 14th century.
Sri Pada is partially located within a wilderness sanctuary, but is close to roads and civilization in all directions. The capital of Colombo is fifty miles to the west. Sri Pada is a hugely popular tourist and pilgrimage destination, and there are numerous trails and stairs leading to the top that have been carved out of the mountain over millennia. Some of the trails are marked by lights so that the mountain can be scaled at night.
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