The Adams Peak Pilgrimage season begins on the Full Moon (Poya) day of December and ends on the Full Moon (Poya) day of May. These are two of the most important days in the Buddhist calendar, with the Poya day of December marking the arrival of the Bo tree sapling (taken from the very tree Buddha reached enlightenment under) in Anurandhapura and the Poya day of May celebrating Lord Buddha’s birthday, enlightenment and death.
The climb takes three to four hours to reach the peak and usually begins at around 2am. During the pilgrimage season the path up the mountain is lit (this is the only safe time to do the climb during the year) and the aim is to reach the peak in time for the breath-taking sunrise at about 6:30am.
When the sun raises the bell at the peak is rung and the priest places rice offerings on the rock.
Those who have climbed the mountain are rewarded by the stunning sight of the “the shadow of the peak” which is the illusion of a perfectly formed pyramid shaped shadow formed by the irregular shaped mountain! Buddhists believe the shadow is a miraculous physical representation of the Triple Gem.
Getting down the mountain is somewhat quicker than the ascend, although both are far from easy and require a high level of stamina to complete.
Tips for your climb
- Be prepared for large temperature variations by taking extra layers. The climb can be hard work but the top is sometimes windy and chilly.
- You are not allowed to take plastic bags on the climb.
- Refreshments such as water, tea and snacks can be purchased along the route of the climb.
- Wear comfortable footwear with a good level of grip.