Sunday, February 22, 2009

Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka

The other day after my last post, I searched and studied on the subject. This is what I found out.

Adam's Peak is worshipped by all 4 major religions in Sri Lanka and it is also known in many names, Sri Pada for Buddhist, Muslims/Christians call it Adam's Peak, Sivanoli Patham (சிவனொளி பாதம் ) for the Hindus. Each religion has their own set of stories about the foot print. Another name for the mountain by the Sinhalese is "Samanala Kanda" meaning Butterfly Mountain due to the endless flocks of butterflies that wing their way to the mountain with the start of the season.

Muslims call it the Foot print of Al-Rohun (Soul), some Christians say the "footprint" in the rock atop the rust-red, peak is where Adam first set foot (hence is called Adam's peak) on earth after being exiled from Eden. Other Christians say it is the Footprint of St. Thomas, who brought Christianity to Southern India in the 1st century AD, while to Hindus it is the Footprint of Lord Siva hence call it Sivanadi Patham or Sivanoli Patham, "the mountain path of Siva's light".

The Buddhists alone refer to recorded history and partly legend. Buddhists, who have covered the original "print" with a larger than life concrete copy, say it was made by the Buddha on his third visit to Sri Lanka.

According to a legend, when the Buddha visited Ceylon he planted 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.

According to another legend the Buddha is believed to have 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.


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.


It is believed that the first person to discover the Sacred Footprint was King Valagambahu (104-76 BC) while he was in exile in the mountain wilderness, better known to our people as "Sri Pada Adaviya" (Domain of Sacred Footprint), to escape the marauding Cholians. He had been led to the summit of the mountain by a deity in the guise of a stag. Thereafter not only ordinary pilgrims but Royalty with their court retinue paid homage to the Foot Print of the Buddha from ancient times.

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