Sunrise from Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka

Rising grandly above the lush Sri Lankan jungle, lofty Adam’s Peak presents an irresistible challenge for pilgrims and adventurers. This mountain is infused with legend (famous for its spiritual significance and athletic challenges alike) and the magic of the night-time trek is enhanced by the hundreds of glowing lights that guide the way. Friendly tea-houses dotted along the path provide welcome refreshment, and a place to pause, before gathering your strength for the last hike to the peak and the spectacle of watching the sunrise over the forest.

What to expect from an Adam's Peak sunrise...

Adam’s Peak has been tempting travellers to conquer its steep slopes for thousands of years. Named locally as Sri Pada, or ‘sacred footprint’ (after the unusually-shaped indentation at the summit), this mountain is a Buddhist place of worship and a special site for many religions and interests. 

Mentioned in the Arabian Nights as a land full of ‘rubies…and spice trees of all sorts’, the mountain has a romantic appeal which is literally the stuff of fairy-tales. The climb takes place during the night, timed to arrive at the peak at sunrise, and is generally undertaken between December and May to avoid the monsoon season.

During this time, the summit is usually cloud-free in the morning, allowing for spectacular views across the wildlife reserve below, and a glimpse of the mountain’s famous triangular shadow moving over the trees.

Once you have wrapped up in warm clothes to prepare for the cold, your guide will meet you in Dalhousie village at the foot of the mountain to begin your trek. The trail wanders through the earthily-scented tea fields to the stately Peace Pagoda, after which the steps towards the top begin in earnest.

This climb is not for the faint-hearted – the 7km hike takes roughly 4 hours and can be tough going – but the route is peppered with brightly-coloured stalls offering food and drink and the opportunity to rest before starting on the next stage. The sense of achievement you get on arrival at the summit is well worth the ache in your legs, though, and you may wish to celebrate by ringing one of the two ‘Pilgrims’ bells’ to show that you’ve made it. 

Before beginning your descent there is plenty of time to relax and recover, as you chat with your fellow pilgrims about the night’s adventure and witness the peaceful beauty of the dawning of a new day.

Location: Central Sri Lanka

Duration: One night

Accommodation: Your choice of central Sri Lanka hotel

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