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Sri Pada/ Adam’s Peak or the Holy Footprint

Listed under Sacred Spaces in Sabaragamuwa, Sri Lanka.

  • Photo of Sri Pada/ Adam’s Peak or the Holy Footprint
  • Photo of Sri Pada/ Adam’s Peak or the Holy Footprint
Photo of Sri Pada/ Adam’s Peak or the Holy Footprint
Photo by Sherry Ott
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Jutting sharply skyward from the lush jungles of southwestern Sri Lanka is the 7362 foot (2243 meter) peak of Sri Pada, the 'Holy Footprint'. Also called Adam’s Peak, the mountain has the unique distinction of being sacred to the followers of four of the world's major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.

Long before the development of these religions however, the mountain was worshipped by the aboriginal inhabitants of Sri Lanka, the Veddas. Their name for the peak was Samanala Kanda; Saman being one of the four guardian deities of the island.

For Hindus, the name of the mountain is Sivan Adi Padham, because it was the world-creative dance of the god Shiva that left the giant footprint (5 feet 7 inches by 2 feet 6 inches). According to Buddhist traditions from as early as 300 BC, the real print is actually beneath this larger marking. Imprinted on a huge sapphire, it was left by the Buddha during the third and final of his legendary visits to Sri Lanka.

When Portuguese Christians came to the island in the 16th century they claimed the impression to be the footprint of St. Thomas who, according to legend, first brought Christianity to Sri Lanka. And finally, the Arabs record it as being the solitary footprint of Adam, where he stood for a thousand years of penance on one foot. Visited by many early world travelers, among them the Venetian Marco Polo (1254-1324) and the Arab Ibn Batuta (1304-1368), Adam’s Peak attained a legendary status as a mystic pilgrimage destination.

Votive offerings are made here, especially of a coil of silver as long as the donor is tall, for recovery from sickness; and rain-water taken from the footprint is known to have a wonderful healing power.

Photo: A Buddhist monk venerating the Holy Footprint on Adam’s Peak

Adam's Peak on Sacred Sites.

Written by  Martin Gray.

Other expert and press reviews

“Religions Collide on Adam’s Peak”

Footprints seem to mark the beginning of life for humans. We are born, and soon our little foot is being dipped in ink and imprinted on our birth certificates – marking our ‘official’ beginning. In Sri Lanka the birth of the main religi… Read more...

Written by  Sherry Ott.

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