Also known as Sri Pada (sacred footstep) and Samanala Kanda (butterfly mountain), is a conical mountain standing at 2,243 metres tall (7,359 feet) in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Trekking up the mountain is extremely popular to be allured by its mystery as well as the enchanting beautiful reward at the top.
The mountain is named for a point near the summit that is sacred to several faiths: it is a place of worship for Buddhists, who believe that the Buddha’s footprint is located here; Hindus believe the footprint belongs to Shiva; Christians and Muslims believe that it is Adam’s first step after being exiled from the Garden of Eden. The mountain is also known for the spectacular sight of thousands of beautiful butterflies gracing the area annually.
The hike includes 5,000–6,000 crumbling steps and incline trekking, but technical climbing is not required. Depending on the trail taken, the crowd and the climbers’ fitness level, the mountain can take approximately two to four hours to climb and one to two hours to descend.
The summit at dawn is striking as the view of the sunrise is known to make hikers quiver in delight.
Although the climb up will be hot and sweaty, the atmosphere near the top is extremely chilly. Follow the locals’ example and wear long pants. Bring your hats, gloves and sweaters for the climb down.
The long, arduous climb up will be difficult without comfortable footwear, so prepare accordingly. Those with knee pain should also remember to bring trekking poles or, at least, find a stick to lean on.