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Tracking Sri Lanka

Adam's Peak - Sri Pada

Buddhist pilgrims climbs the 2245m (7242ft) high mountain to honor the legendary footprint of Buddha. Approx. 300.000 pilgrims visit this place a year. Sri Pada means "holy footprint". To the Hindus the mountain is holy for another reason: they call it "Shivas Peak". Christians from the old Indian Church think that the apostle Thomas have lived there during his mission in India, and the Muslims call it "Adam's Peak" and interpret the footprints as those of the first man. In the history of religions, Sri Pada is a holy mountain of classic importance.

WHEN TO GO: The pilgrims season to Sri Pada traditionally starts on the full moon of December and ends on the full moon of April . It takes a while for the crowds to build up but by the second half of the season they can be very large so it is best to go earlier. Weekends and particularly full moon days are always crowded and should be avoided. Most people make the climb at night so they can arrive in time for the sunrise. Alternatively, you can climb up during the day, stay overnight and go down the next morning. This way you can avoid the crowds, climb at a leisurely pace, have plenty of time to enjoy the view, see the sunset and get the best place to observe the sunrise in the morning. Accommodation on the summit is basic and you would have to bring your own food and perhaps a blanket or sleeping bag. However, whenever you decide to go, check the weather report before setting out. Rain can make for a miserable trip and it is more likely that cloud or mist will obscure the view.

HOW TO GET THERE: In ancient times the only way to approach Sri Pada was from Ratnapura, the City of Gems. When Sinhalese civilisation moved to the central highlands after the 13th century and the forests began to be cleared, two other paths, one from Uva and another from Kehelgamuva, also came into use. These two paths ceased to be used at least a hundred years ago and indeed they can hardly be traced today. After the British began building roads through the highlands in the middle of the 19th century the Hatton path became and remains the most popular pilgrims route to the mountain. There are several ways to get to Hatton. You can take a bus from the Colombo Bus Stand. Alternatively you can take a bus from Kandy's Goods Shed Bus Dept which is situated just past the Post Office. Once at Hatton take one of the numerous private buses to the foot of the mountain, a distance of about 33 kilometres. Hatton is also on the main Colombo-Kandy-Nuwara Eliya railway line so it is possible to get there by train. The more adventurous traveller might consider taking the Hatton path up and the Ratnapura path down. This second path is thickly forested for its entire length, crosses numerous streams and is definitely only for those used to trekking. There are few food stalls on the way so it can be a good idea to bring water and something to eat. It is at least a five hour trek to the first village, Sripadagama from where regular buses go to Ratnapura.

WHAT TO BRING: Whether making the assent by day or night it can be an arduous climb, so bring only what you are likely to need. There are food and drink stalls all the way up the Hatton path but prices are considerably higher than normal so you might like to bring your own snacks and water. You are likely to be warm during the climb itself but you can get very cold while waiting for the sunrise at the summit, so bring warm cloths. If the weather is uncertain an umbrella or rain coat will be useful. A pair of binoculars if you have them will also be most useful.

Horton Planis

Horton Planis National Park in Sri Lanka is undoubtedly one of the world's best nature reserves and eco tourism venues. It is characterised by a beautiful landscape of rolling hills, covered in upper montane forest and wet patana grassland

Horton Plains was initially known as Maha Eliya Thanna but was re-named under the British after Sir Robert Wilmort Horton who was the governer of Ceylon from 1831 to 1837. It is located on the southern plateau of the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is elevated 2,300 meters above sea level. The mean annual rainfall is greater than 2,000 millimetres and the mean annual temperature is 13 C. Some rain falls throughout the year, but January-March is a dry season

Distance from Colombo : 163 Km (5 hour drive)

Distance from Airport : 190 Km (5.30 hour drive)

Access By Road :
Route1: Colombo -> Awissawella [58km on A4] -> Ginigathhena [53km on A7] -> Hatton [13km on A7] -> Thalawakele [17km on A7] -> Nanu-Oya [17km on A7] -> Black Pool [4km on A7] -> Ambewela [10km] -> Pattipola [6km] -> Pattipola Entrance [5km] > Horton Plains National Park Visitor Center [5km] Total Distance 185 km

Route2: Nuwara Eliya -> Black Pool [6km on A5 & A7] -> Ambewela [10km] -> Pattipola [6km] -> Pattipola Entrance [5km] > Horton Plains National Park Visitor Center [5km]

Route3: Bandarawela -> Boralanda (Via Hputale or Diyathalawa) -> Ohiya [13km] -> Ohiya Entrance [5km] -> Horton Plains National Park Visitor Center [5km]

Access By Train On Colombo Badulla line, get down either at Pattipola or Ohiya Railway station. The road connecting these two towns goes through the Horton plains and its visitor center is just 10km from both Pattipola and Ohiya.

Hiking from Belihuloya You can hike up to Hortan Plains from Belihul-Oya on Colombo Badulla Highway [9km from Galagama] or hike up to Horton Plains from Dayagama Estate, Agarapathana [5.6km from the estate border]

Weather and Season: December to February Temperatures are fairly low. Less chance of rain. Good time to visit Horton Plains.
March to May Not too cold. Flowers bloom all over the plains. Less chance of rain. Best time to visit Horton Plains.
June to September Strong winds. Less chance of Rain.
September to November High possibility of Rain.

Special Remarks: Horton Plains is a strict "no polythene", "no open flames" zone. You are not allowed to carry any plastic bags, sheets, lighters or match boxes. Pack your snacks in airtight boxes if you want to take them along with you. Camp fires are NOT allowed inside the park. Please carry Gas/Kerosene burners.


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