Monday, November 10, 2014

Climbing Sri Lanka (video)

Seth Auberon, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; Subodh Shetty (
(OurSL) One day the Buddha alighted from India to visit Sri Lanka by supranormal means and came down on Adam's Peak, known locally as Sri Pada, or "Sacred Footprint," for the print his foot left behind. The faithful are very pleased to see the enormous indentation, skeptics not so much. - Sivanolipada malai, Sri Lanka, 2014.

Himalayan Buddhist world (Skydancer4/flickr)
ADAM'S PEAK, Sri Lanka - It was about 5:00 am. Climbing to the majestic Adam's Peak, the highest point on the teardrop island of Sri Lanka. Formerly Ceylon and Serendib island or dipa (giving us the English word serendipity), it has long been a Theravada Buddhist stronghold with a heavy South Indian Hindu presence. About half way through a steep climb of 8 kms to reach the summit, completely out of breath and weighed down by camera equipment like a heavy tripod, it did not take too much to feel exhausted. The perfect shot presented itself during one of the many breaks to gasp for oxygen and grab a smoke. (Don't judge).

Light atop Adam's Peak (creative_pixels)
Although the climb left me as high as one would be on Himalayan ganja, this shot of the highest point made it all worth it. If I had been in the right frame of mind with enough energy, I might have worked it better. Nevertheless, a roundtrip hike of 16 kms -- or 9,000 steps -- over eight hours (most of it ascending in the dark to catch the sunrise from the summit with many other devoted pilgrims), it was all well worth it. Would I do it again? Never. Therefore, I like to think of it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

(BBC/DSL) Where is the "Green Paradise" of Sri Lanka? Full travel documentary

Adam's Peak
Jutting sharply skyward from the lush jungles of southwestern Sri Lanka is the 2,243 meter tall Adam's Peak. The mountain has the unique distinction of being sacred to the followers of four of the world's religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam -- each arguing to claim of the giant footprint atop the mountain as their own sacred relic. The climb to the peak these days involves an 8 km hike with over 3,500 steps up followed by a descent over the same steps. It is a must-do for any adventurer, traveling thrillseeker, or devout religieux wishing to challenge her/his willpower, as the climb can go from fun to no fun in no time.

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