One small step for man....

Dalhousie Travel Blog

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On the way up, not just 5,500 steps to contend with!

So we got on the train to Hatton (LKR130, 2nd class), but as it was Sri Lanka independence day on the 4th Feb, the train was rammed. It meant Mark and I didn't have seats for the 3 hour journey, which was literally painful. We may as well have just paid 3rd class! The trains are so slow, it seems like you never get anywhere. On the plus side, the scenery was nice, so it was nice looking out, even if we did have to squeeze past people in the doorways to get a look! I ended up sitting on the floor for most of the journey, constantly having to make way for the 'wady, wady' man (selling all sorts of fried stuff) to get through. I had a book to help the time go by, which kept me sane. We got to Hatton at around 2pm and I had to quickly walk into the town to get some cash out.

Mayhem at the top trying to get a viewing position
We then took the bus from Hatton to Dalhousie (curiously pronounced 'Delhouse'...I guess it was a Scottish name or something??!) (LKR60), which was another 2 least we had a seat this time though. It did feel like we had come to the end of the Earth when we arrived, as there was barely anything there. Dalhousie is made up of about 5 guesthouses and that's about it. Well, except for the what looked like 1,000 souvenir and food stalls set up for people doing the Adam's Peak trek. Very bizarre! All sorts of tacky plastic Buddhist stuff!

We checked into our hotel for the night (Wathapa Hotel), which cost us LKR1,200. It wasn't a great room, but we knew we wouldn't be spending much time there, so it didn't matter too much. We popped out for a kottu rotty at one of the food stalls before coming back to the hotel to some sleep in the early evening.

The beautiful sunrise was worth it
...we were going to be up early!!

We set the alarm and were up at 2.15am, and out the door by 2.45am to start on our walk in the dark. Most of the stall owners stayed open through the night due to the number of people climbing Adam's Peak. The locals know it as 'Sri Pada', which is a sacred place in Buddhism, as its where they believe Buddha stepped on Earth on his way to paradise. Some Christians believe it was where Adam was placed on the Earth when God created the world, hence the alternative name. So, it has huge significance for a lot of people and there are hundreds of pilgrims every day making the climb. So we weren't alone when we set off and I was soon regretting wearing trousers as it was still warm and we were both soon sweating due the ascent and steps.

Well-earned cuppa on the way down
With a few tea stops, we broke up the climb to make it manageable. In some parts the steps seem to be literally vertical and when there's 5,500 to climb, you feel like you're never going to get to the top!

Eventually we made it at about 5.15am, so it took us about two-and-a-half hours....a bit of a struggle, but we did it!! There were already quite a lot of people at the top, I reckon about 300-400, which swelled to about 500-600 by the time the sun started to come up at 6.15am. There's a bell to ring when you get to the top, and you have to ring it once for each time you've climbed to the top - so for us, it was just the once, but we heard people rining it 12, 13 times! We had to take our hats and shoes off as a mark of respect at the top, which meant we ended up getting a bit chilly waiting round.

View of the peak from a distance
But the moment when the sun started to come through was quite magical, everyone was standing facing the same direction and blatantly ignoring the 'no photography' signs! But seeing what some people go through in the name of religion is quite amazing. Some of the people we saw climbing must've been 60-70 years old and for them it was really tough, but it didn't stop them. We didn't hang around long at the top as it was so crowded and we could see carnage in getting back down, so we made a beeline for the exit and hot-footed it down with another few tea stops for good measure. A great experience and one of my highlights of Sri Lanka without a doubt.

alexandra_h says:
One of my Sri Lankan highlights aswell!
Posted on: Apr 09, 2012
Ella01 says:
yay that's where I want to go someday......
Posted on: Jul 29, 2011
kalpita says:
SO nice to know the fun of climbing and sacrifice of its treasure
Posted on: Feb 11, 2010
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On the way up, not just 5,500 step…
On the way up, not just 5,500 ste…
Mayhem at the top trying to get a …
Mayhem at the top trying to get a…
The beautiful sunrise was worth it
The beautiful sunrise was worth it
Well-earned cuppa on the way down
Well-earned cuppa on the way down
View of the peak from a distance
View of the peak from a distance
photo by: Sads79