Thursday, May 17, 2018

Places to Visit in Sri Lanka - Adam's Peak or Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint) - Part 1

Adam's Peak or Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint)

When I said I would travel to Sri Lanka, Adam's Peak was the first place that Sonam mentioned, kind of the 'must visit' place there, especially for those who came for pilgrimage. Not only that, it was the toughest place to go too. It was not only about the distance or height of the place that we had to climb, which took 4-5 hours to reach, but also we had to do it in the middle of the night (when everybody was sleeping comfortably) after such a long train and bus journey, and we had to go back right after that (without a sleepover plus it took another long bus and train journey back home). So, when making our plan, Sonam suggested me to visit that place first while the rest would follow. Therefore, we went there on my third day in Sri Lanka together with many of his juniors.

Train and bus journey to Adam's Peak or Sripada

It was cheap and easy traveling around Sri Lanka using the railway service, only if you were able to stay among the crowd, in a non-AC cabin, for hours (it was kinda slow traveling along the track, with the traffic, many stops, and so on), with many hawkers passing by (plus its smell - food smell, I mean), stand up until you manage to get the seat (that's the thing - you could get the train ticket easily, but not the seat), and sometimes you even had to stand for at least 2-3 hours until the person left the seat, that also if you were lucky.

It was convenient to check the train's schedule, cost, how long it took, etc. online. You just had to go to Google search and type in the railway station you started the journey from and the destination to reach. E.g. Train Ragama Junction to Hatton (the nearest train station from Adam's Peak).

Search train information in Sri Lanka

Click the first one that appeared as per above picture. Then it would show you as per below.

Train information from Ragama to Hatton - Journey to Adam's Peak

As per seen in the above picture, you could find out the distance between two places, the different train with different timing available for the day, the ticket price (based on the class that you preferred and chose), and if you clicked on the green button, you would be directed to the opposite direction's information (Hatton to Ragama). Fyi SGD $1 was equal to LKR115 - the 2nd class ticket would cost SGD $2. And if you would like to find out the detail information on each train, just click on it and the below information would appear.

Detail train information - Sri Lanka

Train's arrival time to Ragama, departure time from the station, arrival's time in Hatton, and other details would be shown. Well, that was for the guidelines when you planned for your travel. Most of the time train would come late (not always though!) The ticket would usually be bought at the station on that day itself. Not all train had the reserved seat cabin (reserved seat meaning that you surely got the seat on the particular train, which was quite rare, and was usually better be purchased days before to avoid the 'sold out' situation).

Sonam and I often bought the 2nd Class ticket but we ended up sitting at the 3rd Class cabin for the whole journey as we found out that people would get down from train faster at the 3rd Class cabin and there was not much different from 2nd Class and 3rd Class cabin anyway plus there was seldom any ticket checking done by the train staff.

Once we bought 3rd Class ticket and boarded to 2nd Class cabin. But it was a 'Reserved 2nd Class', not the usual one. Lol. The staff came and checked our tickets. Luckily there were other local passengers who helped us talking with the staff that we were actually boarded to the wrong cabin and when we tried to get down and change, the door was locked and we could not go out. So the staff gave us lenient and asked us to go down at the next stop, which we did not as we both were sleeping (and no intention to get down because we got the nice seat and enjoyed it comfortably). And too bad that he noticed that we were still sitting there hahaha... He woke me up and warned me to get down at the next stop, quite angrily! Hahahaha..... :P No choice lo, we had to get down and change right after that :'D

So, we got in the train. The train went to Kandy first (3.5 hours journey), stopped for a while, before continuing its journey to Hatton. The 2 juniors who boarded the train earlier managed to get the seat and they gave it to me and Sonam. They had to stand in for some time until they managed getting the seat. Thank you la! Only when it reached Kandy, the rest of juniors came to our cabin and sat together.

Colorful flowers-decorated bus coach from Hatton to Adam's Peak :)

By the time we reached Hatton, the sky had turned dark. We reached at 8.30 pm. After asking the local around, they asked us to get into the bus that heading to Adam's Peak, outside the railway station, right after we reached due to infrequent bus available at night time. We did not expect that the bus would be super crowded!!! People were packed like sardine fish inside the can. Luckily, I got a very special seat - Buddha blessed me :)

At first I got a seat at the very first front row. Then an old lady with a crutch was coming up. I gave up my seat for her and the driver asked me to sit next to him (not really a seat, more like place to put stuffs right beside him - if you took Tata coach bus before, you would know how it was - or just see the below picture).

That was where I sat - the red carpeted area - my special seat :D

There was hand railing surrounding me, which also protected me from the crowd behind. I had fresh mountain air from the entrance door and bus driver's window, I got the closest view of the TV screen above me with music blasted from the loud sound speaker, and the VIP or unblocked view of the road ahead (I could even see the snake crossing the road when the driver was stopping until it passed by - what a loving and passionate driver he was! - or perhaps just avoiding bad luck if he happened crossing it accidentally :P).

I was non-stopped expressing my gratitude and admiring the driver for his way handling the stir skillfully, controlling the bus in the best and fast possible way - like handling an orchestra - to reach our destination, while many of my friends were vomiting, having headache, motion sickness, and left with no fresh air behind - one by one was carrying plastic bag in front of them, or otherwise sticking their heads outside the bus window :D

Finally a group photo - seven of us - at Vijitha Restaurant (Adam's Peak base) - Sri Lanka

We reached the Adam's Peak base (called Nallathanniya) at 10.30 pm. It was drizzling. We went inside a restaurant, took a rest, had our skipped lunch, dinner cum supper altogether in one meal plus tea, and changed our clothes there. While resting, some of us went out buying last minute necessity like pants, socks, disposable raincoat, etc. at many outdoor tent shops nearby (it was opened even at the time like that).

At 12.10 am we started our journey. Luckily the rain had stopped. The path was mostly the well-built staircases made of rough stones illuminated by electric power lines at the side - not so bright but enough to lead our way up. Slowly, we all walked together.

Sama Chatiya or World Peace Pagoda - Our way towards Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka

Forty-five minutes later we stopped at the Sama Chatiya (the World Peace Pagoda) - built by Japanese monk - Ven Nichi Fuji back in 1976. We made three rounds and prayed before continuing our journey.

Shops along the way, place to rest before climbing up again :D - Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka

We climbed the stairs and took rest. Climbed and took rest. Repeat. Hahahahaha... Yes... I think I was the slowest among the rest, perhaps due to the age as I was the oldest in the group, plus I was a city person, not mountain girl. Lol! :'D

There were many shops opened for all the visitors, mostly selling food and drinks. The higher the place, the more expensive the items would cost. They provided many bench for people to rest, even when we did not buy any single thing. Nice eh?

The beautiful shiny bright full moon was there encouraging me to keep walking ahead, as if it told me, "Moon is the limit. Go catch me there!!!" And too bad, it went higher and higher each time I saw it. The stairs had become steeper too towards the peak. We had to walk slower. With every last breath and energy I had, I kept moving on. By 4 am we finally reached the top, and yes, I was the last one to reach :D

Offered butter lamp and at the same time got some warmth from it :) - Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka

We bought flowers and butter lamp and gave it as offering to the sacred Footprint. Buddhist believed that it was Buddha's footprint; Hindu believed that it was Lord Shiva's; while Muslim and Christian believe that it was Adam's. So everyone from any religion could come and pay their respect to the same footprint there.

Taking rest at Adam's Peak :)

The place had already been crowded by the time we reached there. Majority who went there was still local people with many foreigners around. I found it very amazing to see many elderly - even with crutch - were able to climb it slowly and reached to the top. Perhaps they had been going there since a very young age - I saw many children walking up there too, accompanied by their parent/s. I was amazed with their spirit, really!!!

After done with praying, we waited nearby the area where people standing to see the sunrise about an hour's time. By 5.30 am all stood up and looked towards the east, waiting for the sun to come. To be continued...

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...