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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sri Pada the sacred footprint

Adam's Peak is a 2,243 metres (7,359 ft) tall mountain located in Ratnapura district, Sri Lanka. This is also called as Adam's Mount and Sinhalese Samanalakanda "butterfly mountain and Tamil Sivanolipatha Malai, It is well-known for the Sri Pada "sacred footprint", a 1.8 m rock formation near the summit, in Buddhist tradition held to be the footprint of Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Muslim tradition that of Adam.

“Sri Pada” is the term, derived from Sanskrit, used by the Sinhalese people in a religious context. This name is also understood in Pāli, and may be translated roughly as "the sacred foot". It refers to the footprint-shaped mark at the summit, which is believed by Buddhists to be that of the Buddha. Other traditions assert that it is the footprint of Adam, left by his first entrance into the world.

Shivanolipatha Malai and Shiva padam are two Tamil names holding similar meanings, but both refer to the footprint as being that of the Hindu deity Shiva rather than that of the Buddha.
The Sinhala name of the mountain is Samanalakanda, which refers either to the deity Saman, who is said to live upon the mountain, or to the butterflies (samanalayā) that frequent the mountain during their annual migrations to the region.

Other local and historic names include Ratnagiri ("jewelled hill"), Samantakuta ("surrounded by peaks"), Svargarohanam ("the climb to heaven"), Mount Rohana and other variations on the root Rohana.

The pilgrimage usually takes place about the month of April, which is the dry season just before the southeast monsoon breaks. The great desire of every pilgrim is to reach the peak before dawn so that they could witness the glorious spectacle of the sunrise and thereafter perform their religious rites. Young and old married women carrying children and many old men, who really appear physically incapable of the strenuous effort, make the ascent strengthened by the belief that they are doing an extraordinary meritorious act. For some it is a pleasure trip.

When they reach the peak they gathered inside the enclosure and upon the steps outside, facing the east with their hands held together in an attitude of adoration awaiting the emergence of the sun. They watch intently the changing colours or the sky prior to sunrise and just as the tip of the sun appears, the pilgrims cry out uproariously, "Sadhu, sadhu, sa!" bending their heads in worship, while a heavy bell is loudly rung. This is of course reminiscent of sun worship.

External Links:
Homepage of the Sri Pada Organization

1 comment:

Dominic Sansoni said...

Greetings. The image of Sri Pada or Adams Peak used on this post has been used without my permission. It is copyright Dominic Sansoni. Please be so good as to have this image removed. many thanks
Dominic Sansoni