Of the 2 routes that lead to Adam’s Peak, the longer one winds its way up from the south i.e. from the direction of Dalhousie. The other begins on the north side near Maskeliya.
Whichever way is chosen no less than two days should be allowed for the ascent. The path leading to the summit is 4 miles in length which includes 5,200 steps and it extremely strenuous; especially in the hot and tropically humid season, you need to be physically fit.
Good equipment, warm clothing and sufficient drinking water are vital for the climb. At a comfortable rate of progress the climb takes between 3 to 4 hours. When starting out from Dalhousie, the first day should be devoted to getting there.
Include a stay in one of the guesthouses or in the nearby town Dikoya. The actual climb to the summit should be started around midnight, in order not to miss the sight of the sunrise from the top of the mountain.
The route from the tea plantations in Dalhousie leads to the top of the mountain entirely via steps so that no additional signposting is necessary. There are tea houses along the way serving drinks and the route itself is lit by thousands of small lamps.
The summit is a 300sq m densely built up platform on which the footprint with a wall around it is enclosed within a small temple. In the 12th century King Parakrama Bahu the first had a temple erected on the summit of Adam’s Peak dedicated to the Hindu God Saman.
Later it was occupied by Buddhist Monks, until King Raja Sinha the first who has converted to Brahmanism restored it to the Brahmins in the 16th century. It was only 2 centuries later under King Kirti Sri, who bought Buddhism back to Sri Lanka, that Buddhist monks moved in once more.
The Brahmin priests were however not expelled; they built themselves a smaller temple which is still extant. All the other buildings are fairly recent; they are not remarkable.
The bells which visitors can strike on reaching the summit have a symbolic significance for pilgrims; on their ascent. They are permitted to strike them once and on their second visit twice and so on. Following the sunrise, which is celebrated by faithful with wild cheering there, is a splendid panoramic view from the summit extending across the highlands as far as Colombo.