Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a great railway network with modern, roomy train cars — who’d have thought? With a four-hour ride costing barely $2, plus beautiful scenery through the mountains, it was a no brainer to take it from Haputale to Hatton.

From Hatton, I took a bus to Nallatanniya (Dalhousie), the entry point to Adam’s Peak, also known as Sri Pada. Here, Sri Lanka’s four religions have an odd point of convergence. At the top of Adam’s Peak is a footprint. Buddhists say it’s that of the Buddha himself. Hindus say it’s that of the god Shiva. Most bizarrely, some Muslims say it’s either the footprint of Adam (as in Adam and Eve, and hence the name of the peak — kind of unlikely, given that Biblical Eden is in modern-day Iraq or Iran) and Christians say it’s St. Thomas (somewhat more likely, due to his later life in Chennai, but barely). It’s a point of pilgrimage for everyone, but for Buddhists most of all.
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