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Sri Pada is a 2,243 metres tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well known for the Sri Pada “sacred footprint”, In Buddhist tradition it is held to be the footprint of the Buddha.
The pilgrimage season begins on poya day in December and runs until Vesak festival in May; January and February are busiest. At other times the temple on the summit is unused, and between May and October the peak is often obscured by clouds. During the pilgrimage season pilgrims and tourists alike make the climb up the countless steps to the top.
Walkers leave from the small settlement of Dalhousie (del-house), 33km by road southwest of Hatton, which is situated on the Colombo–Kandy–Nuwara Eliya railway and road. In season, the route is illuminated by a sparkling ribbon of lights which are visible from miles around and from afar look like a trail of stars leading into the heavens. It’s a view that cannot but fail to send a quiver of anticipation through most people. Out of season you will need a torch. Many pilgrims prefer to make the longer, more tiring – but equally well-marked and lit – seven-hour climb from Ratnapura via the Carney Estate because of the greater merit thus gained.