Mountains and Peaks

In the central and southern parts of Sri Lanka there are several Mountains and Peaks that are highly ecological and rich in bio diversity. These mountains are preserved as forests and are the starting points of many rivers. The Adam’s Peak is Sri Lanka's holy peak where people make pilgrims to worship foot print of lord Buddha.

The Hill Country is exceptionally beautiful, with crystal clear waterfalls and tea plantations dotted throughout. The temperature in this region stays cool all year round, in an atmosphere of early morning Spring. Everything is green and lush and the landscape is elevated with layers of grass knolls and jagged waterfalls with dense mountain forest clinging to the upper slopes. The days drift by in the hill country with not much to do but drink tea (in abundance) and absorb the serenity and breathtaking walks and views.

There are several little towns that are certainly worth a visit, such as Nuwara Eliya. There are also some majestic feats of nature to explore, namely Worlds End and Adam’s Peak. Worlds End is located in the Horton Plains, which is a rolling highland terrain of grassland interspersed with forest and unusual high-altitude vegetation. The plains reach over 2000 meters high with the mountains of Kirigalpotta and Totapola looming up from the edges of the plateau. The most tremendous feature of the strange silent world of the plains however is Worlds End, where the plains abruptly stop leaving you hovering over a straight drop of 880 meters.

Sigiriya

Built by an obsessed monarch in the 5th century, Sigiriya or Lion Rock is an amazing feat of engineering and construction. The most striking portion of Sigiriya, a terracotta and grey core of rock set in the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, rises a 200 metres above a forested plain, its flat summit sloping gently. A series of moats, ramparts and water gardens — remains of an ancient city — spread out on two sides of the rock, with the remains of a pair of giant stone lion’s paws still guarding the staircase that leads to the summit, once occupied by a royal palace.

Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, Sigiriya is Asia’s best preserved city of the first millennium, showing complex urban planning around the base of the rock, combined with sophisticated engineering and irrigation skills in the palace perched on the summit. It is considered it to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world with visitors recording their impressions in some of the earliest-known graffiti.

For just two decades in the 5th century AD, Sigiriya rose to prominence following a power struggle between two brothers, and an act of patricide that saw the then king walled-up alive by his son, Kasyapa. Fearful that his defeated brother would return from exile to extract vengeance, Kasyapa shifted the capital to Sigiriya and in 477 AD, he ordered the construction of the magnificent city around the base of the rock, and decreed that his palace should stand on top, a fortress that would keep him safe from retribution. Just seven years later, his astonishing palace in the sky was ready, complete with terraces and a complex system of irrigation.

Kasyapa clearly had an eye for beauty. The pleasure gardens include a series of symmetric pools, channels and fountains that still spurt water after 1,500 years. Partway up the rock are the famous Sigiriya frescoes, featuring 21 bare-breasted damsels that may represent celestial nymphs, but were surely modeled on Kasyapa's own consorts. Halfway you'll encounter a pair of giant lion's paws, part of the original entrance, which required visitors to pass through the open mouth of a lion. The summit yields a dramatic vista of the surrounding jungle and contains the foundations of the palace complex, replete with bathing pools.

Adam’s Peak

Sri Pada (also Adam's peak; Sinhalese Samanalakanda "butterfly mountain", Tamil Sivanolipatha Malai ), is a 2,243 metres (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well known for the Sri Pada "sacred footprint", a 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) rock formation near the summit, in Buddhist tradition it is held to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Muslim and Christian tradition that of Adam.

The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands, in the Ratnapura district of the Sabaragamuwa Province - lying about 40 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura. The surrounding region is largely forested hills, with no mountain of comparable size nearby. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve housing many species varying from elephants to leopards, and including many endemic species.

It is revered as a holy site by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. It has specific qualities that cause it to stand out and be noticed; including its dominant and outstanding profile, and the boulder at the peak that contains an indentation resembling a footprint. As the 1910, Encyclopædia Britannica notes[2] For a long period Sri Pada was supposed to be the highest mountain in Ceylon, but actual survey makes it only 7353 ft. above sea-level. This elevation is chiefly remarkable as the resort of pilgrims from all parts of the East.

The mountain is most often scaled from December to May. During other months it is hard to climb the mountain due to very heavy rain, extreme wind, and thick mist. For Buddhists, the footprint mark is the left foot of the Buddha, left behind when Buddha visited Sri Lanka, as a symbol for worship at the invitation of Buddhist God Saman.

Tamil Hindus consider it as the footprint of Lord Shiva. It is also fabled that the mountain is the legendary mount Trikuta the capital of Ravana during the Ramayana times from where he ruled Lanka.

Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka ascribe it to where Adam, the first Ancestor, set foot as he was exiled from the Garden of Eden. The legends of Adam are connected to the idea that Sri Lanka was the original Eden.

A shrine to Saman, a Buddhist "deity" (People who have spent spiritual life during their life on earth and done pacificism service to regions are deified by Sri Lankan Buddhists) charged with protecting the mountain top, can be found near the footprint.

Mountain Range of Knuckles - Kandy

The Knuckles range, which lies in the Kandy and Matale Administrative Districts, was originally known as the Dumbara Kanduwetiya (misty mountain range). Its present name, given to it by British surveyors, is derived from the shape of its main massif, which resembles the knuckles on a fist.

Knuckels misty mountain range with rich bio-diversity rises 1863 meters above the Dumbara valley,starting point for many rivers in the island. The mountain range from north of Kandy District expands to Hunnasgiriya, Rangala, Madugoda, Elkaduwa, Matale, Nalanda, Wagomuwa and Dimbulagala Eco locations. There are 35 peaks rising to more than 3000 feet (915 m) in the nuckles range.

It is rich in medicinal plants, archaeology, history and folklore and contains animals left over from the Gondwanaland era, when many continents were joined together in one.

The area is home to several species of animals, many of them rare or endangered, such as the Sri Lankan Leopard and the Loris. Tennent's Horned Lizard and the Marbled Cliff Frog are restricted to the region, which is also home to several other endemic species, including the Pygmy Tree Lizard, which belongs to a genus of which there are only two known species in the World. Fourteen of the 21 species of birds found here are endemic. Three of the nine fish species endemic to Sri Lanka, Phillips? Garra, Martenstyn?s Barb and Blotched-filamented Barb are only found here.

This mountain range has varying climatic regions in each part is a habitat for many species of birds and wildlife as well as an important water reserve. Some parts of the forest are in the dry zone while south parts are more of a rain forest. Much unexplored this misty and wet mountain range is a Adventure of a Life time.

Ritigala - Anuradhapura

A beautifully paved footpath, several elevated platforms, ruins of an old hospital and remains of a terraced pond are what is unearthed at this 180 BC Buddhist monastery at the foothill of 600m high Ritigala Rock. Dating back to around 350 B.C is one of the oldest historical places mentioned in the ancient chronicles. (about 50km south east of Anuradhapura)

There are stunned trees festooned with hanging moss and many herbs. This anomaly is due to the fact that the Ritigala summit has a cool and wet micro-climate. Clouds and mist envelope the summit for a greater part of the year resulting high vapor condensation that keeps the earth moist.

When Buddhism became established on the island , Ritigala was selected as a suitable spot for the construction of Vihares, or temples. The first the Lanka Vihare, was founded near Ritigala at the foot of the mountain in the second century BC. The Aritta Vihare was founded a century afterwards. Later in the ninth century AD, King Sena made additions by constructing a larger complex higher up the slope for a group of ascetic-priests called the Pansukulikas.

These priests, who had broken away from their brethren in nearby Anuradhapura, were dedicated exclusively to the exercise of meditation and contemplation.

There are scores of natural caves on the slopes of the Ritigala mountain that were donated by laymen to the priests for the practice of meditation. Many are small, but some are quite large. Before presenting his gift, the donor had to drive away animals and snakes, fumigate, clean and plaster the interior with lime, wall in the entrance, hang a door, and cut a drip ledge in the rock above to divert rain water.

Pidurutalagala Mountain

Sri Lanka's highest peak, also known as Mount Pedro, rises 2524m (8281ft) above sea level, immediately behind the town. Unfortunately, the path to the summit, which is the site of Sri lanka's main television transmitter, is closed to visitors for security reasons. For a view of the summit and a superb panorama of the surrounding hills and plantations, you can walk to the top of the picturesquely named single Tree Mountain, south of town off the Badulla road, in about 90 minutes.

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