Ian Lockwood


Poya In the Shadow of the Peak

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Poya In the Shadow of the Peak

Clearing mist on the east face of Sri Pada

When I first arrived in Sri Lanka I had a chance to meet Dominic and Nazreen Sansoni at the Barefoot Gallery. Dominic has taken some of the defining images of Sri Pada from the air and on the ground. Hearing about my interests in sacred mountains and tropical forests in the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka they suggested that I visit a place known as the Fishing Hut in order to best appreciate Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak). It took a few years and some exploring to figure out the logistics but now I’ve been there three times and am looking forward to further visits.

In March I organized a trip to take our family and two others to the Central Highlands to enjoy three days in the shadow of Sri Pada. The visit offered marvelous views of the peak bathed in sunlight, clearing mist and the glow of the full moon. Bird and wildlife sightings were limited although a group of Sri Lanka Blue Magpies (Urocissa ornata) flew through the forest by the huts. All the usual endemics (Dull Blue Flycatcher, Yellow Eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka White Eye etc.) were encountered on the summit. 


Our children playing by the stream in front of the Fishing Hut & Sri Pada

Our kids playing below the Fishing Hut, overshadowed by Sri Pada.

Raina and the other two women in our group climbed Sir Pada on the second day while we men watched over the kids. I went up with Jan, one of the fathers, on the second day. Punchirala, the multi-talented caretaker of the hut, guided us on the path even though I felt confident about from the December trip. The views of the peak and forest on the way up were stunning. The night before had been a poya and was very crowded with pilgrims but by the time we got to the temple it was pleasantly deserted. The priests and guards, now familiar with my frequent visits and tripod antics, offered us tea and hospitality. The path to Sri Pada from the Fishing Hut is certainly the most enjoyable route with respect to natural history. It is also a far gentler incline since it starts relatively high up (about 1,300meters).

Clearing amongst cloud forest in Peak Wilderness on the way up from the Fishing Hut to the summit of Sri Pada .

Saman tapestry at Sri Pada summit temple

Temple drummers at Sri Pada summit

Non-biodegradable garbage below the temple…a pressing, unresolved issue.

What a place… view up to Sri Pada summit temple from the eastern side.

Written by ianlockwood

2008-06-07 at 8:36 am

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  1. Thank you for sharing. I came to this site to read how things really are


    2009-02-07 at 2:56 am

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