How to Make an Ethno-Religious Coexistence in the Society by Observing Rites and Rituals on the Sacred Journey to Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak)

  • Rev Polgaswatte Paramananda
Keywords: Adam’s peak, customs, ethnic harmony, pilgrimage, rites and rituals




Sri Pada, also known as Adam’s peak, is the highest peak in Sri Lanka where Buddha’s footprint is left at the summit and is believed by Buddhists and followers of other religions to be a sacred place. These followers commonly observe customs, rites and rituals, and a code of specific language throughout the course of pilgrimage to the summit of Sri Pada. This study thus mainly focuses on those religious beliefs and rites and rituals, which are chiefly observed by the followers in three occasions in the pilgrimage. These three occasions pertain to the beginning of the pilgrimage, the journey to the summit, and the arrival at the summit. The readiness to climb the peak is considered to be a crucial and important step, and the rites and rituals related to the pilgrimage are begun at home. Another set of customs is observed at the foot of the mountain, and such initiated customs must be fulfilled before climbing the mountain. Rites and rituals vary across faiths, but preparations are nonetheless important since the summit—believed to be dominated by a god—is a difficult climb. Another objective of this study is to explain how unity is formed in the community under the umbrella of rites and rituals performed in the pilgrimage to Adam’s peak. Besides these rites and rituals, the code of language and poems sung on the way to the summit is instrumental in strengthening intercultural cooperation and ethnic harmony in the multinational and multicultural society. Data gathering in this study, moreover, mainly adhered to the observation method and content analysis of historical accounts.