Adam's Peak, one of the loftiest mountains in ceylon, remarkable for the high veneration in which it is held by the natives, on account of the impression of a human footstep which is found on its summit.
Its perpendicular height has been estimated at 7150 feet and it stands in the Saffragam district in 7° 6′ north latitude, and 0°43′ east longitude, about 71 miles south east of colombo. Though the summit appears like a point, viewing it from the bottom of the plain, yet it embraces an area of 74 feet in length, and 24 in breadth; and on a large flat stone, which stands in the centre, surrounded by a wall of five feet high, the devotees discover the sacred footstep, which, according to Dr. Davy, is “a superficial hollow, five feet three inches and three quarters long, and between two feet seven inches, and two feet five inches wide.”
Pilgrims from the most remote parts of India, of every religion, visit the Peak, and ascend by means of an iron chain which is fastened to it. The Fakeers of the Mahomedan persuasion, in order to excite the zeal of their benefactors, often take impressions of the footstep on a piece of white cloth (which has been previously coated with pulverized sander) for public exhibition.
Respecting the footstep, there is a diversity of opinions. The Moors who will have Ceylon to be the place whither the first man was expelled after his fall, ascribe it to him ; and the Hindoos claim it for siva (the third person in their triad); but the Budhists loudly protest against this opinion, and assert it to belong to Budha. It is called “Baba-Aadamalei” by the Moors; “Samanella sripada,” or “Samantakoota parvata” by the singhalese ; ” Amala saripadi ” by the Burmese ; and “Sivanolipadam” by the Malabars ; each, and all of these. having a reference to the religions persuasion of the people.
Mons. Db La Loubere, Envoy extraordinary to the king of Siaro from the coart of Louis XI V., affirms, that the people of that country have also a similiar impression of a foot on one of the hills tbere^ which represents the right foot of their “Summonacodom” while the one we are describings is the left of the same personage.
According to a note appended to the article “Ape” in Calmet's Dictionary, here there was formerly a very magnificent temple in which there was, among other things, a little box full of gold and jewels, containing also an ape's tooth; the latter, the Portuguese are said to have taken when they ravaged the Island in 1554, when they burnt the relic and had the ashes thrown into the sea, though the kings of the country, who worshipped it, offered 700,000 ducats for it. At present the Peak is not ornamented with any splendid edifices: it has only a small Wihare, in which the priest who is employed to collect the offerings for the priory of Malwatte resides.