How safe is the climb up Adam's Peak?

Queue on steps of Sri Pada
On a poya (full moon) day in the pilgrimage season, the crowds on the steps to the peak can be so great that pilgrims may stand in a stationary queue for hours.

Most of us, especially first-timers, worry about the risks involved in the climb. Fear not, as the steps are quite wide, and there is absolutely no way of you 'falling off the cliff'.

But it must be mentioned that the first aid facilities available aren't adequate. Apart from the one extremely efficient first aid station situated about quarter of the way up and managed by Siddalepa, climbers are left in quite a helpless situation if an emergency were to occur.

We witnessed one such incident where an elderly man slipped on the wet steps and fell. It was quite sad to see him have to walk a long distance helped by his family, to receive any aid.

Also, if the weather does not hold and even a slight drizzle occurs, the first part of the climb, though on almost flat land, is extremely slippery. The fee levied for vehicle tax at the base of Adam's Peak should be utilised to provide better facilities for pilgrims.

By Vidushi Seneviratne

2003 The Sunday Times