Rites of worship on Sri Pada

view from Horton Plains

On one side of the mountain just below the enclosure is a ledge covered by a roughly constructed shed. On arriving at the peak, groups of pilgrims enter this shed and wait in a posture of worship while a leader intones prayers and verses which the whole group reĀ­peat after him. Then they burn incense in front of the rock.

Some groups of pilgrims, who probably came from the same village or area, spread out the food offerings they bring upon a large sheet, which a number of their company lift above their heads and in that manner carry the offerings round the rock three times, the rest of the group following behind.

After this ritual of circumambulation they enter the small building that covers the sacred footprint and prostrating touch the rock with their foreheads. Here they leave their offerings of food and money. The money is collected by attendants and inĀ­serted into a large chest.

A pilgrimage to a sacred place is considered to be a meritorious deed, and the more the pilgrimages are, the greater is the merit. On Adam's Peak there is a large bell that every pilgrim rings, one toll for every pilgrimage he or she has made to that sacred mountain hallowed by the Buddha.

Text from Buddhism: Belief and Practices in Sri Lanka by L.A. de Silva (1974) pp. 176-179.