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Published: March 4th 2019
Today was a huge 14 hr day, somewhat unplanned. We started in high spirits in anticipation of the iconic slow train journey to Hatton in the highlands. Rising early we departed Kandy railway station not in a wooden carriage but in a rocking & rolling old diesel. Initial views were typical city businesses leading to smaller villages between dense vegetation & introduced pine & gum trees. Halfway through the trip, at a small village, the train made an emergency stop & we were soon to learn that 2 of 4 teenagers had been on the line & were caught unawares & were tragically struck & killed. We were preparing to abandon our plans for the day expecting a lengthy investigation but after 45 minutes the train started again but with passengers in a more sombre mood.
The scenic outlook was changing & we passed through a canopy of tea plantations, steep mountains, lovely old bridges, waterfalls and small villages.
On reaching Hatton we all completed a pleasant 20 km pedal to Maskeliya through quiet back roads, lush tea plantations and palatial resorts. The group then split into two with most riding the full planned 40 km route. 5 hardy
souls were determined to complete an optional activity, to climb Adams Peak, a 2243 mtr mountain. The walk is via 5600 steps each way & about 11 kms over 5 hrs for the whole journey.
Adams Peak has been an important Buddhist pilgrimage journey for over 1700 years with a small temple at the top built over a footprint believed to be Buddah’s. Due to our delays we did not start until about 2.30 pm & the main purpose was to reach the top, see the sunset and to enjoy the atmosphere of the surrounding pilgrims.
The climb was extremely strenuous but our timing was perfect as most pilgrims were coming down & we arrived exactly in time to get front row viewing of an evening blessing & homage ceremony. What we didn’t know was that because it was a holiday weekend many thousands more pilgrims were arriving to make the climb waiting patiently in line, up the staircase & would most likely be out for much of the night & into the dawn. It was cold after sunset but we warmed up with a quick descent but still didn’t reach our hotel until 9.30. Ruth & I
were very tired & sore but on a high from the joyful & spiritual experience.h
Tot: 2.821s; Tpl: 0.043s; cc: 10; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0397s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb