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his foot there, when, from the top of the Peak, he ascended into heaven.
To ascend to the top of Adam's Peak, and there offer devotions, is considered by the natives, as highly meritorious. In the year 1819, two Englishmen, Messrs. Marshall and Sawers, went to the top of this Peak. They set out from the city of Kandy, which is between forty and fifty miles from the Peak. So difficult was it to travel, that they were three days in going thirty-nine miles, which brought them within eighteen miles of the foot of the mountain on which the Peak stands; and this latter distance took them two days to get over.
On the sixth day, they began to ascend the mountain; and that day, they travelled six miles. Whenever their guides caught a sight of the Peak, which they, in their language, call "the hill of the sacred foot," they appeared to be greatly pleased, and clapped their hands, raising them over their heads. The next morning, before they began to ascend the Peak, the guides prepared for making their offerings to the sacred foot, by washing themselves in a mountain stream. Their offerings, consisting of a few small copper coins, were wrapped in a piece of cloth, and then were put into a handkerchief, which was bound round the head.
From the stream where the guides washed, the way was up a narrow ravine, which, in the rainy season, is the channel of a torrent, and impassable. Thick jungle, and lofty trees, gave the place a gloomy aspect, and prevented the travellers from seeing far before them. When they had gone about two-thirds of the way up the Peak, the guides, according to their custom, offered a needle and thread to Budhu, placing their offering on a rock. The way now became more difficult; the upper part of the Peak consisting of an immense cone of granite, but very barely covered with vegetation. Mr. Marshall says, "The track, in several places, is quite abrupt, and over the bare rock. In some parts, steps are cut, and iron chains fixed, to assist the pilgrims in ascending and descending."
Two hours and a half after, Messrs. Marshall and Sawers,
and their guides, had commenced ascending the Peak, they arrived at the summit. Here they found a space twentythree paces long, and eighteen paces broad, surrounded by a wall, in which were two openings to admit pilgrims. The top of the Peak is 6800 feet above the level of the sea. Nearly in the centre of the enclosure, on the top, was a large block of granite, over which was a wooden roof on posts, secured, to the block and to the walls of the enclosure, by strong chains. On this block, under the roof, was the holy foot-mark, adorned with flowers and figures, made of coloured cloth. The foot-mark appeared to have been partly cut with a chisel, and partly formed with hard mortar or cement. It was about five feet and a half long, two feet and a half broad, and rather more than one inch and a half deep; and was surrounded by a border of gilded copper, in which a few glittering stones were set.
On their arrival at the summit, they found between forty and fifty pilgrims there, who had ascended from an opposite direction. These pilgrims performed their devotions, without regarding the presence of the strangers, and then retired without appearing to look either to the right or left. During the day, several parties of pilgrims arrived. They were of all ages, from mere children to old men. When they entered the enclosure, they directly went to the centre and ascended to the holy foot-mark. They did not go under the shed, but stood facing the toes. Here they offered their worship, bowing, putting the palms of their hands together, holding them before their faces, or raising them above their heads, and uttering some words. They then presented their offerings, which were first put into the foot-mark. Their presents consisted of money, rice, cocoa-nuts, cotton cloth, handkerchiefs, betel-leaves, flowers, onions, ornaments for the shed which covers the foot-mark, a lock of hair, which in some cases was taken from the beard.
The pilgrims were only a short time on the stone, on which is the foot-mark, performing their acts of devotion; then, keeping their faces towards the foot-mark, they descended into the enclosure and formed themselves in a line. Then one of the groups opened a small book made
of palm-leaves, and chanted some passages. At the termination of each portion, the men, women, and children joined in a chorus of responses. These consisted of their five commandments, which prohibit 1st, Killing any creature 2nd, Stealing: 3rd, Committing adultery: 4th, Uttering a falsehood: and 5th, Drinking intoxicating liquors.
When these services had been performed, the pilgrims went severally to two bells hung on frames, near the central rock, and rang one of them, by pulling a string attached to the clapper. They then took some strips of cloth, which had been in oil, or liquid butter, lighted the cloths and placed them upon an iron stand or upon the edge of a large stone. On a shelf of the stone, in the centre, is a small temple dedicated to Vishnu, another imaginary being worshipped by the Hindoos. To this temple the pilgrims made small presents. All their ceremonies were gone through in less than a quarter of an hour; when these were concluded, they immediately departed.
Two Buddhist priests were there, to take charge of the offerings of the devout, which are forwarded to the chiefpriest at Kandy. The average annual value is two hundred and fifty pounds sterling. Before the setting of the sun, the priests ring a bell over the foot-mark; they also fan it and cover it with flowers, and make to it a vast number of bowings. The priests reside here only from January to April. During the wet season, the Peak is generally covered with clouds, and its ascent is impracticable. The two priests were attended by a little boy, and they occupied a small hut outside the enclosure of the summit.
Messrs. Marshall and Sawers resolved to remain all night at the top of the Peak; but to this their guides and the priests strongly objected; saying, that very serious disasters would result from white men remaining there all night; that it would be displeasing to the Hindoo divinities. The travellers, however, were determined to remain during the night. The senior priest, therefore, gave them