According to Sinhala tradition, Buddha left his mark on Sri Pada ("sacred footprint") on his third and final visit to Sri Lanka.
Some say it is actually impressed upon a sapphire beneath the rock.
A local saying goes: "If you have never climbed Sri Pada you are a fool; if you've climbed it twice you're a bloody fool." Dharme announced that this was his 1,510th time, which, I joked, positioned him as bordering on certifiable.
As we climbed the final steps to the summit, a watermelon glow seeped from the horizon. I looked back across our route – all that way and no leopards.
But before I could fill my camera's memory card, Dharme rushed me to the other side.
There, stretching from the mountain's base towards the horizon was a shadow of the peak so perfect it looked as if it had been superimposed.
A temple has been built to house the imprint, to which Sri Lankan devotees aspire to make a pilgrimage at least once in their life.
On poya (full-moon) nights, when the trail is busiest, singing can be heard across the mountain.
If I had been travelling independently, I would not have had the time or local knowledge to visit some of the incredible places that Ashika had planned for us.
India amassed 622 for nine before declaring their first innings and then returned to remove both the Sri Lankan openers to tighten their grip on the second Test on Friday.
Staying there Simple guesthouses are located in Nallatanniya, where the trail begins.
More luxurious is Ceylon Tea Trails (00 94 ; teatrails.com), 45 minutes' drive away. Jetwing Vil Uyana (00 94 11 2345700; jetwinghotels.com) is a good base for exploring the Cultural Triangle, including Kandy.