Minneriya is a National Park in the Central Parts of Sri Lanka, situated close to the city of Polonnaruwa and the UNESCO World Heritage SIte. Minneriya National Park is most famous for the extraordinary Elephant Gatherings around the Minneriya Reservoir.
Minneriya Tank is of both historic and natural importance. It was built by the King of Sri Lanka in 3rd Century AD. In the dry season it is a feeding place for the wild animals, especially for the elephants of the surrounding area. The Minneriya Tank makes it possible for the large herds of Elephants to survive in this area. The Elephants are attracted by the grasslands around the reservoir and migrate from surrounding areas for the food and shelter offered in Minneriya National Park. Hundreds of Elephants can be gathered around the Minneriya Tank at the same time during dry season, which is an extremely high concentration of wild Asian Elephants. You can head out with a Jeep in the National Park to watch this grand happening. You can see the elephants and how they eat, bath and how the cute baby elephants are protected by the older elephants.
The Minneriya Reservoir is not only of importance to elephants during dry season, but also to the many birds of Minneriya. You can find more than 150 species of birds here. Larger water birds like spot-billed pelican and painted stork can be seen here among many other species, such as cormorants. You can see the birds catch fish in the shallow waters as you overlook the reservoir area. Forests, scrublands, grasslands and wetlands create a favorable environment for the many animals and birds of Minneriya. In addition to Asian Elephants and Birds you can see endemic Monkeys, Sambar Deers and even Leopards and Sloth Bears are reported to inhabit the National Park.
A visit to Minneriya National Park is a great Eco Tourism excursion. It is one of the most extraordinary wildlife experiences in the world as you see hundreds of wild elephants gathered in the same place during your exciting wildlife safari.
You can combine your visit to Minneriya with a trip to Polonnaruwa, an old capital of Sri Lanka.
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