Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park, famous for the large herds of up to 300 elephants that congregate during the Great Migration between July – September, with up to 300 gathering at water bodies during the dry season. It is best combined with a visit to Polonnaruwa, the closest of the cultural triangle cities to the park. The park’s tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in the third century AD. Now renovated, this vast ancient tank irrigates the considerable area of the park, along with the whole of Polonnaruwa and is the focal point of the Park, serving as a dry season feeding ground for elephant populations dwelling in forests of Matale (near Kandy), Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee. Large herds of Sri Lankan elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season, between May to October. Minneriya National Park is the largest known gathering place of Asian elephants in the world. In the months of August, September and October herds up to 300 elephants can be seen near the Minneriya Reservoir. Safari game drives are best done in the evening from around 4.00pm to avoid the heat and generally last two to three hours.

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