between Habarana and POLONNARUWA, the 8890 hectares of MINNERIYA
NATIONAL PARK is an ideal eco tourism location in Sri Lanka. The park
consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to Sri
Lanka's favourites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants.
However the central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank
(built in 3rdcentury AD by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June
to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the
elephants who come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the
huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few)
that come to fish in the shallow waters.
sea of black invades the emerald Minneriya Tank, as a flock of two
thousand cormorants nosedive for fish. The elephants too, trudge by
drinking from the same reservoir.
Not close to being the largest tank in Sri Lanka , Minneriya Tank -
with the woods that surround it forming the Minneriya-Giritale
National Park - is nevertheless home to an extraordinary diversity of
wildlife. If numbers interest you, there are nine species of
amphibians, 24 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species
of fish (three of which are endangered), 75 species of butterflies and
160 species of birds.
Making your way through the park, you will see elephants, Spotted Deer
and also the Sambar, which is a deer with no spots and an apt
scientific name, carves unicolor . If you're lucky, a leopard looking
for food might cross your path.
Time to Visit
May to October
Nearest airport is in
Polonnaruwa is on the
Colombo–Batticaloa railway line. The train station is located at
Minneriya National Park is well
connected by good network of roads.
Minneriya National Park
hh - heritage hotel ; ph -
palace hotel ; bh - boutique hotel ; gh - guest house ; hs - home stay