Located in Sri Lanka’s famous cultural triangle in the north central province, the Minneriya National Park has its own share of wildlife to allure the local and foreign traveller. The park is centred around the Minneriya tank which owes its origin to the ancient days of King Mahasen, who built this tank in as far back as the 3rd century AD. Until 1938, the park operated as a wild life sanctuary and was declared a National park subsequently and is now open for public viewing which has earned considerable revenue within a short period.
The chief attraction especially for the foreign visitor is the ‘Gathering of Elephants, which is a huge event that can be witnessed during the dry season. Herds of elephants gather to the Minneriya tank and the surrounding area to have a bath or frolic in the water or feed on surrounding plants and bushes and this can almost be misconceived as elephants migrating from one place to the other. The period from May to September is considered the dry season and it is during this period that the park draws elephants from the surrounding forests of Pollonnaruwa and Trincomalee who also gather here for feeding.
However the park is not only famous for these huge creatures of the wild. Minneriya along with some others belongs to one of the 70 important bird areas in the country. The rare sight of the Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan sloth bear can be enjoyed in this region. A traveller will be fortunate to catch a glimpse of the all time favourite Sri Lankan axis dear and Sambar deer. Two endemic monkeys also have chosen Minneriya as their habitat. The sight of the Painted stork frequenting the edge of the water is awe inspiring and this bird too is accompanied by so many others both its own kind in Sri Lanka and the migrants from other countries.
When it comes to other nearby attractions ‘Sigiriya’ takes predominance with its huge rocky fortress and the ruins of its palace, the alluring frescos and poetry that are world famous. There are some fabulous hotels in Sigiriya that are ideal to relax and unwind in while travelling through the cultural triangle. Lying in the shadow of Sigiriya and surrounded by shooting foliage, the Sigiriya Village enjoys unperturbed tranquillity and fascinating views of this part of the country. This is one Sigiriya hotel that is renowned for its spectacular location, lying as if it were in the backyard of Sigiriya while pampering the traveller with some cosy comforts and gastronomic delights.
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