Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka, which is located in the North Central Province of the island, approximately 190 km from Colombo, is a prominent tourist attraction. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas in the country.
The national park protects the catchment of the Minneriya Tank which was built back in the third century AD by King Mahasen. The most remarkable natural event occurs here during the dry season. A large herd of wild elephants congregate by the banks of the reservoir every year to create The Gathering, an astounding natural event that has garnered famed around the world. Some records of the elephants that gather during the event include numbers as high as 700. The elephants can be seen socialising and bathing while enjoying the company of each other. This mesmerising event occurs between the months of July and September and is a remarkable sight to behold indeed!
Minneriya National Park also offers many opportunities to spot large water birds. Painted storks, lesser adjutants and spot-billed pelicans can be seen here. Endemic species of birds like the Sri Lankan junglefowl, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka grey-hornbill and crimson-fronted barbet are commonly spotted in Minneriya.
Your wildlife tour in the country can also include places like Wasgamuwa National Park and Somawathiya National Park which are quite easy to reach from Minneriya.