Minneriya Elephant Gathering – The Great Rendezvous with the Elephants

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There is only one place in the world and only one time of year when you could meet up with not just one but more than 300 wild elephants in one place. Head to the Minneriya National Park in the heart of Sri Lanka and you will witness this grand spectacle.

Elephant gathering in minneriya national park

Elephant gathering in minneriya national park

Like many other places in Sri Lanka’s North and North Central Province, the dry season from May to September takes its toll on this 88.9 square kilometer evergreen forest. Conditions become immensely dry and water becomes scarce as hen’s teeth. It is during this time of year that you will witness the mother elephant emerge with her baby from the scrub jungle to the edge of an enormous, man-made rainwater reservoir in the Minneriya National Park. In no time, groups of thirsty elephants join in forming massive herds of over 300 pachyderms to drink, feed, bathe and play in the water. This gigantic meet up is better known as ‘The Gathering’.

The Minneriya reservoir built by King Mahasen in 3rd Century AD becomes the only feeding ground for hungry elephants as most of the other waterholes in the surrounding area dries out and ends up in cracked mud patches.

Elephant gathering in minneriya national park

Elephant gathering in minneriya national park

It has been observed that the number of elephants gathering near the ancient Minneriya Tank increases especially during the months of August and September and it is renowned as the highest elephant gathering in the world during this time of the year.

The Minneriya National Park is also home to the Sambar Deer, Toque Macaques as well as Leopards. Flocks of birds such as Cormorants and Storks also come to fish in the shallow waters of the lake.

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