Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park is situated approximately 180 Km from the Commercial city of Colombo. It is 104 Km from the scared city of Kandy. The national park is located in the North Central province and the closest city is Polonnaruwa. Closet town is Habarana, just ten minutes’ drive.

The national park covers an area of 8889.4 ha.

In August 1997, the area was designated as a National park, but originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The tank (Minneriya tank) has a historical importance; it is built by the King Mahasen in third century AD.

Minneriya_National_Park_In_Sri_Lanka

Minneriya rainwater reservoir is the crucial point of the national park. Minneriya National park is part of the elephant corridor which joins up with the Kaudulla National Park and Wasgamuwa National park. Due to this reason Minneriya National park gives a great opportunity to watch herds of wild elephants throughout the year. May to October is reckoned to be the greatest time to visit Minneriya National park to view the wild elephant gathering.

Main Attraction of the park

Wild elephant gathering at the tank is the focal attraction of the Minneriya National park. During the dry season the area is a feeding ground for the wild elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee districts. Elephants gathered on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season can amount around 150 – 200. A jeep safari is the most appropriate method for site seeing at Minneriya National Park.

Minneriya National Park
Minneriya National Park

Climate at the National Park

The national park is located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Therefore it receives an average annual rainfall of 1500 – 2000 mm. Temperature range from 20.6 C and 34.5 C respectively. Elehara canal and the Amban river are the main resources of water for the tank. The wet season is from October to January, where North Eastern monsoon prevail.

Wildlife

The national park is considered to have 24 species of Mammals, 160 species of Birds, 9 species of Amphibians, 25 species of Reptiles, 26 species of Fish and 75 species of Butterflies.

National park is an important habitat for purple-faced langur and torque macaque, which are endemic monkey species of Sri Lanka.

Minneriya is a dormitory for many local and migrant birds. Great white-pelican, ruddy turnstone and grey heron can be seen. Also endemic bird species such as Sri Lanka jungle fowl, Sri Lanka hanging parrot, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, black-crested bulbul and crimson-fronted barbet were reported. 11 number of threatened birds species were also reported from the national park.

There are 8 species of endemic reptiles and all are considered as threatened. Saltwater crocodile, Indian python, Asian water monitor, Painted-lip lizard and Bengal monitor are the reptile species found at the park.

Sri Lanka

North Central province

Polonnaruwa

August 12, 1997

Sigirya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya Rock

Sigiriya rock commonly known by locals as the eighth wonder. It is an ancient palace and a fortress complex with major archaeological significance. Rock attracts hundreds and thousands of tourists each year. It is possibly one of the most visited tourist destination of the Island.

The rock fortress is located 15 Km away from Dambulla, one of the cities of cultural triangular of Sri Lanka. It is above 370 meters of sea level. Sigiriya Rock is a massive column rock standing alone nearly 100 meters (330 ft.) high.

The Sigiriya rock is believed that this place has served as a monastery according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle, the Chulvamsa The rock was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) to build a royal palace. After the death of king, it yet again became a Buddhist monastery until 14th century, when it was deserted.

Sigirya Rock Fortress
Sigirya Rock Fortress

UNESCO has listed Sigiriya as a World Heritage site and one of the best examples of ancient urban planning. Sigiriya gained international recognition due to the engineering capabilities displayed in its construction, the palace layout, frescoes and the mirror wall.

Ancient ruins at top of Sigiriya
Ancient ruins at top of Sigiriya

The fortress complex includes remnants of an ancient palace, surrounded by an extensive network of fortifications, vast gardens, ponds, canals and fountains.

The main entrance to the rock is located to the Northern side. It was designed in the form of a huge lion, and its feet can be seen today but unfortunately other parts have been destroyed. The name Sigiriya has originated due to this lion. The term has originated from the Sinhala word, ‘Sihagiri’.

Frescoes

Entire western wall is covered by frescoes, created during the time of King Kasyapa. Eighteen out of them have survived to this day.

They portray nude females and are considered to be either portraits of wives of King Kasyapa or priestess performing religious rituals. Even though the identity is unknown, paintings are unique and celebrating the beauty of females. Frescoes are of incredible historical significance.

Paintings at Sigiriya
Paintings at Sigiriya
Sigiriya Mirror Wall
Sigiriya Mirror Wall

Mirror Wall

Most remarkable part of Sigiriya is the Mirror wall. It is believed that during king’s reign it was polished comprehensively so that king could witness his reflection. Currently wall is strictly prohibited for public since the wall is painted with inscriptions and poems written by the visitors to Rock Fortress. The writings of the wall are clear evidence that the Sigiriya have been a popular tourist destination more than a thousand years ago.

Places near Sigiriya Rock

Dambulla cave temples are located close to the Sigiriya rock. Minneriya national park, Kaudulla National park, Namal uyana and Pidurangala rock few interesting places located close.