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Minneriya/Kaudulla National Park

Minneriya is a historic irrigation reservoir established around 1700 years ago for paddy cultivation, having a total surface area of 22550ha and a catchment area of 24000ha. In 1938, the region surrounding the reservoir was designated as a wildlife sanctuary, and in 1997, an area of 8889ha was designated as a national park. The vegetation of the national park consists of tropical dry mixed evergreen forests, grassland, and wetlands.

It is the world’s largest gathering spot for Asian Elephants. During the dry season, hundreds of wild elephants from the surrounding forests visit the Minneriya reservoir and region for food and water.

The population of wild elephants in the region ranges from 200 to 300, with gatherings reaching 700.

Kaudulla was historically an irrigation tank built around 1700 years ago. In 2002, 6656ha of land was declared as a national park. The Kaudulla reservoir provides water for the whole park’s animals, and it, together with the catchment region, is the greatest recurrent meeting point for wild elephants inside the park.

Minneriya and Kaudalla national parks are so near to one other that animals may easily go from one to the other in search of food and water.

Additional information

Nearby Attractions

The most popular nearby attraction

  • Kaudulla National Park
  • Hills, large grasslands near the Kaudulla reservoir, woodland, and scrubland characterize the terrain. As an elephant corridor, Kaudulla connects Somawathiya and Udawalawe National Parks. As a result, Kaudulla National Park is crucial in maintaining the enormous number of elephants that are part of Minneriya National Park’s elephant gathering.
    Distance: 21.5 Km

  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Pidurangala Historical Temple
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Lion Rock, is a unique harmony between nature and human imagination. It’s a masterpiece of the ancient urban landscape with pools, architectural technology, exceptional hydraulic engineering and management, exquisite frescoes, graffiti, lion paws, a royal palace, moats, and ramparts of the fortification. This well-preserved ancient rock fortress is probably the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka.
    Pidurangala is an ancient Buddhist monastery built on a natural rock that is situated close to Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
    Distance: 18.5 Km

  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City
  • It served as Sri Lanka’s second and medieval capital for three centuries, from the 11th to the 13th century AD. Today, the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa Ancient City is one of the finest planned archaeological sites in the country. Due to its historic significance and technological excellence, UNESCO designated the ancient city as a World Heritage Site in 1982. Due to enormous irrigation network projects, the city was supported by paddy agriculture between 1153 and 1186. This kingdom’s wealth and opulence are still visible.
    Distance: 34.5 km

  • Ritigala Buddhist Monastery
  • Ritigala mountain range is a one-of-a-kind archaeological and ecological reserve. It contains a distinctive ecology rich in medicinal plants and rare fauna species.

    The location with the 70 rock caves used to be a Buddhist monastic complex for hermit monks. The ruins cover an area of around 120 acres.
    Distance: 27 Km

  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Dambulla Cave Temple, with its five natural caverns, was a Buddhist monastery founded in the first century BC. The temple thereafter underwent various renovation and refurbishment programs with royal patronage until taking on its current interior features in the 18th century. It is the country’s largest and best-preserved cave temple complex.
    The walls of all five caves are decorated with life tales of Buddha, and there are 157 statues of Buddha, monks, gods, and kings in all. The mural paintings occupy a total area of 2100 square meters. The cave temple represents the highest level of Sinhalese art and architecture.
    These five caverns are located on a large rock 172 meters above sea level.
    Distance: 33.5 Km

  • Namal Uyana Rose Quartz Mountain
  • Namal Uyana is a Buddhist Forest Monastery that was founded in the third century BC. The ruins of the ancient monastery can still be seen here.
    The Rose Quartz Mountain is Asia’s largest Rose Quartz Mountain, surrounded by Ironwood (Mesua ferrea) forest. The seven-ridged mountain range rises from 180 to 300 meters above sea level. These rose quartz formations are around 550 million years old, and the region is Sri Lanka’s greatest plant fossil deposit.
    The Ironwood Forest, which is several hundred years old, spans over 1000 hectares of land. The forest’s rather ordered structure shows that it was human cultivation.
    Distance: 44 Km


Accommodation (within 10km)

  • Star Classified hotels- Yes
  • International Chain Hotels- No
  • Boutique Hotels- No
  • Resorts- Yes
  • Ayurvedic Hotels- Yes
  • Inns/Guest Houses- Yes
  • Hostels- Yes
  • Homestays- Yes
  • Eco Hotels- Yes

* You might still find preferred accommodation in nearby cities.


Distance from (estimate)

  • CMB Airport- 161km (travel time: 3hrs 40min)
  • Colombo City- 192km (travel time: 4hrs)
  • Dambulla Cave Temple- 34km (travel time: 45min)
  • Anuradhapura Ancient City- 68km (travel time: 1hrs 30min)
  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City- 34km (travel time: 50min)
  • Kandy City- 104km (travel time: 2hrs 50min)
  • Galle Dutch Fort- 289km (travel time: 5hrs 30min)

* The time and distance are only given to give you an idea. There are stopovers between the two locations. The cities listed above are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.

Best Time


  • May to September- Minneriya National Park
  • August to December- Kaudulla National Park

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