Gusts of a balmy breeze rustle the green plains and the peaceful realm of the wilderness is alluring. Spanning over 88 square kilometers, the famed Minneriya National Park is a green oasis. Traversing the deep forest to catch a glimpse of its serene wonders is itself an adventure. As the descending sun glimmers over the waters of the massive Minneriya reservoir, it creates a spellbinding vista against the lush green backdrop. The reservoir was built by the great King Mahasen during the Anuradhapura kingdom.
With the fall of dusk, one by one or sometimes in herds, mighty elephants and majestic tuskers head to the banks of the reservoir. A haven for its primary occupants, the reservoir and its banks do not fail the jumbos who come in search of water and food during the period from August to October. They journey together towards the tank, as Minneriya is the only place, which has sufficient food and water for them during the dry season in the region.
This mass flocking of elephants in Minneriya is said to be the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants. While wandering around the banks and making trumpeting calls, the giant creatures enjoy the nourishing grasslands. Even before devouring a wholesome meal, some rush to the reservoir to indulge in the cool waters. As the elephants start playing with the water, the reservoir turns into their bathtub in the wilderness. They romp and play in the reservoir flapping their huge ears while enjoying a mud bath. One might give a helpful shove to a fellow giant or even entwine their trunks playfully. The sight of friendly trunk wrestling is truly exhilarating. The baby elephants also play in the water under the watchful gaze of their parents.
This great gathering of elephants in Minneriya is a spectacle of nature that enchants the onlooker. Witnessing this kingdom of elephants is undoubtedly a sight to behold.