Minneriya National Park
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Minneriya National Park Culture & History

From Kandy: Sigiriya Rock, Village Tour and Minneriya Park

1. From Kandy: Sigiriya Rock, Village Tour and Minneriya Park

Start your tour at 6:30 AM with pickup from your hotel in Kandy. The first stop on your itinerary will be the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. which you will reach at approximately 9:00 AM. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization, where you will discover spellbinding vistas across mist-wrapped forests in the early morning. Climb a series of vertiginous staircases attached to sheer walls to reach the top of the ruins. Pass a series of frescoes and a pair of colossal lion's paws carved into the bedrock. Marvel at the surrounding landscape of lily-pad-covered moats, water gardens, and quiet shrines that surround the site. After visiting the fortress, proceed to a local village in Sigiriya to experience a village tour. Get a chance to go on an oxen cart ride, and experience the world from the view of a local farmer. Afterwards, take a relaxing catamaran safari through a calm lake. Stroll through the golden fields ripe with their harvest of paddy. Watch a traditional cooking demonstration, that teaches you the basics of Sri Lankan cuisine. Delight your taste buds with a home-cooked lunch; made over a wood-fire and served on fragrant lotus leaves placed over woven trays.  After experiencing the village life of Sri Lanka, travel onwards to Minneriya National Park to go on safari. See the famous Sri Lankan elephants, rare bird species, saltwater crocodiles, Indian pythons, and an abundance of flora and fauna. On completion of the jeep safari at approximately 6:00 PM and return to your hotel in Kandy, stopping along the way for dinner, at your own expense.

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From Dambulla: Private Polonnaruwa and Minneriya Day Tour

2. From Dambulla: Private Polonnaruwa and Minneriya Day Tour

Your day tour to Polonnaruwa and Minneriya begins in the morning with a 8:30 AM pickup from your hotel in Dambulla. Drive with your private chauffeur and guide to the first destination of Polonnaruwa. If you didn't have breakest already, stop along the way for some local fare. Arrive at Polonnaruwa at approximately 9:30 AM and spend the morning exploring the second capital of the ancient Sri Lankan Kings.   During your visit to the ruined city, see famous archaeological sites such as Gal Vihara, the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, Sathmahal Prasada, Medirigiriya Vatadage, Lankathilaka Image House, the Shiva Temple, Rankoth Vehera, Nissankalatha, Mandapaya and much more. If you have time, visit the Archaeological Museum. At about 12:30 PM take a break and enjoy lunch before going to Minneriya National Park. Leave Polonnaruwa at 1:45 PM to arrive at the park at about 2:30 PM. Minneriya is famous for its seasonal elephant gatherings where hundreds of elephants come together to socialize, feed, and play. Depending on the season, witness this phenomenon or at least get the chance to see the majestic animals during other times of the year. Take a 3-hour safari ride in the park to see other types of fauna. The safari concludes at 5:30 PM, after which you will be driven back to your accommodation in Dambulla. 

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From Kandy: Ancient Heritage of Sri Lanka 2-Day Guided Tour

3. From Kandy: Ancient Heritage of Sri Lanka 2-Day Guided Tour

Embark on a 2-day tour of Sri Lanka’s cultural history, including one of its most famous National Parks. Explore the sacred city of Anuradhapura, Dambulla Golden Cave Temple, and Wilpattu National Park.   Day 1: Kandy – Dambulla – Anuradhapura Start your journey at 7:00 AM with hotel pickup in Kandy. Hop into an air-conditioned vehicle and head for Dambulla to your first stop: the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Marvel at the hundreds of Buddha figurines and other deities scattered across the 5 main caves. You’ll also see the giant golden Buddha statue just a little distance outside the cave complex and hear the tales of this ancient kingdom.   Afterwards, head to Anuradhapura where you’ll check into your hotel for a short rest. In the evening, explore the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, which served as the country’s capital for over a millennium until the 10th century AD. See its pagodas, monastic buildings, and ponds scattered over a vast area. Visit important landmarks, like Jetavanarama, one of the tallest buildings of the ancient world; the Sri Maha Bodhi, a sacred tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment; and the huge Abhayagiri Monastery. Learn about the fascinating history of this region as you walk in the footsteps of kings.   Day 2: Anuradhapura – Wilpattu – Kandy Early in the morning, head to Wilpattu National Park for a jeep safari. Feel the call of the wild as you catch sight of the elusive Sri Lankan leopard—this National Park is believed to have the highest concentration of leopards in the entire world. See hundreds of other types of wildlife such as deer, buffalo, monkeys, crocodiles, and rare birds. Get the photographs of a lifetime of these curious creatures.   After the safari, return to your hotel for a short rest before setting off again for a visit to Mihintale Rock. This is the place where Buddhism began in Sri Lanka, the spot where King Devanampiyatissa and Monk Mahina met. View the monastic ruins at the foot of the mountain and walk in the footsteps of Mahina as you visit the cave where he lived. See historic stupas (commemorative monuments) as you wander the ruins of an age long past, helping you to understand its impact on the history and current state of Sri Lanka. After this final visit, you’ll head back to your hotel in Kandy.

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From Kandy: "Ethos of Ceylon" 2-Day Cultural Triangle Tour

4. From Kandy: "Ethos of Ceylon" 2-Day Cultural Triangle Tour

Embark on a 2-day guided tour of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle as well as one of its most famous National Parks. Immerse yourself in the ancient history of this region and get to know life as a villager.    Day 1: Kandy – Polonnaruwa – Minneriya – Sigiriya Start your journey with pickup from your Kandy hotel at 6:30 AM in an air-conditioned vehicle and head to Polonnaruwa to visit the Ancient Kingdom. Walk through the ruins of this city that flourished between the 10th and 13th century AD. View important monuments such as Gal Vihara, Vatadage, the lotus bath, Lankathilaka Temple, and the statue of King Parakramabahu, whose reign was considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa. Get to know more about Sri Lanka’s ancient history before heading to Minneriya National Park. In the park, take a 3-hour safari to catch glimpses of over 150 elephants, who congregate in one place during the dry season (May to October). As well as elephants, you’ll see many other mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in the scrublands, forests, and other areas. Head to your hotel in Sigiriya to check in.   Day 2: Sigiriya – Kandy After breakfast at the hotel, check out and visit Sigiriya’s “Lion Rock” Fortress. Climb to the 5th-century rock fortress where King Kasyapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion and view the beautiful unfaded murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. As you walk through the tunnels leading to the palace you’re sure to get a feeling for times long past.  Afterwards, go on a village tour to experience the world from the view of a village farmer. Go on an oxen cart ride and enjoy a relaxing catamaran safari across a calm lake. Walk through the golden fields, ripe with their harvest before enjoying a home-cooked lunch, made over a wood-fire and served on fragrant lotus leaves. After this unique, immerse experience, you’ll be taken back to your hotel in Kandy.

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From Dambulla: Sigiriya Rock, Village, and Minneriya Tour

5. From Dambulla: Sigiriya Rock, Village, and Minneriya Tour

See Sigiriya Rock Fortress, visit a local village, and go on a two-hour safari ride: with this tour you’ll make the most of a full day in Sri Lanka.   Start your tour at 8:30 AM with pickup at your hotel in Dambulla and head to your first destination, Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s most dramatic sight. Climb a series of narrow staircases to reach its top, passing frescoes and colossal statues of lion paws carved into the bedrock. At the top, you’ll be able to take in unforgettable views of the surrounding moats, water gardens, and quiet shrines.   Follow this experience with a tour of a local village, where you can take an oxen cart ride and experience the world from the view of a village farmer. Take a relaxing catamaran ride through a calm lake and walk through golden fields ripe with their harvest. Finally, watch a cooking demonstration that teaches you the basics of Sri Lankan cuisine, and taste the results for lunch if you choose.   Finish your day with a 2-hour safari ride through Minneriya National Park, home to elephants, 160 species of birds, deer, leopards, sloth bears, and more. At the end of a long but fulfilling day, you’ll be taken back to your hotel in Dambulla at around 6:00 PM.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Minneriya National Park

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What people are saying about Minneriya National Park

great day, had a very knowledgable driver, great food and learned a lot about the people and the country.