As the temperatures reach its summit through July to September, the dry wilderness of Minneriya National Park located in the North Central part of Sri Lanka is alive with herds of elephants descending upon the banks of the ancient Minneriya tank built by King Mahasen in the 3rd century AD.
This phenomenon, most commonly known as ‘the Gathering’ is a spectacular event of around 200 wild elephants of all ages congregating in search for food and water to what may be themed as the world’s largest pool party.
‘The Gathering’ is a magnificent display of the grandeur of all things wild and is a ritualistic journey of elephants to mate, socialise and seek sustenance among the lush grasslands surrounding the reservoir. This event attracts tourists from across the world to witness these magnificent elephants at a close distance. ‘The Gathering’ was also listed in the ‘Top 10 Greatest Wildlife Spectacles’ by Lonely Planet.
Nature Trails, the excursions arm of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts plays a dynamic role in sharing this delightful experience with their clients accommodated at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, the chain’s premier resort nestled in Habarana a mere nine kilometres from the park.
Vimukthi Weeratunga, Manager Field Operations and Wildlife Biologist at Nature Trails commented, “The Minneriya ‘Elephant Gathering’ is an enchanted wildlife spectacle beyond your imagination that anyone who travels to Sri Lanka must see to believe.”
The team has launched a major research project funded by John Keells Foundation to observe the seasonal movement of elephants encompassing these areas and to observe their behaviour during the ‘non-gathering’ season with the primary purpose of elephant conservation from the masses that come to visit the event. Such measures taken by the team led by Chitral Jayatilake, Head of Nature Trails and Vice President John Keells Group, ensure the preservation and the sustenance of this enigmatic event.
The Nature Trails travel counter at Cinnamon Lodge offers guided jeep excursions to the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks at amazing rates, offering their guests an enjoyable Cinnamon experience.