- Sri Lana, known until 1972 as Ceylon is an island situated in the Northern Indian Ocean, off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent of Asia.
- Minneriya city, although small, is a popular destination for visitors.
- In order to understand Minneriya and its attractions, we begin by outlining elements of Sri Lanka, moving in on aspects of Minneriya itself and how to get there, i.e. entry requirements for the country.
- Sri Lankan culture has been influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism, with the former being the most popular religion.
- The country is a strong democracy as influenced by British rule.
- Over 90% of the country is literate and English is a recognised and widely spoken language.
- The food in Sri Lanka has elements of Middle Eastern, Moor, Dutch and Portuguese cuisine.
- Dishes commonly include rice, pittu, curry and roti. Cashew nuts, coconut milk and eggs are often used in preparation and fruits such as jack fruit, mango and bananas often accompany meals.
- Due to the dominance of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, there is a prominence of vegetarian dishes.
- Minneriya is a town in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.
- The area is famous for the Minneriya Lake, also referred to as Minneriya tank, and for the Minneriya National park which is situated at the drying bed of the lake.
- It is located close to other Sri Lankan tourist destinations such as Habarana, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya.
- The town is also a base for the country’s Infantry training Centre and the Sri Lankan army, which often intervenes in matters pertaining to the preservation of the local wildlife.
- Minneriya Lake is an artificial lake which was made by order of King Mahasena of the Sri Lankan civilisation of the Anuradhapura Kingdom in the third century AD.
- The tank covers 4,670 acres (18899 square metres).
Minneriya National Park
- Minneriya National Park was originally a wildlife sanctuary and became a national park in 1997.
- The area is protected due to it being the location of the Minneriya Lake’s catchment area.
- The tank is a dry season feeding area for elephants inhabiting the forests of nearby Matale, Polonnurawa and Tincomalees.
- Minneriya is also one of the most important bird areas of Sri Lanka.
- Attractions include Jeep drives and tours and sightings of elephants and other wildlife such as the spotted deer, macaque, langur monkeys, sambbar, sloths and leopards.
The Gunner’s Club
- The Gunner’s Club is a popular place for tourists to stay and is situated along Polonnaruwa Road and 9km from Minneriya National Park. .
- 24-hour reception
- Outdoor pool
- Restaurant serving local and Western food
- Children’s playground
- Complimentary Wi-Fi access
- Single and en-suite rooms with satellite television, ironing facilities and a wardrobe
- A business centre, including meeting rooms
- Minneriya airport is situated in Polonaruwa Town, 19km from the centre of Minneriya. The medium sized local airport caters for local domestic flights.
Entry Requirements and Visas
- Most tourists do not require a visa to enter Sri Lanka, making it easier to plan a trip there. Tourists can instead apply online for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) which is valid for up to 30 days.
- An exception; however are citizens from Pakistan who must obtain visas in advance from the Sri Lankan High Commission in Pakistan.
- Citizens from Maldives, Seychelles and Singapore do not require Electronic Travel Authorization and receive free Sri Lanka visas upon their arrival in the country.
- Visitors travelling to the country for business purposes may acquire a Business purpose ETA or visa from Sri Lankan diplomatic missions prior to their visit.
- All persons entering the country are required to have a passport valid for 6 months.