Kaudulla National park is a corridor for large number of elephant. That is most easily observed during the dry season, from June to October, as the herds come to drink and forage on the extensive grasslands exposed by the receding waters of the lake. The park surrounds the Kaudulla reservoir. The park is also situated on an elephant migratory path (an Elephant corridor), which makes this park even more interesting. Kaudulla National Park can be reached from either Habarana – Trinco road or Habarana – Minneriya Road. Best time to see Elephants in park is the early morning and late evening. Herds of elephants become a common site on the dried lakebed during this time of the day.
Kaudulla was declared a National Park in April 1, 2002 by the Sri Lankan government. This is a unique national park in the sense that the two thirds of the Kaudulla National Park is under water during several months of the year.
Many plant and grass species grow well during the rainy season whilst an abundance of food and water, even in the dry period, attracts a large number of herbivorous mammals to the park. The faunal species recorded in the park include 24 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 160 species of bird. During the safari, good chance for the visitors getting up close and personal with elephant. In October there are up to 250 elephants in the park, including herds of juvenile males. There are also leopards, fishing cats, sambar deer, endangered rusty spotted cats and sloth bears. Large water birds such as spot-billed pelican and lesser adjutant visit the Kaudulla tank. Fish species in the tank include the freshwater Oreochromis mossambicus. Fejervarya pulla is an endemic amphibian to Sri Lanka that inhabits the National Park. Freshwater turtles, Indian flap-shelled turtle and Indian black turtle are the noteworthy reptiles. The park is also known for its many crocodiles.
The Kaudulla reservoir was built by Queen Bisobandara (sister of King Mahasen) in the 3rd century. It has behind famous folklore. The people of this are who has identified King Mahasen as deity “Mahasen deviyo” Sister of the King Mahasen, she married a person after she was banned from the palace and the newly married couple went off and established a small farming village around Kaudulla. In the meantime, King Mahasena build massive tank and well planed irrigation system when is support the agriculture of the area. . To carry this enormous amount of water, he had to build an extra long dam. To protect this dam from breaking up by the force of the water the king was asked to make a human sacrifice to the demons/gods that protected dam. The king hearing that his sister has given birth to a son, ordered the chief minister to sacrifice this infant on the gods. But the minister sacrificed a goat instead of the baby and informed the king that the scarification is complete. The king satisfied, built and completed one of the largest man made tanks in that time.
On the day he was to ceremonially open the floodgates; he started regretting his decision to sacrifice his own nephew. The chief minister then informed the king that indeed infant prince is still alive. The king thrilled at the news ordered his ministers to bring his sister to the tank to show his marvelous creation and to share the joy. The sister was then escorted and was shown this gigantic tank by his brother. Then sister laughed and told the king that she too has been busy and requested the king to follow her to show what she has been up to. The princess took her brother to a new tank, which she had built with the villagers, which was even larger than the Minneriya. This tank is what we now know as Kaudulla Tank .The famous Medirigiriya temple complex and archaeological reserve are only 3 km the lake bund of the Kaudulla reservoir.