Just 11 km from Polonnaruwa on the A 11 road is a nature and bird sanctuary on two ancient lakes – Giritale and Minneriya. Both locations are nature destinations by ancient tanks, wild life and farming communities. The focal point of Giritale is this ancient tank constructed in early 7th century. The original walls of the bund can still be seen in certain places. The road skirts along its shore passing guest houses and hotels which are just off the main road overlooking the tank in beautiful settings.
The tank is now the centre of a natural reserve which has been upgraded to a National Park because of its popularity with visitors seeking elephants. It is located in the centre of the Cultural Triangle and provides an exciting experience to those wishing to explore nature and wild life. Elephants can sometimes be seen beside the main road by the side of the tank.
One can reach Giritale from Dambulla via Minneriya or from Polonnaruwa. Giritale can make a convenient base for Polonnaruwa and for visiting nearby national parks, Wasgamuwa National Park and Kaudulla National Park.