Elephants are revered in Sri Lanka . This is from the very beautiful Anarad temple . We even saw an Elephant being given a lift  from the Elephant sanctuary that we visited  near Kandy.
The elephant sanctuary was a place where old elephants that could no longer work could be retired and young orphaned elephants  could be cared for [05a] until they were old enough to be released into the wild. There were no physical barriers  between the elephants and the visitors, just a few mahouts (elephant trainers) standing around with large poles.
Everyday the elephants were taken for a bath  in the river to help them keep cool. They were obviously in a hurry to get in  and gave great entertainment to the watching crowds but were carefully supervised by their mahouts [09, 10].
Once the elephants were in the river , spectators could get quite close to them . When it was time to stop bathing and head back to the enclosures,  the elephants were led by one of the dominant females.
Down the hill from Kandy through the forests was the Minneriya National Park . Here we went on safari  (along with lots of other people! [16a]) to see elephants living in the wild .
We encountered a huge herd living by a lake and got very close to some of the animals when they approached us . Down by another arm of the lake  was a huge herd of buffalo and various birds, including pelicans, great egret, sacred ibis and storks . As dusk began to fall, it was time to leave the park  and follow the caravan of departing vehicles  out of the park through the thorn scrub that shielded the open savannah .