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The British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

The British Garrison Cemetery, Kandy Sri Lanka.

Sorry it’s taken me so long to write this post.

I promised I’d write it because I wanted to share this place with you, it’s a “free thing to do in Kandy“, I already mentioned it briefy in that post, but I wanted to tell you a little more about it. It was a special experience visiting the cemetery, a glimpse into the past brought to life by a young guide. His name was Harsha, I wrote it down.

Kandy Sri Lanka visit cemetary

The British Garrison Cemetary is on the far side of Kandy Lake, past the Temple of the Tooth and a short walk up the hill.

This simple plot of land is the final resting place of many men, women, and children from Colonial days, they died between 1822 and 1870. (This is when the cemetery closed, relatives of those already buried there were still admitted after that date.)

Life was hard back then, few of these Europeans had a long lifespans or even made it it to retirement.

 Colonial Cemetery Sri Lanka

As we wandered around the tombs, reading inscriptions and checking dates, Harsha, previously busy sweeping, approached us and started telling us more about the cemetery. Not only could he make out the words, many obscured by time, but he had memorised the inscriptions and dates of every one of the 195 headstones, tablets, obelisks and columns in the graveyard. An impressive feat, and one worthy of a tip and a donation.

Burial Sri Lanka Garrison K

Among the inscriptions we found snapshots of life in those days. Young men killed by wild elephants and in horse related accidents, women and children brought down by fever, a sad number of infants who never saw their first birthdays.

The Cemetary is preserved by volunteers, maintenance costs are covered by the UK Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It’s not a big ticket attraction, but if you’re in Kandy it’s well worth a stroll around the lake to find this little piece of Sri Lanka’s colonial past.

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Buddhika Athukorala

Thursday 29th of April 2021

I admired British rulers works, they are neat and deciplined. You have done tremendous works to our country, thank you


Tuesday 20th of January 2015

Hi Alyson,

We just left Kandy this morning after 5 smashing days there. We went to the cemetery yesterday morning and about half way round, we were approached by Harsha. I told him I'd read about him on your blog and showed it to him on my phone, he was over the moon :-). I took a picture of him for you. Will email it to you now. We're just 2 weeks in to a 7 month round the world adventure. Your blog was a huge inspiration, thanks! Cara


Tuesday 20th of January 2015

Oh that's wonderful, thanks!!!

Ryan Biddulph

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

Amazing that Harsha memorized all of that information! Quite stunning really. Being killed by wild elephants I garner is not a fun way to go. My girlfriend visited Kandy 2 years ago; I just chilled in Colombo during the same time. Loved Sri Lanka. Gritty, fun and a pretty spot.

Thanks so much for sharing the neat story and fascinating pictures with us!



Wednesday 14th of January 2015

Isn't it Ryan, he was really nice too, typical of Sri Lankans, gorgeous people. I have a photo here of him and his address to send it to, but of course, we don't have a printer, I really must send it.

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