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.
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.
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.
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.