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Commonwealth War Cemetery Kandy

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

7JJ5+P85, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Opening Hours

7:00 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Krishan
Local tour guide
"Visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kandy early in the morning or late in the afternoon for a peaceful experience, as these times are quieter and the light is particularly beautiful for photographs. Remember to walk to the far corner of the cemetery to find the graves of the unknown soldiers, where you can enjoy a moment of solitude away from the main paths that most visitors use."

What is Commonwealth War Cemetery?

The Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kandy is a solemn place of remembrance, nestled amid the tranquil hills of central Sri Lanka. It's a final resting place for the brave men and women from the Commonwealth nations who sacrificed their lives during World War II. Unlike many such memorials and cemeteries, this one is notable for its meticulous upkeep and the peaceful ambiance that characterizes the locale, which seems worlds away from the conflict it commemorates.

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Those who come across it may be surprised to find such a site in Kandy—a city more widely known for its historical and cultural significance. As you walk through the neatly aligned rows of gravestones carved with names from foreign lands, a palpable sense of history accompanies you. There's a poignant blend of the local serenity and a respectful tribute to faraway homelands that stayed with these soldiers to the very end.

History of Commonwealth War Cemetery

The history of the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kandy is deeply interconnected with Sri Lanka's role in World War II, back when the island was known as Ceylon. Ceylon played a strategic role in the war as part of the British Empire, serving as a naval and air force base. Soldiers from various Commonwealth countries, who were stationed in or passed through Ceylon, and those who fought in the surrounding regions, are buried here.

Originally, this was the site of the Kandy civil cemetery, but the space was chosen to serve as a military cemetery as the war unfolded. The cemetery we see today was established post-war and serves as a consolidation of several smaller burial sites from across the island. It marks the sacrifices of service members from countries such as the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Australia, Africa, and New Zealand. It's also notable for its inclusion of graves of various faiths, reflecting the diverse composition of the Commonwealth forces.

Why is Commonwealth War Cemetery Important?

The Commonwealth War Cemetery holds importance for a multitude of reasons, not least its role as a keeper of history and a symbol of peace and sacrifice. It is one of the many war cemeteries overseen by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, charged with conveying the scale of sacrifice performed by the Commonwealth in the war. Moreover, for the families and descendants of those who lie here, it's a poignant overseas connection to their forebears.

Moreover, it's important for its educational value. It introduces locals and travelers alike to the complex layers of Sri Lanka's involvement in global events during the early 20th century. The cemetery stands as a testament to the shared history and cooperation among different nations, cultures, and ethnicities, all united in a common effort during a time of world strife. In the serene setting of Kandy, it serves as a bridge between past conflicts and present peace.

Things to Do & See at Commonwealth War Cemetery

While visiting the Commonwealth War Cemetery, the primary activity is to pay respect to those who have fallen. Each gravestone tells a story: the inscriptions, ranks, regimental badges, and religious symbols all convey the diversity and personal tales of the soldiers. I recommend taking a quiet, reflective walk among the graves, reading the inscriptions, and considering the human stories behind the neat text carved into stone.

Additionally, the cemetery's carefully tended gardens are worth admiring. They are kept in excellent condition by the dedicated staff—a beautiful fusion of Sri Lankan flora and memorial landscaping. It's also possible to spot some of Kandy's diverse birdlife within the tranquility of the cemetery grounds. Photography is permissible, though it should be done in a manner respectful to the site's somber nature. Remember, while it's a place of historical interest, it's also a site of deep personal significance for many.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kandy?

The Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kandy is a military cemetery for soldiers of the Commonwealth nations who died during World War II. It is located in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and is well-maintained as a serene place of remembrance.

How many graves are there in the Commonwealth War Cemetery?

The Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kandy is home to several hundred graves, each marking the final resting place of soldiers from Commonwealth nations who fought in the Second World War.

Can visitors access the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kandy?

Yes, visitors can access the Commonwealth War Cemetery. It is open to the public, allowing people to pay their respects and learn more about the history associated with the site.

Are there any guided tours available at the Commonwealth War Cemetery?

Guided tours may be available at the Commonwealth War Cemetery. Visitors are advised to check with local tour operators or contact the cemetery's administration for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

What is the significance of the Commonwealth War Cemetery to Kandy's history?

The Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kandy serves as a historical site that reflects the impact of World War II on Sri Lanka and the contribution of Commonwealth soldiers. It is a place of historical significance and a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made during the war.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

7JJ5+P85, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Opening Hours

7:00 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps