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Kandy Garrison Cemetery

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Hemamali Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Krishan
Local tour guide
"Visit the Kandy Garrison Cemetery around mid-morning to avoid the heat and to have a chance to meet the knowledgeable caretaker who often provides impromptu tours; they’re a treasure trove of stories about the people buried there. Also, try to find the gravesite of Sir John D'Oyly — a key figure in Kandyan history — it's less frequented but has a fascinating backstory that encapsulates a pivotal era in Sri Lanka's colonial past."

What is Kandy Garrison Cemetery?

Kandy Garrison Cemetery is a fascinating and somewhat introspective place, nestled among the natural beauty of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It's a historic British cemetery, primarily used in the 19th century, and stands as a testament to the era of colonial rule in what was then known as Ceylon. While it might sound a touch morbid, this cemetery provides a wealth of historical insight. It's not merely a final resting place for the British nationals who lived in Kandy during colonial times, but a narrative woven into the fabric of Kandy's diverse and complex history.

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Today, as you walk among the well-tended graves, you'll notice the deeply engraved names and epitaphs that hint at extraordinary personal stories, far from their homeland. Managed with care and offering a peaceful respite from the city's bustle, the Kandy Garrison Cemetery is often overlooked in favour of more mainstream attractions. But for those with a keen interest in history and the poignant tales of bygone eras, it's a must-visit destination.

History of Kandy Garrison Cemetery

The Kandy Garrison Cemetery was established in the early 19th century, following the British capture of Kandy in 1815. Kandy was the last kingdom to fall under British rule in Sri Lanka, marking the full consolidation of their control over the island. The cemetery was designated for the British nationals who succumbed to diseases like malaria and the complications of the tropical climate, far removed from their native weather of England. It also includes the graves of those who passed away from other causes, such as accidents or during childbirth.

Importantly, there's Charles Henry de Soysa, a prominent philanthropist and entrepreneur, who contributed notably to Sri Lankan society. His grave, along with many others in the cemetery, tells histories not just of personal lives but of the socio-economic circumstances of the time. One famous personage buried here is Sir John D'Oyly, Baronet of Kandy, who played a pivotal role as a British official in the dealings with the Kandyan chieftains and ruler; his tombstone still stands today.

Over the years, the graveyard fell into disrepair but was later resurrected by enthusiasts and has been meticulously maintained ever since. A caretaker, often a knowledgeable local, can be found on-site, eager to recount the life stories of those interred within this historical ground.

Why is Kandy Garrison Cemetery Important?

Kandy Garrison Cemetery is significant for multiple reasons, both historical and cultural. For one, it serves as a lingering fingerprint of British imperialism in Sri Lanka, which you'll notice is deeply intertwined with Kandy's storied past. Through the narratives etched onto each tombstone, we uncover stories of individual struggles, cultural integration, and the harsh realities of colonial life in a tropical country.

From a historical point of view, the cemetery encapsulates pivotal moments in Sri Lanka's colonial history and allows us glimpses into the lives of those who shaped, and were shaped by, these times. These personal stories help to humanize the broader political and historical narratives, giving them complexity and depth. Many of the individuals buried here contributed substantially to the development and modernization of the city, making their final resting places markers of not just death, but of life and legacy, too.

The significance of Kandy Garrison Cemetery also lies in its educational value. It acts as an outdoor museum and a guardian of anecdotes that have succumbed to the shadows of time. Understanding the cemetery's importance helps us appreciate the diverse fabric of Kandy's history and the many layers of stories that lie beneath the city's modern exterior.

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Things to Do & See at Kandy Garrison Cemetery

When visiting Kandy Garrison Cemetery, take your time to stroll among the graves – each one tells a different story. You can see the carefully carved inscriptions and epitaphs that reveal the deceased's age, occupation, and the hardships they faced. The calm and verdant surroundings are conducive to reflection upon the impermanence of life and the resilience of the human spirit.

Make sure to connect with the caretaker, who can provide immense depth to your visit. The caretaker's stories breathe life into the names and dates you'll encounter, and you might just be privy to details most passersby never hear about. The care with which the site is maintained is impressive, and the dedication of those who look after it is evident.

Photography enthusiasts will find the cemetery a poignant place to capture; the backdrop of ancient trees and the touching sentiment behind each grave make for compelling frames. And for the history buffs, this is an ideal place to quietly contend with the nuances of Sri Lanka's colonial period, away from the clatter of mainstream tourist sites. It's truly a unique place, offering a combination of solemnity, beauty, and historical enrichment not found elsewhere in Kandy.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Kandy Garrison Cemetery?

The Kandy Garrison Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in Kandy, Sri Lanka, which was used during the British colonial period to bury British nationals and other non-native individuals.

Where is the Kandy Garrison Cemetery located?

The Kandy Garrison Cemetery is situated in Kandy, within close proximity to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world.

Who is buried at the Kandy Garrison Cemetery?

The cemetery contains the graves of British nationals, including soldiers, administrators, and their families, who lived and died in Kandy during the colonial period.

Can visitors access the Kandy Garrison Cemetery?

Yes, visitors can access the Kandy Garrison Cemetery. It is often open to the public and serves as a historical site that provides insight into the colonial history of Kandy and Sri Lanka.

What can visitors learn from visiting the Kandy Garrison Cemetery?

Visitors to the Kandy Garrison Cemetery can learn about the colonial history of Sri Lanka, the lives of British nationals during that time, and the relationships between the British and Sri Lankans through the epitaphs and the layout of the cemetery.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Hemamali Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps