British Garrison Cemetery – Kandy


The British Garrison Cemetery is found in the centre of the city of Kandy, opposite the Sri Dalada Maligawa. The conclusive resting place for many colonial-era British officials and their families is one of the several cemeteries in the entire of Sri Lanka that is solely devoted to foreigners who passed away on the land. It was built in 1817 and was formally terminated for burials in 1873. Although, the cemetery was repaired in 1998 and is now maintained by a private group of British individuals. Indeed, a walk through the graveyard accompanied by the caretaker can be a relatively exciting and insightful experience.

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History of the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy

The British Garrison Cemetery was established in Kandy in the early 19th century as a burial ground for British soldiers and their families who served in Sri Lanka during the colonial era. The cemetery was used from around 1817 until the early 20th century, and it is estimated that over 2000 people were interred here. The graveyard is picturesque on a hill overlooking Kandy Lake, with views of the surrounding mountains.

Notable Features of the Cemetery

The British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy has many notable features that make it a unique and interesting historical site. One of the most striking features is the variety of architectural styles used in the headstones and tombs. Many of the graves are marked with elaborate marble or granite headstones, while others have more modest markers made of wood or metal. In addition, some headstones are adorned with intricate carvings, such as crosses, flowers, or military insignia.

Another notable feature of the cemetery is the range of nationalities represented in the burials. While most of those interred were British soldiers and their families, there were also graves belonging to individuals from other European countries, such as Germany, France, and Italy. Additionally, there are graves of Sri Lankan individuals who served in the British military or worked in other capacities for the colonial administration.

Significance of the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy

The British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy is a tangible reminder of Sri Lanka's colonial past and the British's role in shaping the island's history. In addition, the cemetery provides insight into the lives of the soldiers and their families who served in Sri Lanka during this time. The epitaphs on the headstones often reveal details about their origins, professions, and relationships.

The cemetery also has a broader historical significance, a testament to the complex relationships between the colonizer and colonized. The British presence in Sri Lanka was marked by cooperation and conflict with local communities. The cemetery is a reminder of the human toll of these interactions.



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