Just behind the Temple of the Tooth is a typical relic from the island’s British colonial days. It is only a short walk uphill behind the National Museum, here will also be a signpost saying “Cemetery Road”. The Kandy Garrison Cemetery holds the graves of almost 200 British citizens from the early 19th century. The Garrison Cemetery was opened in 1822, when Kandy had been integrated into the British Empire for only a few years. It was closed in the 1870’s due to a lack of space. The cemetery was restored recently and is now maintained on donations of “The Friends of the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy”.
Reading the English inscriptions on the weathered tombstones you will find out that many of the persons buried here died rather young, already in their twenties. As the name “Garrison Cemetry” implies, most of them were soldiers, they were victims of sunstrokes, malaria or of a cholera epidemic. You also find many graves of women. Only some of the tombs are nameless, showing just initials. A small museum in the cemetery premises also contains information on the deceaced buried here. The most famous one is Sir John D’Oyly at grave No. 11, who was responsible for drafting the Kandyan Convention in 1815, which resulted in the British takeover of the Kandy kingdom. John Spottiswood Robertson buried in tomb No. 66 is Sri Lanka`s last recorded death of a foreigner killed by a wild elephant.
location of the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy
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