Image: This Sri Lankan Girl
The British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy is not a difficult place to find. It is located along a short drive uphill, adjoining the National Museum of Kandy at the North end of the Kandy Lake. The Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth), the old Courts complex, St. Paul’s Church, and the Queen’s Hotel, all these important places are located nearby. In their midst, nestled against a hillside, lies the British Garrison Cemetery, almost forgotten.
It was a rectangular piece of land shadowed by hills and overlooking the Kandy Lake. On its boundaries, tall wild grass grows. Flowers can be spotted here and there. It is the resting place of many British and European people from Sri Lanka’s colonial era. From its establishment in 1822 it tells the world, the names and dates of demise of those Europeans who died in Kandy and its vicinity.
Walking around the graves and reading the names and ages of the people entombed within, it’s impossible not to imagine their lives. Most of them resting here died young, victims of malaria, war or cholera. 23 years of life seemed to be about the average; you will see only one man, a doctor, who made it past 50. It was mostly soldiers, but infants and women are sleeping their last, here as well. In this calm place you will keep picturing their lives.