Poignant Reminder of Sri Lanka’s colonial era
British Garrison Cemetery is a cemetery in Kandy which contains 195 graves of British nationals who died during the colonial times. It was established in 1817 just after British conquered Kandy and is located just behind the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The cemetery is presently maintained by a group called ‘The Friends of the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy’ while the Diyawadana Nilame and the Chief Prelates maintain the land.
A highly informed caretaker will show you around the cemetery and share the story of each person buried there. You will be surprised to note the young ages of the people buried there who are mostly soldiers. According to historical records the most common causes of death were war or tropical diseases such as Malaria and Cholera. Some of the notable graves are that of the British colonial administrator Sir John D’Oyly , Lady Elizabeth Gregory, John Spottiswood Robertson who is the last European who was killed by wild elephants in Ceylon and William Robert Lyte.
Annie Fritz was the last person to be buried at the British Garrison Cemetery in 1951. The cemetery was closed in 1873 but special permission was granted to bury the relatives of those interred in the cemetery. The cemetery was restored in 1998.
The tombstones and well maintained grounds have attracted many tourists during the past few years. This beautiful and evocative cemetery is a perfect escape from the crowded Kandy city and a walk back to the ancient colonial days of Ceylon.