Saturday, February 25, 2012

Looking forward to visiting Cemetery

Yes! I was looking forward to visiting this particular cemetery than the visit to Dalida Maligawa - the tooth relic temple at Kandy.

I faintly remembered reading about an old cemetery behind the temple complex. The British Garrison Cemetery lies just behind the world famous Temple of Tooth Relic. I got acquainted with the  Kandy National Museum caretaker. He was surprised when I asked him the way to this cemetery; I think it was unusual for a foreign visitor to show interest in a cemetery than the temple. He showed us the way and walked with us. There it was, nestling below the udawatta forest behind the temple; a worn out sign post that could be easily missed, a short climb among houses and you find the entrance.

This colonial graveyard seems forgotten; the temple being the place where the action and swarm of visitors are. True; there was complete silence in there. No breeze, no chirps, no one to talk to; old and beaten tombstones of myriad designs and stories to tell. Then, a thin frail man appeared from nowhere - it was straight out of a ghost story. He gave some insights - the cemetery was open from 1822 to mid 1850s; in these graves were British men, women and children who succumbed to heat, malaria, cholera. I recall seeing graves of many women and children; average age at 30s. It was sad to see women and children having come all the way from a far away land only to die at young age; to learn how alien the tropical climate diseases were. Never to return to their home; at sleep peacefully.The graves are ornate, well preserved and the stories are rich - story of an officer who was killed by a wild elephant, stories of bravery and tragedy

I did not ask for the chap's name who just came out of nowhere. His English was impeccable; accented. I doubt if he was a Sri Lankan. I was busy clicking photos of the tombs; never once did I think of taking his picture. Now it seems I should have. If I am not wrong; I think I talked to the caretaker who has been mentioned all around the internet by visitors to the cemetery.

Its a must-visit; I did not think I would have ever recommended a cemetery as tourist attraction but this is a sure visit.

Silent and tranquil

Eerie? No it did not feel so. I loved the details on this tomb.


A Stupa atop the hill. Peace we say? No. The cemetery is 'higher' than the Tooth Relic temple. This stupa seems to be a temporary solution to keep the cemetery at a lower level; so is under threat of being moved to a different place. 



This was the biggest of all. - Epitaph reads Sir John Doily Bary 1774 -1824. He was a colonial administrator and was responsible for drafting Kandyan Convention of 1815; which resulted in the British takeover of the Kandyan kingdom. Oh yeah! just behind the compounded wall was a dog soaked in its afternoon siesta :-)

25 comments:

  1. “The cemeteries are filled with people who thought the world couldn't get along without them."
    Your Pics B are getting better. The Post picture, and the blurred back ground image of the "eerie Tombstone",

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anil. I am doing experiments. Though I must admit I struggled during my SL trip. The lens's aperture unit was broke; dont know how it happened. It was tough for me to adjust light and get a clean frame with that broken piece moving around.

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  2. Very rich look at the cemetry. I loved the 2nd pic with the zoom burst effect!

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    Replies
    1. Isnt it royal? Thanks Vaish; I really liked that pattern on the tomb.

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  3. I commented earlier on this post. :(

    I also want to visit a cemetery only if somebody would accompany me. :(
    Love your travelogues. More places for me to visit in the future. :)

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    Replies
    1. Oh! spooky! :P

      Hahaha trust me! cemeteries are the safest and calmest place. I visit a cemetery in Bangalore every now and then :)

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  4. Great history, B! The first photo of the blog is superb! In the rest of the pictures, I can see that your are exploring the possibilities of your camera. The snag with travel photography is that the output depends on many factors such and time and season and available light. You could do with some improvement in composition. Always check out different angles - other than the conventional stance.

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    Replies
    1. Balan,

      Thank you. I agree Balan. Travel photography is a fine balance between what you want to 'experience' and what you want for 'memory'. If you concentrate too much on taking pictures; you forget to experience the live moment there :) I just try to balance and miss out on one of the two

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  5. I visited one such cemetry of mostly Britishers in a small town of Kumauon hills and the feeling was strange .I also met some people who had come all way from UK to visit the graves of their ancestors .Every grave had a story to tell.Your second picture is spooky and that thin frail man sounds mysteriou.
    Great header .

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    Replies
    1. Kavita,

      Yup, these cemetery also get lots of visitors to pay respect to their ancestors.

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  6. It hardly it could a tourist attraction.I would find it very scary,unfortunately.

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  7. Thank you for showing me a new place, and you know this may sound weird but i do visit cemetry , I beleive thats where we all have to go so whats so spooky about it .. end of the day thats going ot be the place where we will rest for ever ever and ever more than what we have lived ..

    beautiful pics :) thank you
    Bikram's

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    Replies
    1. Bik,

      My pleasure always :) Yeah cemetery is calm and serene.. Its a place which helps introspect yourself. Glad you liked the pictures.

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  8. Noted... cemetery visit in Sri Lanka!
    Wonderful clicks... especially the 2nd one!!

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    Replies
    1. Shilpa,

      Do NOT forget :) Thank you

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  9. Cemetery - I don't think I would mind visiting one. Never gave it a thought though.

    I used to see one back in Umbergaon as we used to pass by that while going to the school. Never thought of visiting that place.

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    Replies
    1. Neha, :-) Yeah, its not a usual place, isnt it?

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  10. I never visited a cemetry and never thought i can be so beautiful like your pictures. Nice clicks :)

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  11. Thanks neha. Cemetery can give you some nice moments you know :)

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