Kandy is home to several important Christian establishments, including two great churches, a seminary, and the moving Commonwealth War Graves.
The 1846 Anglian Church of St Paul’s Kandy was most unusually built with terracotta bricks that have now weathered to a red-ochre hue, protected by a boundary wall and two entrance gates of wrought iron fabricated far away in Edwardian England. Its magnificent 1874 stained glass window was a gift from a planter’s widow and depicts the Crucifixion, the Ascension, the Angel in the Tomb and the Nativity. Its wonderful pipe organ was donated by Muslim businessmen in Branford, and its silver-gilt communion set gifted by the King of England.
The Catholic St Anthony’s Cathedral dates a little later. "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God," says the very inclusive current Bishop of Kandy. His splendid neo-Georgian Cathedral was built in 1875 with sturdy Victorian passion and is run by the Benedictine mission.
A little later followed the great Catholic Seminary at Ampitiya where a tall silver statue of Our Lady of Lanka greets you when you arrive. The Seminary is a beautiful compound of old buildings, even older trees, and youthful priests, and sits two thousand feet above sea level. It was set up in 1899 on the orders of Pope Leo XII, one of the more enlightened acts from a pope better known for a cheerless and calamitous reign and whose idea of R&R was to shoot birds and, on occasion, an argumentative peasant.
Beyond the wrought iron gates of Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, are the beautiful manicured lawns and flawlessly maintained graves of one hundred and seven British soldiers, thirty five East Africans, twenty six Sri Lankans, twenty three Indians, six Canadians, three Italians, a Frenchman and two who are unidentified.