Chennai has a beautiful Armenian church - and a woefully derelict Armenian cemetery. The church on Armenian Street in Georgetown dates back to the eighteenth century, and the gate bears the date 1712. I imagine it was when the land immediately surrounding the church could take no more burials that a new plot was found for use as a graveyard.
The burial ground is hard to find - and not all that easy to enter. You have to gently remove a sheet of corrugated iron to gain access - the gates themselves are simply an obstacle not an entrance.
This is just off the appropriately named Burial Ground Road in Island, not too far from the similarly forlorn St Mary's cemetery. The date over the gateway, or what's left of it, reads 1862. The most recent interment was a little over a decade ago.
Some of the graves are not in good shape and there's little sign of any care or attention. Parts of the burial ground have been used as a rubbish tip. It's all a little tawdry.
Casting around the cemetery, I was alarmed to spot what I at first took to be a body wrapped in a shroud on top of one of the graves. Eeek!
Happily, it turned out to be a local lad who had chosen the spot to have a kip. He was awakened from his mid-morning slumbers by (I imagine) his mother.
Either that, or it was another resurrection!
And the cemetery you can see beyond the railings? That, I was told, belongs to St Andrew's - I assume the Scottish-foundation Kirk in Egmore. It seems to be much better cared for.
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