Bimilipatnam: The real Dutch cemetery, 2020

In February 2020 I finally found the only and real Dutch Cemetery in Bheemunipatnam. It is not the one that the Indian tourist agencies advertise. That in fact is the Dutch /Flagstaff cemetery on the Beach road that I documented last year (add link).

The real Dutch cemetery in Bimilipatan

I had to visit the St Peters church and two other cemeteries. At the last one I showed a picture from my site to two boys with a motorcycle. They guided the driver who I booked for the day to the right place. One of the guys continues on his motor fetching a key from somewhere. The Dutch Cemetery has a sign board saying that it was operational from 1661 until 1826. It has been put up by the District Tourism Promotion Council of Vaisakhapatnam.

It is since 1999 under protection as a declared monument under the Andhra Pradesh Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archeological Sites and remains Act of 1960. During the cause of the years the cemetery was buried under silt from the stream flowing from the hillock nearby and had been abandoned for years. The silt was found to be 4 1/2 feet above the original ground level.

Local guy who helped me

This cemetery was restored in 1995 by Samuel Roberts under the aegis of the St. Peter’s Church, Bheemunipatnam. The church where I started earlier today. And with aid from the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia. This cemetery has 39 graves, of which 15 are with stone capping and inscriptions and incised inscriptions in Dutch. “The gravestones whisper to us from the past. Step quietly and respectfully among these graves; it is a memorial for those who have gone long before us”. That is exactly what I did while taking pictures.

Outside there is an information board from the Visakhapatnam District Tourist Promotion Board. It has the same text as on boards from the Archeological Survey of India: this is an archeological monument under law, don’t touch it, you’ll be punished. I hope this helps preserve this shared heritage that the Indian media seem to have forgotten.

A baby of just three months….
Dutch tombstones in Bimilipatnam
And more
An info board outside the Dutch cemetery