Perhaps, you have never heard of people who
thought like this strange ideas, but this was
precisely how the people, who built Chowkundi
Tombs, did. They built magnificent tombs and spent
their life-long earnings on them, but hardly ever
planned their living quarters with the same care
"There is no need of cities and towns
either. Nothing, but graves. Graves to house their
remains after death: Beautiful, ornate and lasting".
There is hardly any trace of their residential
quarters today but, even after centuries, their
tombs and graveyards continue to cast their solemn
shadows across these vast stretches of wasteland.
Four miles around the site known as Chowkundi
Tombs, there are no traces or remains of any
ancient human settlement or habitation. Eighteen
miles from Karachi, on Karachi-Thatta Highway,
this grave yard had already been there for ages,
when Karachi was non-existent.
Similar in the case of other such cities, of which
there are no more than 20 in Sind and Baluchistan.
Normally, graveyards are adjunct to cities or
towns, but here the case is different. That is the
whole essence of the mystery of Chowkundi site and
others of this kind.
In inviting attention to this treasure of
art, one need not march into the corridors of
history or fly into the labyrinths of legends. It
stands on its own merits. The site presents beauty
of design, patter and craftsmanship of days gone
by, so perfectly well-preserved even after
hundreds of years.
Thousands of charcoal and crayon rubbings of the
motifs of these tombs have been flown to Europe
and America by great number of foreign visitors as
gifts. This testifies to the appeal the excellence
of designs make on the minds of Western
In fact, Chowkundi is one of the most beautiful
ancient sites in Pakistan. Craftsmen, who built
tombs and carved and engraved them were remarkable
for their sense of beauty and their devotion to
their rich, inherited art. Not one, two or three,
but hundreds of tombs, built of angular stone
slabs placed one upon another and tapering
upwards, like the tombs of Cyrus in Iranian Valley
or Murghan, can be seen here at Chowkundi.
These tombs appeal to the aesthetic sense of the
visitor from the monument he sees these golden
sandstone slabs, beautified by art and
craftsmanship. And for curious mind, they offer
lot of material to observe and reflect upon. The
encrusted superficial layers could be scratched to
perhaps establish some very interesting facts. The
obvious impression, which one gets is that no poor
people could have afforded such splendors.
There a myriad types of floral patterns and
geometrical designs, carved out in the huge slabs
of stone with such supreme craftsmanship and
precision as if done on silk. The best specimens
of line and form, tombs present at intricate
network of various patterns, incorporating
triangles, rectangles, squares and circles,
forming well-balanced and charming symmetrical
designs. Patterns, resembling lotuses and
sunflowers, profusely adorn the designs. Some of
the tombs, also, have verses from Koran.
Prominent crown-like figures on the tomb
immediately distinguish tombs of men from those of
women, which are flat-topped. Their patterns also
differ. Sword and shield, bow and arrow, flying
horse rider and similar item symbolizing courage
and bravery adorn men's tombs; but women's tombs
have patterns and designs of delicate and
beautiful ornaments, such as necklaces, earrings,
rings "kangans" and "jhumkas"
Inviting and enchanting, Chowkundi whispers
mysteries of past and seems ever ready to disclose
its secrets to the discerning, imaginative mind.
For the lovers of art and crafts, as well as
antiquarians and archaeologists, tombs are of
special interest. Here, poet's mind conjures up
the lives of those master craftsmen, who have left
the mark of their skill on these tombs, as well as
those who lie buried beneath them.