About Chaukundi

While travelling on the national highway, 17 miles from Karachi, one can see clusters of unusual graves in the shape of stepped rectangles. Built between the 15th and 19th centuries by Balochis and Burpats the tombs are of various sizes and designs but fall into two basic types. One which support roofs on pillars while other which consist of solid oblong pyramids standing two to four meters high and competely covered with finely carved geometric designs. The stone of these graves are exquisitely carved in relief with intricate motifs. The small rosette is a frequent motif that may have some forgotten connection with pre-islamic sun-worship, as may the sunflowers wheels and chrysanthemums, which also suggest the sun. Squares, diamonds, triangles, zigzags and crosses are also used in every possible combination.

Chaukundi means four cornered and thus the site became famously known as chaukundi. The distinguishing feature of these graves is the superb carving and engraving on the slabs with various designs of jewelry; floral patterns, horses and even their riders. The tomb slab of a woman's grave is embellished with designs of jewelry, necklace, earrings and rings resembling those still worn today. The men's graves bears stylised stone turban on top, carvings of weapons of war or animal heads, horses and riders. This design may have originated in the Rajput custom of temporarily burrying a fallen soldier in the battlefield and marking his grave with his upright sword crowned with his turban.