If you’re going to bury someone above ground, the container should probably be both secure and reverent. This knowledge seems to be almost instinctive, as ornate tombs and mausoleums can be found sheltering bodies above the surface in cemeteries from New Orleans to Timbuktu. The most famous of these tombs are clearly the great pyramids of Egypt, but other examples of respectful celebration through decoration are found the world over.
The Chaukhandi Tombs near Karachi, Pakistan are a unique example of such burials. Buried south to north – unusual for the area and time period – these tombs are constructed out of huge sandstone slabs, which are delicately stacked into a finessed pyramid shape. The slabs were then clearly painstakingly carved with intricate patterns, drawings and relatable scenes.
Built between the 15th and 18th centuries, the Chaukhandi Tombs now form a remarkably well-preserved necropolis that often attracts curious visitors and archeologists alike, but the area is not without foreboding legends.
Beyond the elaborate decoration of the tombs, another feature the tombs seem to share with similar necropoli around the world is the conviction locals tend to have that the area is haunted. The tombs at Chaukhandi are renowned for being one of the most haunted sites in the region, and visitors are particularly warned against entering the graveyard at night.
Avoiding the tombs at night isn’t bad advice, haunting or otherwise, because the details and drawings on these fascinating artifices are clearly best experienced in the broad light of day. A fact for which many visitors are likely very thankful.