Bhawany Tombs

by Ameer Hamza, Apr 6, 2006 | Destinations: Pakistan / Sindh

Bhawany graveyard is an enigmatic collection of tombs in Lasbela, Baluchistan. Nearly 8 Km from Hub Chowky on Makran coastal highway Bhawany tombs are a splendid sight for anyone who might be interested in ancient graveyards.

In some ways Bhawany tombs resemble other burial sites in Sindh like Makli, Chowkandi and Manghopir; in other respects they are unique.

The construction of these tombs is based on levels. The common height of graves varies from 6 to 8 feet; some even stand at 14 feet above ground. Just like at Chowkandi the Bhawany tombs have slabs of stones one above the other, which gets smaller as level increases. In this manner they form a pyramid structure. The designs are invariably floral or geometrical; figurative not being an acceptable design pattern in Islam.

By looking at these graves - especially the smaller ones - one cannot imagine that anybody can be buried inside. I think some of these graves use the "L" shaped technique of burial. This was in vogue during Holy Prophet's (PBUH) time; it may still be in use in some countries following the tradition of Prophet (PBUH). In this system, the body is lowered down and pushed inside, thus the "L" shape of the grave.

The locals don't know the origins of this graveyard nor they know about the tribe(s) that may be buried here. Author of various books and articles, Mr. Ali Ahmed K. Brohi, contends that they may be of a tribe known as Kalamtis. He has noted in his book The Temple of Sun god that the members of this tribe are presently living in the vicinity of Dabeji and Duereji.

Around this graveyard some pillars have been erected, perhaps to protect it from stray animals or humans. But these pillars have no fences, so the point of having an entrance is not understood. Another problem is that some graves have been sadly stripped of their stones. I found - and subsequently photographed - the tomb stones that are lying there besides the graves. Some have been used by locals to decorate their new graves. Government should request the locals that they don?t build new graves in this ancient graveyard. But awareness and funds are in short supply in Baluchistan. So is the willpower of Baluchistan government to implement these measures strictly. As a result we have yet another heritage rotting from the seams. And when Gawadar port is finally complete a continuous flow of human beings may well leave this graveyard a mere shadow of itself - if nothing is done today.

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This article first appeared as "Pyramids for posterity" on 23rd Dec, 2005 in Friday Times (Lahore weekly).

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