Bhawalpur is a city located in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Bahawalpur is the 12th largest city in Pakistan with an estimated population of 798,509. The city also lies near the ancient Derawar Fort in the Cholistan Desert near the border with India and serves as the gateway to Pakistan’s Lal Suhanra National Park.
Bahawalpur was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur ruled by Nawabs. The Nawabs of Bahawalpur were regarded as part of the Rajputana States, the majority of which now form the bulk of the neighboring Indian state of Rajasthan.
The climate here is “desert.” During the year, there is virtually no rainfall in Bahawalpur. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as BWh. The average annual temperature is 25.7 °C in Bahawalpur.
Derawar Fort is located 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Bahawalpur, Pakistan. This stronghold is the largest and most magnificently sustained fortress of Cholistan. It is a square fort and each wall is 204.8 meters (672 feet) in length, vertically 30 meters (98.4 feet) high, and the total circumference of its walls is 1500 meters (4921.5 feet). The gate of the fortress is on its southern side and is reached by a winding ramp. Most of the bastions of the fort present geometric designs made of burnt bricks. The strong fort standing over the semi-desert is visible from miles around. Hindu Rajput, Rai Jajja Bhati of Jaisalmer was the one who initially built a fort on this sight. The fort remained under the control of the royal family of Jaisalmer until 1733 A.D, when, nawabs of Bahawalpur captured this fort. It was then completely rebuilt under the supervision of the Nawab. The fort was lost at the hands of Abbasis owing to Bahawal Khan’s preoccupation at Shikarpur. In 1804 A.D., the stronghold was taken aback by Nawab Mubarik Khan.
Inside Derawar Fort a number of buildings provided quarters for Nawab’s army. Quarters of the royal family standing deserted inside the fort are turning to dust. There are shrines of four pious Muslims near Derawar Fort. The Derawar Mosque having four minarets and three domes is exact replica of the Moti Mosque at Red Fort Dehli and was built in 1844 A.D.
Noor Mahal (Noor Palace)
Noor Mahal (Noor Palace) is a palace located in Bahawalpur, Pakistan. Built in 1875 AD, the palace is nearly one hundred and fifty years old, and, is the most recent monument in Punjab to be notified under the Antiquities Act. The state of Bahawalpur was merged with Pakistan in 1956 AD and control of the palace was given to Dep. of Auqaf under the Antiquities Act. It was locked under a judicial order but not before most of its rich holdings were smuggled out. Its furniture, carpets, paintings, and crockery were sold almost all over the country.
Pakistan Army took responsibility for the palace in 1999 and helped to restore and preserve the building in its original shape. The building was declared a “protected monument” in September 2001 by the Government of Pakistan’s Department of Archeology. Currently department of Archeology is responsible for looking after the palace and they have opened it for the general public, students, delegations, and visitors from other countries.