Bahawalpur – Punjab Pakistan
Bahawalpur is said to be the 12th largest city of Pakistan and is situated in Punjab. It was recognized as the capital of a princely state after the Durrani Empire declined. This princely state was founded by Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan-II in the early nineteenth century. Later on, Bahawalpur was also given the status of a province. Bahawalpur city has been historically the hometown and hub of various different Nawabs and rulers of their times. In the United India, Bahawalpur was called the Rajputana State which is now Rajhistan in India.
The city is renowned for its many famous palaces which include the like of Noor Mahal, Darbar Mahal Sadiq Ghar Palace, as well as some more ancient Fort of Derawar located in the Cholistan Desert and bordering India. The city’s location itself has historical significance as it is situated near the historical and ancient city of Uch as well as close to Harappa, both of which used to be a stronghold of the Delhi Sultanate and Indus Valley Civilization respectively. The Bahawalpur city also boasts of the one of the very few natural safari parks that exists in Pakistan, the Lal Suhanra National Park.
Bahawalpur has been home to most of the kings and Nawabs so it is an important attraction for tourists, historians and archaeologists. These kings built palaces for themselves which are a major cause of tourist attraction. A major portion of Bahawalpur comprises of the Cholistan Desert i.e. around 15000 km2. It is located on the East of the city and extends into the Indian Thar Desert.
The Derawar Fort was the only fort with a permanent waterhole which indicates that it is from the time period of the Indus Valley Civilization. Due to less rainfall at that time, underground wells were made in order to maximize cultivation in the area. The water was drawn up by camels. And to protect these camel routes, three rows of forts were built starting from Phulra to Lera, from Rukhanpur to Islamgarh and from Bilcaner to Kapoo. Some of these forts were built in 1000 BC with walls of gypsum blocks and mud and have been destroyed and rebuilt many times.
Other pieces of antiques include a fort named as Munde Shahid which is located at a distance 50 km from Bahawalpur and Marot Fort. Marot Fort is famous for a place outside it named as ‘Baithak Mola Ali’
Further there are a number of palaces in the city, which are locally termed as Mahals. Some of the famous include Noor Mahal, Gulzar Mahal, Shimla Khoti and Darbar Mahal. One of the oldest gates called Farid Gate also remains intact and is now situated in the middle of a very busy market. This gate was the only way through which its rulers entered the city.
Also the Bahawalpur Museum and Bahawalpur Library are home to a wide compilation of medals, postage stamps, coins of the former state. They also include manuscripts, wood carvings, camel skin paintings and stone carvings from Islamic and pre-Islamic eras.
Some of the most prominent leaders are buried in this very city and mausoleums are built to honour them. The tombs of Channen Peer, Tomb Yazman and Mausoleums of Haugha Sahib are the some of the most important ones.