Bahawalpur is a city of (1998 pop. 403,408) located in Bahawalpur District, Punjab Pakistan. Saraiki is the local language of the area. Urdu and English are also spoken by the people. Bahawalpur is located south of the Sutlej River and it lies in the Cholistan region. It is situated 90 km from Multan, 420 km from Lahore and about 700 km from the national capital Islamabad. It was the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur.
The city was founded in 1748 by Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi I, whose descendants ruled the area until it joined Pakistan in 1947. The Bahawalpur (princely state) was one of the largest states of British India, more than 450 kilometres long, and was ruled by Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V Bahadur, who decided to join Pakistan at the time of independence in 1947.
The Royal House of Bahawalpur is said to be of Arabic originand claim descent from Abbas, progenitor of the Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad and Cairo. Sultan Ahmad II, son of Shah Muzammil of Egypt left that country and arrived in Sind with a large following of Arabs ca. 1370He married a daughter of Raja Rai Dhorang Sahta, receiving a third of the country as a dowry. Amir Fathu’llah Khan Abbasi, is the recognized ancestor of the dynasty. He conquered the Bhangar territory from Raja Dallu, of Alor and Bahmanabad, renaming it Qahir Bela. Amir Muhammad Chani Khan Abbasi entered the imperial service and gained appointment as a Panchhazari in 1583. At his death, the leadership of the tribe was contested between two branches of the family, the Daudputras and the Kalhoras. Amir Bahadur Khan Abbasi abandoned Tarai and settled near Bhakkar, founding the town of Shikarpur in 1690. Daud Khan, the first of his family to rule Bahawalpur, originated from Sind where he had opposed the Afghan Governor of that province and was forced to flee. The Nawab entered into Treaty relations with the HEIC, 22nd February 1833. The state acceded to the Dominion of Pakistan on 7th October 1947 and was merged into the province of West Pakistan on 14th October 1955.
Bahawalpur has only one railroad bridge, the Adamwahan (Empress) Bridge, over the Sutlej River, and also has rail links with Peshawar and Karachi making it an important rail centre. The surrounding area is mostly agricultural, which allows agricultural exports to many parts of the world. There is also a large market town for mangoes, dates, wheat, sugarcane, and cotton that bring in continuous demand all year round. In addition, it has soap making and cotton spinning factories, as well as enterprises producing silk and cotton textiles, carpets, and pottery. Bahwalpur has also sugar mill near a drive of 40 mins.
Punjab is Pakistan’s most fertile province, rich in both agriculture and ancient history. It’s also one of the more stable of the country’s regions. The prosperous and hospitable town of Bahawalpur is a gentle introduction to the area. From here you can journey into Cholistan – a sandy wasteland dotted with nomadic communities and wind-swept forts – or the Lal Suhanra National Park, an important wildlife reserve. Further north is Harappa which is, after Moenjodaro, the second most important site of the Indus Valley civilisation. Bahawalpur is the most southerly town in the Punjab. There are daily flights from Islamabad about 555km (344mi) away. Most of the major destinations in the Punjab can be reached by bus, mini bus, and train.
Bhawalpur is 899 km from Karachi.
The Islamia University of Bahawalpur is biggest University of Rohi Cholistan.
Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur designed by A. R. Hye
It also boasts a number of reputable educational establishments namely The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Quaid-e-Azam Medical College and the Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur, which is one of the largest and premier boarding schools in Pakistan.
There are many colleges some are given below; Government Sadiq Egertin College, Post Grduate College Baghdad Road, Technology College, vocational colleges, four Degree Colleges, Commerece College, Tebiya College, Four Elementary colleges for teaching training Wildlife
The weather is hot and dry. Summer temperatures reach high forties degrees Celsius during the day and the nights are bit pleasant . There is very little rainfall.
The Cholistan Desert
East of Bahawalpur is the Cholistan Desert which covers an area of about 15,000 square km and extends into the Thar Desert of India. The region was once watered by the Hakra River, known as the Saravati in vedic times. At one time there were 400 forts in the area and archaeological finds around the Darawar Fort, the only place with a perennial waterhole, indicate that it was contemporaneous with the Indus Valley Civilisation. The average annual rainfall is only 12 cm, and the little cultivation there is, is made possible by underground wells, drawn up by the camels. The water is stored in troughs, built by the tribes, between sandhills and din waterholes called tobas. The people are racially similar to those in Rajasthan – tall, with sharp features. They live in large, round, mud and grass huts, usually built on the top of sandhills. On the whole, they are pastoral and nomadic. The main tribes are the Chachar, Mehr, Lar, Paryar, Channar, Chandani and Bohar. The forts here were built at 29 km intervals, which probably served as guard posts for the camel caravan routes. There were three rows of these forts. the first line of forts began from Phulra and ended in Lera, the second from Rukhanpur to Islamgarh, and the third from Bilcaner to Kapoo. They are all in ruins now, and you can see that they were built with double walls of gypsum blocks and mud. Some of them date back to 1000 BC, and were destroyed and rebuilt many times.
One of the few zoos in Pakistan is located in Bahawalpur. Located over an area of several acres inside the city, it contains a variety of animal species including Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, hyenas, leopards, and peacocks alongside a variety of other animals. Located near the city is the Lal Sohara National Park, one of the few safaris in the country housing large animals including lions and rhinoceros.
Sites of interest
o Noor Mahal (House of the Royal Family)
o Gulzar Mahal (House of the Royal Family)
o Darbar Mahal (Royal Palace for operational controls of the state)
o Farid Gate
o Bahawalpur Museum
o Bahawalpur National Library
o Bahawalpur Zoo
o National Wildlife Park, Lal Sohanra
o Channen Peer Tomb Yazman
o Mausoleums of Haugha Sahib
The old fort of Munde Shahid, 50 km from Bahawalpur and Marot Fort are considered to be antiquities. A place outside the Marot Fort is known as ‘Baithak Maula Ali’. The tomb of Naugaza is located in the Munde Sharif Fort.
The famous fort of Derawar is located near the city, being the private fort of the former royal family who continue to be major political players in Pakistan.
Architectural monuments include the former royal family’s palaces namely Darbar Mahal, Gulzar Mahal and Noor Mahal. All Mahals are now under military control.
Bahawalpur has only one railroad bridge over the Sutlej River, making it an important rail centre. The surrounding area is mostly agricultural, which allows agricultural exports to many parts of the world. There is also a large market town for mangoes, dates, wheat, sugarcane, and cotton that bring in continuous demand all year round. In addition, it has soap making and cotton spinning factories, as well as enterprises producing silk and cotton textiles, carpets, and pottery. Bahawalpur has also sugar mill nearby.
Specialities of Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur is known for its cotton, silk, embroidery, carpets, and extraordinarily delicate pottery, which is produced here.
The Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) has established a Craft Development Center for Cholistan area, outside Farid Gate, Bahawalpur from where handicrafts manufactured in Cholistan can be purchased.
” Flassi – It is a piece of 4-ft * 7-ftsize, made of camel hair and cotton yarn. It is used for wall hanging, as a decoration piece and a carpet.
” Gindi or Rilli – It is made of small pieces of many colors of cotton cloth and needlework. It can be used as wall hangings, bed covers, carpets and blankets.
” Changaries – Like big plaques, these are made of palm leaves in different bright colors with beautiful patterns and geometric designs. These are used for keeping the ‘chapattis’ and also as a wall decoration.
” Khalti – It is like a purse embroidered on top with multi colored threads.
” Artwork – It is an attractive type of embroidery done on dupatta, kurta and chaddar etc.
Bazaars of Bahawalpur
The main shopping centers of Bahawalpur are Shahi Bazaar, Machli Bazaar, Farid Gate and the Mall. Commercial area in Satellite Town is a newly developed center that is gaining popularity rapidly. A few shopping malls including Bobby Plaza, Takbeer Shopping mall, Time, Prince etc cater for all kinds of needs.
” Bahawalpur (princely state)
” Noor Mahal
” Bahawalpur Airport
” Sadiq Public School
” The Islamia University of Bahawalpur
” Quaid-e-Azam Medical College