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Derawar Fort: What Remains from a Once Thriving Desert Civilization?

Derawar Fort: What Remains from a Once Thriving Desert Civilization?


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Derawar Fort is a stronghold located in what is today Bahawalpur, in the Pakistani province of Punjab. The fort traces its history back to the 9th century AD, though it may be added that it only gained its present look several centuries later, during the 18th century.

Protecting Travelers

The Derawar Fort is one of the fortresses located in the Cholistan Desert (known locally as Rohi), which adjoins the western part of the Thar Desert. Archaeological evidence suggests that this desert was once irrigated by the Hakra River, the bed of which can still be seen in the desert landscape. Settlements, including those of the Indus Valley Civilization, once thrived in the region. Around 600 BC, however, the river changed its course, and then vanished underground, hence turning the landscape into an arid desert not suitable for human habitation.

The Cholistan Desert.

Whilst the area no longer supported human settlement, it eventually became part of the trade route that connected Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent, as well as part of the pilgrimage route between the Islamic holy city of Mecca and India. Therefore, fortresses such as Derawar Fort were established in the Cholistan Desert in order to provide protection to merchants and pilgrims travelling on that route, and to serve as watering points for these travelers.

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The Fort’s History

Apart from Derawar Fort, other strongholds in this network of forts that cuts across the Cholistan Desert include the Marotgarh Fort, the Khangarh Fort, and the Islamgarh Fort. Some of these structures are still standing today, though others have fallen into ruins. Derawar Fort has been considered to be the best surviving example in this group of desert forts.

Derawar Fort. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Derawar Fort was apparently built during the 9th century AD by Rai Jajja Bhatti, a Rajput ruler of the Bhatti clan. However, another source states that the fort was built by Rawal Deoraj, a Bhatti Rajput from Jaisalmir, who conquered the area during the 800s AD. As a tribute to himself, the Rajput ruler had several structures, including Derawar Fort, be built. The fort’s name is said to have initially been Dera Rawal, in honor of the victorious king. As time passed, the name of the fort changed to Dera Rawar, and then finally to its modern name of Derawar.

The Derawar Fort built by a Hindu dynasty of Bhatti Rajputs.

Abode of the Bahawalpur Rulers

Regardless, Derawar Fort remained in the hands of the Bhatti Rajputs until the 18th century, when it fell into the hands of the Abbasis, a tribe claiming descent from the Abbasid caliphs. In 1733, the fort was captured by Amir Sadeq Mohammad Khan I, the founder of the princely state of Bahawalpur. Although the Abbasis lost the fort in 1747, it was recaptured in 1804.

The fort remained as the desert abode of the Bahawalpur rulers (who later adopted the title Nawab) until the 1970s. The fort is still in the possession of that family, and visitors planning to enter the fort would need to obtain a special permission from the Amir (the title adopted following the abolition of the title of Nawab) of Bahawalpur to do so.

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Derawar Fort in the night. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

It was the first Abbasi ruler of Bahawalpur who gave Derawar Fort its current look. After capturing this stronghold from the Rajputs, Amir Sadeq Mohammad Khan I had it rebuilt. This new fort was constructed of clay bricks, with a circuit of walls spanning 1.5 km (0.93 miles), and rising to a height of 30 m (98.43 ft.)

Each of the circuit’s fours sides has 10 circular bastions, all decorated with intricate patterns cut into the brick. These walls and bastions are visible from a distance, and provide the fort an imposing presence in the desert landscape. The interior of Derawar Fort, however, is less spectacular today, as the structure has been neglected, and left to deteriorate. Moreover, there is a risk that the monument will fall into ruins, if conservation and preservation work is not carried out in the near future.

Featured image: View of Derawar Fort. Photo source: ( CC BY-SA 4.0 )


  • Lahore Fort
  • Baltit Fort
  • Rohtas Fort
  • Ranikot Fort
  • Derawar Fort

Take a look at the history, architecture, interior as well as ticket prices and timing of these ancient forts in Pakistan.

Lahore Fort

Lahore Fort remains one of top tourist attractions in the ‘City of Gardens’

If you have ever been to Lahore, there’s a good chance you have already visited the stunning Lahore Fort located in the Walled City. Also known as Shahi Qila, this ancient fort in Pakistan is also one of the most popular historical places in Punjab.

History of Lahore Fort

Though the foundation of the modern Lahore Fort was laid in 1566 AD during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, historians claim the site had been occupied by a fortified structure over 500 years before that. In fact, Iranian scholar and polymath Al-Biruni mentioned the fort in his writings during the 11 th century. In the mid-13 th century, the Mongol invaders destroyed the structure, which was later rebuilt by Sultan of Delhi Ghiyas ud din Balban, according to some historical accounts. Some 150 years down the road, Sultan Mubarak Shah of Sayyid dynasty rebuilt the castle in red mud following the devastation caused by the army of Persian Conqueror Amir Timur.

While King Akbar built the Lahore Fort as we know it today, his successors also made a number of modifications to the castle during their reign. However, after the fall of the Mughal Empire in India, the founder of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, used the fort as his residence. It was later taken over by the British forces. By the time Pakistan was created, Lahore Fort was in need of a serious renovation.

In 1981, the United Nations declared this historical fort in Pakistan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Moreover, this famous fort in Pakistan is known for its unique architecture and design as it includes both Islamic and Hindu motifs. The entire structure spreads over an area greater than 400 kanal and is one of the most iconic moments from the glorious Mughal era.

The major structures inside Shahi Qila in Lahore include the lavish white marble structure called Naulakha Pavilion, which served as Emperor Shah Jahan’s personal chambers. Furthermore, Lahore Fort’s Sheesh Mahal is another popular tourist attraction within the complex. Although commissioned by Shah Jahan, this intricately designed marble pavilion inlaid with thousands of mirrors was built during the reign of Mughal Rule Jahangir. A 350-foot long and 50-foot tall portion of Lahore Fort’s Picture Wall, yet another popular tourist attractions in Pakistan, is currently under renovation.

Lahore Fort Timings: 08:30 AM to 05:00 PM

Lahore Fort Entry Fee: PKR 30

(Visitors who want to visit Sheesh Mahal must pay PKR 100 in addition to the Lahore Fort’s ticket price.)

Baltit Fort

Don’t forget to visit this historic fort during your trip to Gilgit-Baltistan

Looking over the beautiful town of Karimabad in the picturesque Hunza Valley, the ancient Baltit Fort was built as a part of the dowry of a princess from Baltistan who had married a local prince.

History of Baltit Fort

Influenced by the old Tibetan architectural style, Baltit Fort in Gilgit-Baltistan dates back to the 16 th century.

Over the years, more room and amenities were added to the impressive structure located on the hilltop. In fact, until 1945, this historical fort in Pakistan served as the primary residence of the Mirs of Hunza. However, they later moved into yet another spectacular castle down the hill over concerns that the fort had begun to decay.

Shortly after that, the Royal Geographical Society of London began a restoration program to return one of the historical castles in Pakistan to its former glory with the help of Aga Khan Trust for Culture Historic Cities Support Program. The renovation was completed in 1996 and Baltit Fort was turned into a heritage museum under the supervision of the Baltit Heritage Trust. It is now considered one of the top tourist attractions in Pakistan.

The stone and wooden structure of Baltit Fort features beautiful carvings and brickwork in the traditional style. Most of the rooms inside the castle are single-storied, wide and properly ventilated. The staircases are also made out of stone.

Visitors can also see the ancient, handmade cooking utensils used by the royals of Baltistan regions in the curved royal kitchen, whereas the outer courtyard features wall mounted heads of several animals including the rare Marco Polo Sheep and ibex.

Since Baltit Fort is situated at a hilltop, visitors have to walk a steep stone road to reach the entrance. Although the walk might take long and seem tiring to some, the captivating view from the fort is definitely worth the hike.

Baltit Fort Timing: 09:00 AM to 05:50 PM

Baltit Fort Entry Fee: PKR 200

(The ticket price includes a detailed guided tour.)

Rohtas Fort

Rohtas Fort is considered an epitome of military fortifications in the region

One of the most famous forts in Pakistan, Rohtas Fort was built by General Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the short-lived Suri Dynasty in the Indian sub-continent.

This formidable fortress was constructed between 1541 and 1548 and is located near the city of Dina in Jhelum District.

History of Rohtas Fort

Sher Shah Suri built the sprawling castle following the historic Battle of Chausa where Mughal Emperor Humayun faced defeat at the hands of the Pashtun rulers. If you ever visit the beautiful city of Jhelum in Punjab, you need to include Rohtas Fort to your travel itinerary.

If you’re wondering what is so special about Rohtas Fort, well, for starters, it has never been invaded or conquered by force. In fact, it is considered an epitome of military fortifications in South Asia. Apart from the fact that this historical fort in Pakistan could hold up to 30,000 army personnel at a time, Suri chose an elevated hill on the Pothohar Plateau to construct this castle so that his forces could keep an eye on the passageway into the region. This military stronghold only meant to keep the Mughal forces at bay but also monitor the local Ghakkar tribe.

As far as defence mechanisms are concerned, nearly four kilometres of fortified walls surround Rohtas Fort. The structure has 68 bastion towers and 12 gates. The inner complex housed a small village that still exists.

In 1997, UNESCO declared this impenetrable fortress to its list of World Heritage Sites in Pakistan. The organization described Rohtas Fort as an ‘exceptional example of the Muslim military architecture of Central and South Asia.’

Visitors are advised to obtain the services of a local guide during their trip to one of the most historic forts in Pakistan as there are many tales associated to the castle that would make your visit even more memorable.

Rohtas Fort Timing: 08:00 AM to 09:00 PM

Rohtas Fort Entry Fee: PKR 20

(Foreigners may have to pay a certain fee or show their passport to enter the fort.)

Ranikot Fort

This sprawling fort has become a popular day trip destination from Karachi

Ranikot Fort is not only considered one of the largest historical forts in Sindh but perhaps the entire world. Also known as ‘The Great Wall of Sindh,’ Ranikot fort is situated near the city of San in Jamshoro District and has the circumference of about 32 kilometres. Those travelling from Karachi can easily reach the fort via the National Highway. It’ll take about an hour to reach Sann from Karachi and then an additional 30 to 40 minutes to reach the ancient fort in Pakistan. You can also join one of the many tour groups offering Ranikot Fort trips from Karachi.

History of Ranikot Fort

The dilapidated Ranikot Fort, which is gradually becoming one of the popular tourist attractions in Pakistan, was constructed at the beginning of the 19 th century. The vast fort complex is located on a hilly area and has several gates, some of which are still in good condition. If you enter the fort through the San Gate, you can even climb up the historic stone and lime wall for a panoramic view of the entire area.

Apart from the large fortified wall surrounding the Ranikot Fort on the three sides, travellers can also visit Meeri, a small castle-like structure within the fort that once housed the royal Mir family. There’s also another fortress called Shergah up in the mountains, but you’ll need to dedicate an entire day to travel and explore that structure alone.

Meanwhile, during your visit to this historic fort in Pakistan, don’t forget to drive from the diversion leading to Meeri and then walking a small distance to Mohan Gate.

Along with the intricate carvings and traditional floral designs on the wall, visitors can also see crumbling bastions, watchtowers and smaller fortresses within the Ranikot complex. There are also three ancient graveyards in the area. Moreover, according to the locals, some prehistoric fossils and animal skeletons can be found on these hills.

Ranikot Fort Timing: Open 24 hours

Ranikot Fort Entry Fee: None

Derawar Fort

The large square fortress dates back to the 9th century

You can’t compile a list of historical forts in Pakistan without mentioning the picturesque Derawar Fort even once. Located about 100 kilometres south of the city of Bahawalpur in Ahmedpur East, this spectacular landmark in the Cholistan Desert dates back to the 9 th century.

History of Derawar Fort

Derawar Fort was constructed by a Hindu ruler from India’s Rajasthan state as a tribute to Rawal Deoraj Bhatti, the sovereign king of the Jaisalmer and Bahawalpur region. Historians suggest the large square fortress was initially called Dera Rawal, which later turned to Dera Rawar and then Derawar.

In 1733, Nawab of Bahawalpur Sadeq Mohammad Khan I took over and rebuilt the fort to how it looks like today. Nearly 15 years later, the Nawab lost Derawar Fort. However, Nawab Mubarak Khan reclaimed it in 1804 before the British forces invaded and captured it.

The dilapidating red-bricked fort, which is visible for miles in the vast Cholistan Desert, is surrounded by 30-metre-high bastions along with walls spanning over 1.5 kilometres. Moreover, the origin of some of the archaeological sites around the fort can be traced to the Indus Valley Civilization. The locals claim one of the tunnelled pathways inside the fort leads to an underground railway tunnel connecting the magnificent Sadiq Garh Palace in Bahawalpur to Derawar.

The fort has gained new-found fame in the recent years as camping in the Cholistan has become rather popular among the adventure seekers. These tours not only provide people to sleep under the stars near the walls of Derawar Fort but also enjoy the local cuisines and culture.

Derawar Fort Timing: Open 24 hours

Derawar Fort Entry Fee: None

To read more about the historical places in Pakistan, pay a visit to Zameen Blog, the leading lifestyle blog in Pakistan.


Derawar Fort: What Remains from a Once Thriving Desert Civilization? - History

Cholistan Desert

Many of us might have heard about Cholistan desert and its surrounding areas but because of lack of knowledge we don’t know anything about this far flung region of Pakistan. Cholistan is a desert and almost is stretched upon an area of 26300 square kilometers. It is also connected to Thar Desert which is extended to Sindh and then into India. Cholistan is the only desert that exists in both Pakistan and India.

The meaning of Cholistan is Land of the Desert because the word “CHOL” has been derived from Turkish language which means desert. The way of life of Cholistani people is somewhat of nomadic or semi-nomadic type, they always move from one place to another and their stay is prolonged in case they found water and pastures in abundance for their animals.

The culture of Cholistan desert is so different and beautiful that it stands out completely. Men wear bright colored turbans and the women wear bright colored clothes with very discreet embroidery which is basically the speciality of this area.The biggest source of income is only cattle breeding and its related businesses. The demand of milk, butter and animal fats is met from this source. Around 1.6 million cattle are found in the area and they can be easily increased to a great level if only the government puts in special efforts to upgrade the productivity of this area. In the winters as animals are less in numbers and the weather becomes harsh, they switch to various artistic crafts such as cloth weaving, pottery and leatherwork. Pottery industry is thriving here due to its rich soil and different products like pitchers, Surahies, glasses and piyalas.

A super quality carpet wool is produced in the area. Beautiful rugs, carpets and other winter items are made out of it. Blankets are also made to meet the demand of harsh winter as the temperature falls below up to freezing point. The wool got from sheep is sold to get the revenue. Different types of textile products are produced in the region e.g Khaddar fabrics and fine quality khaddar bedclothes are made here.

The Seraiki language is dominant there which is a flavor of Lahnda dialect or Lahnda Languages grouping. Many sufi poets and saints belong to this region such as Khawaja Ghulam Farid who wrote a lot of poetry in the Seraiki language and helped the culture of this place to nurture.

Drawar Fort is the major landmark of Cholistan Desert, located 48 kilometres from Dera Nawab Sahib (once headquarters and the seat of the rulers of Bahawalpur state). The area was once well watered by the river Ghaggar now called the Hakra in Pakistan and known in Vedic times as the Sarasvati. All along the 500-km of dried up river are over 400 archaeological sites, which date back to the Indus civilization 4500 years ago and are clustered around Drawar Fort. The desert has an average rainfall of 5 inches a year and there is very little cultivation. The Drawar fort is a major tourist attraction and it attracts a lot of foreigners because of its heritage and its links to on of the oldest civilizations in the history of the world, the Indus Civilization. Before it became a tourist attraction, the Drawar Fort was the residence of the Nawab of Bahawalpur and there are still remains of Nawab’s quarters in the Drawar fort.

One comes across a chain of forts, built at 29 km intervals when traveling in the Cholistan Desrt, 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 Khaploo. 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.

Near the Drawar fort, the TDCP Cholistan Jeep Rally is organized every year since 2005. Over 100 trained desert drivers with modified cars compete in this rally and hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to see this. This was a great initiative on part of the government of Pakistan and this step has actually introduced this land as part of Pakistan and having a great culture of its own.

Pakistan is extremely blessed when it comes to the geography. Pakistan is one of the very few countries in the world which has mountainous peaks, a huge portion of ocean linked to it, access to warm waters all over the year and deserts in a comparatively small area. With all these blessings, pakistan is still part of the 3 rd world and all the 1 st world countries despite having so much area, have much less than this. Our unique heritage and specially the culture and lifestyle of the deserts can be a very unique selling proposition for Pakistan and the Pakistani people can earn a great deal of revenue just from promoting tourism in these places.


Derawar Fort, Cholistan, Pakistan - March 2008

To the southeast of Dera Nawab, on the edge of the Cholistan Desert, make an exciting day’s outing from either Ahmadpur East or Bahawalpur. The massive fort towers over the surrounding semi-desert and is visible from miles around. The huge walls, supported by enormous round buttresses, stand 40 meters (130 feet) high and are 1.5 kilometers (a mile) in circumference.

The drive, for four-wheel drive vehicles only, take from one to two hours from Ahmadpur East, depending on the state of the road and the route your guide has chosen for you. The last 25 kilometers (15miles) are across desert.

There has been a fort at Derawar for at least 5,000 years, part of a long chain that protected the ancient trade rout from central Asia to the Indian subcontinent. The fort was captured by the Abassi family from Raja Rawal Singh of Jaisalmar in 1733, at which time the present fort was built. The whole area around Derawar was once well watered by the Ghaggar River (now called the Hakra in Pakistan, and known in ancient Vedic times as the Sarasvati). Along the 500 kilometers (300miles) of the dry river bed are over 400 archaeological sites, most dating back to the Indus Civilization. In 18th century 12,000 people lived in the town below the fort walls. Until 1960 Derawar was watered by a canal, but later, under the new international agreement, water from the Sutlej River was diverted to India and Derawar was abandoned. The old canal is being cleaned and new canals dug to re-irrigate the area soon irrigated farmland will once again surround Derawar, and a paved road will connect it to Ahmadpur East.

The fort is more impressive from outside than in. start your tour with a drive or camel ride round the outside of the walls, which are supported by 40 enormous buttresses, ten on each side. Outside the northeast corner are a well and two water tanks where Rohilas (Nomads) come from miles around to water their camels and fill their goatskin water bags. The fort entrance is on the east and is know defending by a huge tower with gun emplacements added during the 1965 war with India. At this time many of the buildings inside the fort were removed to make room for training and parade ground. In the center of the parade ground stand two cannons and a selection of iron cannon balls and stone sling shots. The remaining buildings, all 19th century, were vacated by the nawab’s family in 1920 and are now derelict. All that remains are the nawab’s quarters, a long corridor with rooms off each side the ladies’ section, behind a locked door and high wall and some soldiers’ barracks. As in most sub continental forts, the courtyard inside the walls is built on top of a maze of underground cellars and dungeons. At one end of the parade ground, stairs and a trolley on rails lead down to the vaulted cellars, and if you look over the parapet on the south wall you can see the air holes leading to the dungeons.

The most pleasant place in the fort a painted pavilion on top of the northeast tower and surmounted by a flagpole. This is the best place for a picnic, as it is comfortable. Shaded and cool, and looks over the two big water tanks outside and is painted red, blue, yellow and green.

The white marble mosque in front of the fort was built in 1849 for the nawab’s personal holy man, Pir Ghulam Farid, whose name appeared as if by magic (and possibly with the help of few drops of acid) the marble and blue tiled tombs of the nawabs and their families lie a few hundred meters (yards) to the east of the fort. Tourists are not allowed inside the compound, but there is a good view over the wall of the beautifully decorated oblong tomb of the nawabs and eight domed tombs of other family members and wives, including the elegantly domed marble tomb of the last nawab’s English wife.


Fort Derawar (Cholistan) – by Ijaz Baloch


To the southeast of Dera Nawab, on the edge of the Cholistan Desert, make an exciting day’s outing from either Ahmadpur East or Bahawalpur. The massive fort towers over the surrounding semi-desert and is visible from miles around. The huge walls, supported by enormous round buttresses, stand 40 meters (130 feet) high and are 1.5 kilometers (a mile) in circumference.

The drive, for four-wheel drive vehicles only, take from one to two hours from Ahmadpur East, depending on the state of the road and the route your guide has chosen for you. The last 25 kilometers (15miles) are across desert.

There has been a fort at Derawar for at least 5,000 years, part of a long chain that protected the ancient trade rout from central Asia to the Indian subcontinent. The fort was captured by the Abassi family from Raja Rawal Singh of Jaisalmar in 1733, at which time the present fort was built. The whole area around Derawar was once well watered by the Ghaggar River (now called the Hakra in Pakistan, and known in ancient Vedic times as the Sarasvati). Along the 500 kilometers (300miles) of the dry river bed are over 400 archaeological sites, most dating back to the Indus Civilization. In 18th century 12,000 people lived in the town below the fort walls. Until 1960 Derawar was watered by a canal, but later, under the new international agreement, water from the Sutlej River was diverted to India and Derawar was abandoned. The old canal is being cleaned and new canals dug to re-irrigate the area soon irrigated farmland will once again surround Derawar, and a paved road will connect it to Ahmadpur East.

The fort is more impressive from outside than in. start your tour with a drive or camel ride round the outside of the walls, which are supported by 40 enormous buttresses, ten on each side. Outside the northeast corner are a well and two water tanks where Rohilas (Nomads) come from miles around to water their camels and fill their goatskin water bags. The fort entrance is on the east and is know defending by a huge tower with gun emplacements added during the 1965 war with India. At this time many of the buildings inside the fort were removed to make room for training and parade ground. In the center of the parade ground stand two cannons and a selection of iron cannon balls and stone sling shots. The remaining buildings, all 19th century, were vacated by the nawab’s family in 1920 and are now derelict. All that remains are the nawab’s quarters, a long corridor with rooms off each side the ladies’ section, behind a locked door and high wall and some soldiers’ barracks. As in most sub continental forts, the courtyard inside the walls is built on top of a maze of underground cellars and dungeons. At one end of the parade ground, stairs and a trolley on rails lead down to the vaulted cellars, and if you look over the parapet on the south wall you can see the air holes leading to the dungeons.

The most pleasant place in the fort a painted pavilion on top of the northeast tower and surmounted by a flagpole. This is the best place for a picnic, as it is comfortable. Shaded and cool, and looks over the two big water tanks outside and is painted red, blue, yellow and green.

The white marble mosque in front of the fort was built in 1849 for the nawab’s personal holy man, Pir Ghulam Farid, whose name appeared as if by magic (and possibly with the help of few drops of acid) the marble and blue tiled tombs of the nawabs and their families lie a few hundred meters (yards) to the east of the fort. Tourists are not allowed inside the compound, but there is a good view over the wall of the beautifully decorated oblong tomb of the nawabs and eight domed tombs of other family members and wives, including the elegantly domed marble tomb of the last nawab’s English wife.


Preserving history: Harappa, Fort Derawar sites to be conserved

The Punjab Archaeology Department has completed nearly 38 per cent of work on the construction of a boundary, upgrading facilities and conservation work of the Harappa archaeological site, Archaeology Sub Divisional Officer Ghulam Muhammad said on Tuesday.

The SDO said that the construction of the site’s boundary wall had been pending for decades because the department did not have legal possession of excavated land attached to the museum. The problem was solved after the federal and the Punjab governments released almost Rs194 million to acquire the land, he said.

Ghulam Muhammad said Rs85 million had been allocated to build a six-foot high fence and 3.5 kilometre long boundary wall for the site. The 1.3 kilometre long walkway-track at the archaeological mound was being repaired and tough tiles were being used to pave the area in front of the Harappa Museum.

The SDO said Rs33 million was being spent on the conservation and restoration of archaeological remains, an extension of the museum gallery, maintenance and levelling of lawns, installation of security lights on museum premises, signboards for local and foreign tourists, provision of safe drinking water and benches, improvement of toilets and washrooms, to build a canteen and to purchase furniture for the rest house.

Ghulam Muhammad said the Harrapa site spanned 175 acres and nearly 50,000 people visited it each month.

He said Minister for Tourism Rana Mashhood had instructed the department to install a special entrance gate carrying motifs and features of some of the ancient gates excavated from the site. He said two large unicorn statues would also be placed at the site.

The Harappa site in Sahiwal district has yielded relics from the Bronze Age. The once fortified city was part of the Indus Valley Civilization, centred in Sindh and the Punjab. The city is believed to have had as many as 23,500 residents and occupied around 150 hectares (370 acres) during the mature Harappan phase (2600-1900 BC).APP

Fort Derwar

Officials of the Archaeology Department said under a Rs6 million conservation project, a 19-feet wide portion of the boundary wall and the 62-feet wide bastion of the Derawar Fort would be restored up to a height of 75-feet.

They said the amount had been released to the Archaeology Department. After technical sanction of the scheme, the tender process will start, they said. Conservation work should, hopefully, begin within 30 or 45 days, the officials said.

They said three bastions and two segments of the fort’s 80-feet high and 8-9 feet thick boundary wall had been badly damaged due to extreme weather and time. Though the damage had been reported a while back, funds were hard to come by, they said.

The Bahawalpur Archaeology SDO said that the east-south bastion, a 32-foot long portion of one of the walls, a 19-foot long portion of another wall along Derawar Fort were in desperate need of restoration work.

“A portion of the wall will be renovated with the funds released recently and the remaining work will be put off for when we get funds again,” the official said.

The fort is located at the edge of Cholistan desert in Bahawalpur district. A report of the Punjab Archaeology Department says there has been a fort at Derawar for nearly 5,000 years to protect the trade route from central Asia to the subcontinent. The fort, as it exists today, was captured by the Abassi family from Raja Rawal Singh of Jaisalmer in 1733 – around the time the fort was built, the report says.

The fort is supported by 39 enormous buttresses (bastions), with four on each corner, nine on three sides – West, South and North – and eight on the eastern side. The fort is now a tourist attraction and is a nice place for a picnic.


Derawar Fort: What Remains from a Once Thriving Desert Civilization? - History

Thomas Jefferson has some merits when he said “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past” but David McCullough was spot on with, “History is Who we are and Why we are the way We are”.

I think the inspiration we get from our past, guides us to build not only our today but also shapes our future as well. So is the case with Pakistan, marching forward to its bright Future on the heals of its glorious Past.

Pakistan is a treasure house of ancient heritage. Some of these sites are well preserved and remaining are just piles of old dirt and histories, but our archaeologist are trying hard to stabilize and conserve these treasure coves so that they can survive for some more centuries..

Today I am going to uncover some of the interesting facts about history of Pakistan which I personally feel have a common interest for the people of Asia and it has the power to bind them in cohesion and friendship…

Pakistan, though young in the comity of nations, has a rich and varied history spanning a period of over 9000s years. The people of Pakistan have been around for a long time, much before the Partition, much before the Medieval Mughuls, much before Muhammad bin Qasim, much before Islam, and much before the emanation of Vedic cultures. Pakistan has a history of over 9000 years, all of which have a unique link with the Indus River Balochistan’s Mehrgarh (7000 BC), Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s Rehman Dheri (4000 BC), Punjab’s Harappa (3000 BC) and Sindh’s Mohenjodaro (2500 BC) combined have more than 50,000 rock carvings and over 10,000 inscriptions. Many other heritage sites ranging from the Neolithic period in present-day Gilgit Baltistan and the the ancient Sharda University in Azad Jammu & Kashmir are also worth mentioning the generations that have thrived on this soil and left their footsteps for generations to come.

There are a number of sites in Pakistan that were once home to great and ancient civilizations. This blog is first part of “Glorious Past Series” that will cover the most important ancient civilizations… So lets start with some of Gems from the Past:

Taxila is the main site to Buddhism. The budda himself spent 40 years of his life travelling and teaching in this part of northern Pakistan and many say that it is from here where modern budhism takes his routes. The greeks came to Pakistan under conquerer Alexander the great.

They built taxillas first city the Sirkap. This city was built according to the ancient capital of Athens. Sirkaps history spans about 1000 years and different empires conquered and rebuilt it. This city was a home to greatest university for law,medicine and history on the Subcontinent. This city has such a beautiful architectural plan that was so ahead of its time that it was copied and put to use when Islamabad was built.

The remains of this city are located in Balochistan Pakistan.It is the earliest known farming settlement in Southasia and also has earliest evidence of pottery.The people here lived in organized houses of red mud and raised domesticated farming animals. But later on because of water drying in rivers the people move to other areas like Mohenjodaro and Harrapa.the indus valley civilization has its roots here as the archelogists have linked Harrapans genesis to Mehrgarh.

Around 3500-3000 B.C, another civilization came into being while the Indus Valley Civilization was just underway. Located about 22 km south of Khairpur in the Sindh of province, Pakistan, the Kot Dijli site is some 60 km away from Mohenjo-daro.
Excavated in 1955, the site’s culture is characterized by the use of the red-slipped globular jar with a short neck painted with a black band. During the peak of this civilization, the region was divided into two the citadel and the lower town.

MOHENJODARO:

The ancient city of Mohenjodaro is one of the first urban centers in human history.It lies in the southern Pakistan indus valley and is the best preserved city of indus civilization.It was built in 2500 B.C and it spanned about 500 acres.It was divided into two districts the citedal and the lower town. The citadel is home to the city exceptional monuments including the great bath. Mohenjodaro has a sophisticated water system baths and toilet systems and the town has an elaborate sewage system and it also had fresh water in 700 wells. The lower town demonstrated the egalitarian structure.It had a population between 20,000 and 40,000.After 600 years the city collapsed. This city was rediscoverd in 1911.

Harappa is situated 35 km from Sahiwal and around 250 km from Lahore in the province of Punjab. It was from here that the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization were first discovered that eventually led archaeologists to Mohenjodaro. Though some of the remains of Harappa were destroyed, several cemeteries have been excavated to reveal much about the Harappan culture.
There seem to be have been a series of cities. With a similar layout and designs of citadel and granaries, Harappa looks like Mohenjodaro and appears to have been most populated around in 2000 to 1700 B.C. as well. The economy appears to have been agriculture and trade oriented.
Many of the dead were buried wearing a variety of jewelry and other ornaments, such as rings, along with earrings and bangles. Some of the females had anklets of tiny beads and girdles studded with semi-precious stones.

REHMAN DHERI:

It is a pre-Harappan site, and dated about 4000 B.C. It is located 22 km away from Dera Ismail Khan in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. It is considered to be one of the oldest urbanized centers in South Asia that we know of.
It appears to have once been a large walled rectangular city with a grid iron network. The location of a number of small-scale industrial areas can be seen occupied by eroding kilns and scatters of slag. .
There are not many remains at Rehman Dheri except for thousands of broken utensil bits and stone. It seems to have been left by its inhabitants in the middle of the third millennium B.C. The plan of the Early Harappan settlement is therefore completely undisturbed by later developments in civilization that took place at the other sites and hence represents the beginning of urbanization in South Asia.

It is comparatively a new civilization, the regions comprising Northern Punjab, Peshawar valley and Eastern Afghanistan was known as Gandhara. For a long time it remained the meeting place of various ancient cultures, as it was rule by many rulers. A distinctive art which is known as Gandhara Art took place from here and flourished during the 2nd and 3rd century of Christian era. Thousands monasteries and stupas were widely here Buddha’s figures, shapes and monasteries all made prominent features of Gandhara Arts.

ROHTAS FORT:

Rohtas is a historical fort in the Potohar region. It is located at a distance of 16kms from Jhelum city. It was constructed on a hillock where Kahan river meets to an another rainy stream Parnal Khas. The fort is about 300 feet above its surroundings.It is 2660 feet above sea level and covers an area of 12.63 acres. It was build by Sher Shah Suri, due to the rebellious tribes of the northern Punjab region in the 16 th century. It took 8 years to built the Rohtas Fort but it was recaptured by local tribes and then it become the capital of Gakhars.It was captured by Mughal emperor Humayun in 1555. Rohtas Fort is an outstanding example early Muslim military architecture in the South Asia. Also have a profound influence on the development of architectural styles in the Mughal Empire.

DERAWAR FORT:

Derawar fort is a large square fort which is located in Ahmadpur East Tehsil,Punjab.It is approximately 100km south from the city of Bahawalpur.The Derawar fort is visible for many miles in the Cholistan Desert. The fort was built by Rai Jajja Bhatti, which is a Rajput ruler of the Bhatti clan. This fort was constructed in the 9 th century A.D as a tribute to Rawal Deoraj Bhatti. In the 18 th century, the fort was taken over by the Muslim nawabs of Bahawalpur. It was later renovated by the Abbasi rulers. This historical fort is presents at an enormous and impressive structure in the heart o Cholistan desert, but it needs immediate preventive measures for preservation.

NOOR MAHAL AND GULZAR MAHAL:

Noor and Gulzar Mahal are the most elegant buildings in Bahawalpur which is built in the Italian style. Noor Mahal, is a five star luxury hotel, and is inspired by India’s rich heritage and shows the royality created by Indian Maharajas over the centuries.Noor Mahal is one of the hidden gems of Bahawalpur, due to the lack of publicity.But now this palace is open to public and is under the control of Pakistan Army and is used as a guest house and attending meetings with foreign delegations.The construction of Noor palace was undertaken by Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan. Mr.Heenan. an Englishman was the state engineer. The foundation of Noor palace was laid in 1872.

HIRAN MINAR SHEIKHUPURA PUNJAB:

Hiran minar is located near Lahore in Sheikhupura, Pakistan. It was constructed by the Emperor Jahangir as a monument to Mansraj. The structure consists of large, almost square water tank with an octagonal pavilion in its center and was built during the era of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Another feature of Hiran Minar is its location and environment. The top of the minar is the best place in the Punjab province to get the feel for the broader landscape and its relationship to the Mughal site. To the north of the minar, one can see a patch of forest which is similar tp the forests in the Mughal times.

It is located just outside of Thatta. Makli Hill is the greatest Muslim structure existing today. It is the site of Sindh province and has a golden era which lasted across four centuries from 14 th to 18 th . There is evidence of extreme grandeur style, with colorful mosaic detailing and decorative patterns carved into the stone. Approximately half a million tombs and graves are dotted within this six square mile site.

RANIKOT FORT:

Ranikot fort is a historical fort in Sindh province of Pakistan. It is also known as great wall of Sindh and is the world’s largest fort with the circumference of approximately 26km or 16 miles. Fort is located in Lakki mountains of the Kirthar region to the West of river Indus. The main purpose and architects of Ranikot Fort are still not found. Some archaeologists attribute it to Arabs or it can possibly built by Persion noble under the Abbasides by Imran Bin Musa Barmaki who was the Governor of Sindh in 836.

SHALIMAR GARDEN:

It was sometimes written as Shalamar Garden, It was a Pakistani garden and was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Lahore. The project management was carried out under the superintendence of Khalilullah khan, in cooperation with Ali Mardan khan. It is located near Baghbanpura along the Grand trunk road some 5 kilometers from main city of Lahore. Shalimar Gardens draws inspiration from Central Asia, Kashmir and West Punjab. The site of Shalimar Garden was originally belonged to one of the noble Zaildar families in the region, well known as Arain Mian family, Baghbanpura.

WAZIR KHAN MOSQUE:

Wazir khan mosque is located in Lahore, Pakistan and is famous for extensive title work.It has been described as a mole on the cheek of Lahore. It was built in seven years starting around 1634-1635 AD, during the era of Mughal emperor. This mosque was built by Hakim Shah Ilm-ud –din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who was the court physician to Shah Jahan and a governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as Wazir khan.This mosque is located in the inner Lahore and is accessible from Delhi gate.This mosque gives some of the finest examples of Qashani title workfrom the Mughal period. Inside the mosque lies the tomb of Syed Muhammad Ishaq, who is also known as Miran badshah, who migrated from Iran and then settled in Lahore.

ANARKALI TOMB:

The tomb of Anarkali is located on the grounds of Lahore’s Punjab Civil Secretariat complex near the British-era Mall, southwest of the Walled City of Lahore. It is considered to be one of the earliest Mughal tombs still in existence, and is considered to be one of the most significant buildings of the early Mughal period. [1] The building is currently used as the Punjab Archives, and public access is limited. Construction of the tomb dates to either 1599 C.E., or 1615 C.E. [2]

The tomb was said to be built by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir for his love Anarkali, who as per legend, was caught by Emperor Akbar for exchanging glances with Jehangir, at the time known as Prince Saleem. Anarkali was reportedly a concubine of Emperor Akbar, and this action reportedly enraged the Emperor Akbar so much, that he had Anarkali interred alive in a wall. When Prince Saleem ascended the throne and took the name “Jehangir,” he is reported to have ordered the construction of a tomb over the site of the wall in which Anarkali was reportedly buried. [3]

Eighteenth-century historian Abdullah Chagatai reported that the tomb was not the resting place for Anarkali, but instead for Jehangir’s beloved wife Sahib-i-Jamal Begum. [4] Many modern historians accept the credulity of this account. [5] The building is currently used as the Punjab Archives, so access to the public is limited.

and the list goes on… Exploring the rich heritage of Pakistan requires some dedicated time and passionate.. So go ahead and customize your tour with us so that we can take you to the forgotten world

(All pictures are attributed to lawful owners, distributed under creative common agreement by Wikipedia)


These 6 forts of Pakistan are a must visit once in your lifetime

There are many locations in each province of the country which are relatively unknown.

As the weather is changing and the pleasant atmosphere demands traveling to wonderful outdoor places. Apart from northern areas, Here were are guiding you with the list of these castles and forts of Pakistan.

You will love visiting these sites with your loved ones:

Baltit Fort:

located in the scenic Hunza Valley, Baltit Fort was built in the 8th CE, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative list since 2004.

Derawar Fort:

Qilla Derawar is a magnificent beauty in the Cholistan Desert. It is located 130 km south of the city of Bahawalpur. The best time to see it is in February during the famous jeep rally. This fort is a beauty in the mighty desert.

Ranikot Fort :

Sindh too has its own share of fort glory in the form of Ranikot Fort which is located near Sann in Jamshoro District. It is also known as known as "The Great Wall of Sindh" and is believed to be the largest fort in the whole world.

Lahore Fort :

This is a citadel in the city of Lahore, located at the northern end of the famous walled city. It is spread more than 20 hectares and is a remarkable reminder of the glory and downfall of the Mughal empire.


Discover Hidden History at these 8 Archaeological Discoveries In Idaho

While Idaho’s ruins and ancient artifacts are no match for the behemoth figures of the Eastern Hemisphere, our archaeological finds are impressive in their own regard. Tools, artwork, and fragmented remains gradually reveal our state’s primitive, ancient, and Native American histories, inciting curiosity with every new piece of the puzzle. While too vast and numerous to list below, many of these discoveries (and thousands more) are preserved at the Idaho Museum of Natural History for your in-person viewing and educational pleasure. These archaeological discoveries in Idaho incite curiosity about the Gem State’s ancient history and role in the development of civilization.

Pictographs are a type of aboriginal artwork made on rock surfaces with colors most commonly obtained from vegetable dyes. These priceless images are scattered throughout Idaho, but are found primarily north of the Snake River -- the most infamous being the large Priest Lake Indian Pictographs which can be toured by boat. Thought to have been made by the Kalispel tribe, legend has it that a young priest intervened to prevent bloodshed between two quarreling Indians and was thrown from the cliff. His death is said to be recorded in the painting shown above.

These images are of vast historical significance due to their evolutionary recording of local eating habits, tribe interactions, and hunting practices. The Priest Lake Historical Photograph Collection offer a glimpse into another era.

In 1889, Nampa became the center of controversy when drill workers discovered a small clay figurine in sediments brought up from 300 feet below the surface. The figure, later called the "Nampa Image" or "Nampa Figurine," measures 48 mm long and is modeled in the shape of a human with a visible head and appendages. Some claim it to be the most important discovery in the Northwest to date, while skeptics have considered the figurine a hoax -- its depth and formation suggests an ancient civilization far more advanced than previously thought possible. Today the miniature is a historical curiosity.

For more information, check out the Smithsonian's Bureau of American Ethnology. Archaeology World explores the idea of relic vs. hoax and what’s the most credible explanation.

Incredible! Idaho’s history is just beneath the surface (and sometimes above it), but it’s always amazing when something is revealed that raises new possibilities and questions about our past. These archaeological discoveries in Idaho are fascinating relics of our wonderful state’s past.

How many of Idaho’s museums have you been to? Do you have a favorite exhibit or archaeological piece? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’re looking to learn more about Idaho’s great history, then you need to check out these 10 Unique Historical Places You Absolutely Must Visit In Idaho.


Top Tourist Attractions in Punjab

These are some of the some popular as well as historical places to visit in Punjab. So, if you love travelling, make sure to add these tourist attractions to your travel bucket list.

  • Badshahi Mosque
  • Lahore Fort
  • Minar-e-Pakistan
  • Shalimar Gardens
  • Katas Raj Temple
  • Noor Mahal
  • Derawar Fort
  • Rohtas Fort
  • Khewra Salt Mine
  • Hiran Minar

Let’s take a further look at each of these famous places in Punjab.

Badshahi Mosque

Badshahi Mosque is one of the biggest and oldest mosques in Pakistan

When it comes to the most renowned historical places in Punjab, Badshahi Mosque is probably the first name that pops into your mind, right? Located in the Walled City of Lahore, the majestic Badshahi Mosque is considered one of the largest mosques in Pakistan with the capacity to accommodate about 1 lakh people at the same time.

The stunning mosque was constructed during the rule of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and was connected to the magnificent Lahore Fort through its Alamgiri Gate.

The structure of the Badshahi Mosque reminds one of the splendour and craftsmanship of the Mughal architecture in the subcontinent. Situated atop an elevated platform, the imperial mosque features symmetrical design and boasts four tall minarets flanking the main prayer hall with four additional minarets surrounding the sprawling courtyard. The beautiful embellishments on the walls and ceilings of the mosque, the intricate mosaic art, extravagant hand-painted murals as well as gorgeous stone and marble work illustrate the splendour of the Mughal Empire.

Though Badshahi Mosque suffered major damage during the British rule, it underwent an extensive renovation in the 1960s and is now known as one of the top tourist attractions in Punjab.

Location: Walled City of Lahore, Lahore

Timings: 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Entry Fee: None

Lahore Fort

Lahore Fort is one of the top tourist destinations in Punjab

If you have ever visited Lahore, there is a good chance that you have already taken a trip to the centuries-old Lahore Fort located in the Walled City next to Badshahi Mosque. More popularly known as Shahi Qila, it is one of the most historic forts in Pakistan. It also enjoys the status of being one of the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan.

As the history books suggest, the site where this fort is located once housed a fortified structure that was mentioned in the writings of Iranian scholar and polymath Al-Biruni back in the 11 th century. Some 200 years later, after the Mongol armies invaded the area and destroyed the stronghold, Sultan of Delhi Ghiyas ud din Balban rebuilt it. However, the structure was damaged yet again during the invasion of Persian Conqueror Amir Timur. Historians claim Sultan Mubarak Shah of the Sayyid Dynasty rebuilt it.

However, it was Mughal Emperor Akbar who laid the foundation of the modern Lahore Fort in 1566 AD. The fort, as we know it today, went through major modifications under the rule of King Akbar’s successors. After the downfall of the Mughal Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire lived in this fort before it was taken over by the British Armies. Following the creation of Pakistan, Lahore Fort underwent major restoration work and was later declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The most prominent features of this iconic fort include the lavish personal chambers of Emperor Shah Jahan called Naulakha Pavilion, the intricately designed Sheesh Mahal, and the famous Picture Wall.

Location: Walled City, Lahore

Timings: 08:30 AM to 05:00 PM

Entry Fee: PKR 30 + PKR 100 Sheesh Mahal

Minar-e-Pakistan

Minar-e-Pakistan commemorates the historic signing of Pakistan Resolution in 1940

Minar-e-Pakistan is one of the most important and historically significant places to visit in Lahore. Standing tall at approximately 230 feet, this stunning tower is situated in the beautiful Iqbal Park – formerly known as Minto Park – in the heart of Lahore. Also known as the ‘Tower of Pakistan,’ this landmark commemorates the momentous occasion when the Pakistan Resolution (Qarardad-e-Pakistan) was signed on March 23 rd , 1940, during a session of All India Muslim League. This historic resolution led to the creation of Pakistan and is celebrated each year as ‘Pakistan Day.’

Minar-e-Pakistan was designed by Naseer-ud-din Murat Khan and represents a brilliant fusion of traditional Islamic architecture and contemporary design. The minaret has a star-shaped base built approximately 26 feet above the ground with a sky-high 203-feet tall structure situated on top of it. The tower has a diameter of about 32 feet.

The bottom part of Minar-e-Pakistan is shaped like the blossoming petals of a flower. The base of the tower comprises four platforms depicting different phases of the creation of Pakistan, while the stone walls of Minar-e-Pakistan feature verses from the Holy Quran, the 99 attributes of Allah, the text of the historic Pakistan Resolution as well as works of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah and national poet Allama Iqbal.

Location: Iqbal Park, Lahore.

Timings: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Entry Fee: None

Shalimar Gardens

Shalimar Gardens are among the only surviving garden complexes built during the Mughal era

One of the only remaining gardens built during the Mughal reign in the once-imperial city of Lahore, Shalimar Gardens were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1981 along with Lahore Fort. It was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17 th century and is considered one of the top tourist attractions in Punjab. The design of these gardens, also known as Shalimar Bagh among the locals, was heavily influenced by the Shalimar Gardens in Kashmir, which were constructed by Emperor Jahangir, Shah Jahan’s processor and father.

The beautiful garden, which is among the most popular picnic places in Lahore, is located nearly 5 kilometer away from the Walled City of Lahore. The site of the gardens originally belonged to the Arain Mian family, who were granted the custodianship of the beautiful imperial garden by the emperor. Shalimar Gardens remained under the governance of Arain Mian family for over 350 years before it was nationalized in 1962 by General Ayub Khan.

Shalimar Gardens in Lahore are one of the most exquisite examples of landscaping, craftsmanship and engineering from the Mughal era. It is spread over 16 hectares of land and built in the style of Persian paradise gardens, considered a “microcosm of an earthly utopia” as per the historians. The gardens feature several levels, which each of them approximately 13 to 15 feet higher than the previous one.

The top terrace is shaped like a square and is called Bagh-e-Farah Baksh and features 105 fountains. The second and third terraces are known as the Bagh-e-Faiz Baksh, comprising 152 and 153 fountains respectively. The second terrace is shaped like a narrow rectangle while the third terrace mirrors the uppermost in its shape.

Location: Shalimar Chowk, G. T. Road, Shalimar Town, Lahore.

Timings: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: PKR 20

Katas Raj Temple

The picturesque Katas Raj Temple complex was built around 1500 years ago

Katas Raj is a complex of seven ancient temples surrounding a pond considered sacred by Hindus. It is believed to have been constructed some 1500 years ago.

Located near Chakwal, these temples are located a little over a two-hour drive away from Islamabad, covering around 260 kanal of land. Until a few years ago, this site represented just another forgotten piece of history, though it started to gain traction over the past few years and is now considered one of the top one-day trip places in Punjab, especially among photographers and history-lovers.

The Katas Raj Temples hold immense significance in the Hindu mythology, as it is believed the bluish-green water of the pond, formed by the tears of Lord Shiva, which he shed following the death of his wife, washes away one’s sins. The remains of a Buddhist stupa can also be seen in the area along with some newly built structures.

Although the dilapidating and vastly ignored temple complex is being restored, the heavy vegetation around the temples and the tranquillity of the area makes it one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Punjab.

Moreover, this conglomeration of temples is one of the largest sacred sites for the followers of Hindu religion in Punjab.

Location: Kalar Kahar Road, Katas, Chakwal

Timings: Open 24 hours

Entry Fee: None

Noor Mahal

Noor Mahal in Bahawalpur is also called ‘Palace of Lights’

Standing proudly in the middle of a well-landscaped garden, the spectacular Noor Mahal is one of the most stunning reminders of the affluence of the Nawabs of Bahawalpur. Also known as the ‘Palace of Lights,’ this palatial building is situated a 3-hour drive away from Lahore in the once-princely state of Bahawalpur. The awe-inspiring Italian-style royal palace, which is presently being managed by the Pakistan Army, is one of the most noteworthy cultural heritage sites in Punjab.

The foundation for Noor Mahal was laid by Nawab of Bahawalpur Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV in 1872. It was completed in 1875 and cost around PKR 12 lakh at the time. As the story goes, the nawab, who was also known as the ‘Shah Jahan of Bahawalpur’ for his interest in architecture, had built this lavish double-storey palace for his wife. However, after she refused to live there due to the close-by Basti Maluk Graveyard, Noor Mahal served as a guest house for other members of the royal family of Bahawalpur, dignitaries and other prominent personalities. Occasionally, Noor Mahal was also used as a State Court.

The luxurious Noor Mahal, one of the most renowned historical buildings in Punjab, covers an area of 8 kanal and comprises two floors and a basement. The palace has 32 rooms in total, each of them boasting an extremely lavish décor, beautiful carpets, extravagant curtains, gorgeous ornaments and other fixtures. The architecture of the building features design elements from both the traditional Islamic architecture and the Corinthian order.

Location: Bahawalpur Cantt, Bahawalpur.

Timings: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Moreover, a light show at Noor Mahal is usually held around 7:30 PM every Saturday and Sunday.

Entry Fee: None

Derawar Fort

Derawar Fort is one of the oldest forts in Pakistan

The sprawling Derawar Fort located about 100 kilometres south of Bahawalpur in Ahmedpur East is one of the oldest forts in Pakistan, dating all the way back to the 9 th century. Situated in the picturesque Cholistan Desert, this fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Punjab.

Visible for miles in the vast desert, this fort may appear as a dilapidating red-bricked structure at a first glance, but it boasts a rather long and interesting history. According to the experts, Derawar Fort was constructed back in the 9 th century as a tribute to King of Jaisalmer and Bahawalpur Rawal Deoraj Bhatti. Initially, it was called Dera Rawal, which gradually became Derawar. Then, in 1733, Nawab of Bahawalpur Sadeq Mohammad Khan I restored the fort to its current state before losing it. In 1804, Nawab Mubarak Khan reclaimed Derawar Fort, though it soon fell into the hands of the British army.

In 1733, Nawab of Bahawalpur Sadeq Mohammad Khan I took over and rebuilt the fort to how it looks like today. Nearly 15 years later, the Nawab lost Derawar Fort. However, Nawab Mubarak Khan reclaimed it in 1804 before the British forces invaded and captured it.

It is important to note that the fort is surrounded by brick walls spanning over an area of 1.5 kilometres with 30-metre-high bastions. Moreover, as per the archaeologists, the origin of some of the sites surrounding the fort have been traced to the Indus Valley Civilization.

Location: Derawar Fort Road, Derawar, Bahawalpur.

Timings: Open 24 hours

Entry Fee: None

Rohtas Fort

Built by Sher Shah Suri, Rohtas Fort is considered one of the best examples of Islamic military architecture in the region

Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Pakistan, the formidable Rohtas Fort is considered an epitome of military fortifications in the sub-continent. This virtually impenetrable fortress was built near the city of Dina in Jhelum District in 1541 under the orders of Pashtun King Sher Shah Suri, the founder of short-lived Suri dynasty.

This remarkably intact Rohtas Fort was constructed with an aim to prevent Mughal Emperor Humayun from invading the region following the Battle of Chausa, which he had famously lost. Owing to the fortress’ location atop an elevated hill on the Pothohar Plateau, the soldiers stationed there had a clear view of the passageway while allowing them to monitor the local Ghakkar tribe that was loyal to the Mughals.

The fortress, which has become a popular tourist attraction in Punjab, houses a small village that dates back to the era of the Suri Empire. The main complex is surrounded by four kilometres of fortified walls with 68 bastion towers and 12 gates. Also, it could hold up to 30,000 soldiers at a time.

UNESCO added Rohtas Fort to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1997 and described it as an “exceptional example of the Muslim military architecture of Central and South Asia.”

If you ever visit Jhelum, don’t forget to take a day trip to Rohtas Fort.

Location: Rohtas Fort Road, Rohtas, Jhelum.

Timings: 08:00 AM to 09:00 PM

Entry Fee: PKR 20

Khewra Salt Mines

It is the second-largest reserve of edible salt in the world

Located in the city of Khewra, near Pind Dadan Khan, Khewra Salt Mines are among the most renowned tourist destinations in Pakistan, famous among both domestic and foreign travellers alike. Along with being the largest reserve of edible salt in Pakistan, it also enjoys the status of being the oldest as well as the second-largest salt mine in the world and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It was discovered by the troops of Alexander the Great in 320 BC.

The Khewra Mines, which are famous for the production of pink Himalayan salt, is situated at an altitude of 288 meters and comprise more than 40 kilometres of tunnels. Moreover, the site has 19 levels, with only seven located above the ground and the rest below the surface.

To make the trip to Khewra Mines convenient for the visitors, the authorities have installed an electric mining train that transports one from the entrance of the mines to its main hall. The site also features impressive carvings of important landmarks, including the stunning replicas of Minar-e-Pakistan, the Great Wall of China, Badshahi Mosque and Sheesh Mahal, among others.

Owing to the fact that a lot of students and families with children visit the mines, a cafeteria has also been established on the premises. An Asthma Resort has also been set up there by the PMDC.

Location: Khewra, Jhelum.

Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: PKR 200

Hiran Minar

Hiran Minar is one of the most famous picnic spots in Punjab

One of the most popular picnic places in Punjab, the spectacular Hiran Minar is located in the suburbs of Sheikhupura. Also known as the ‘Deer Tower,’ this vast complex was once served as a hunting retreat for Mughal Emperor Jahangir. It was constructed in 1606 in the memory of the king’s favourite pet antelope, Mansraj. Given its proximity to the then-imperial city of Lahore, the lush green surroundings of Hiran Minar provided the royals and noblemen with an opportunity to the sport of hunting without having to travel too far.

The tower itself is about 100 feet tall with 214 holes on its outer surface, where the king’s hunting trophies once used to hang. The outer walls of the structure also bear intricate calligraphy praising the pet antelope. Furthermore, there is an enormous water tank right in front of Hiran Minar, from where a stone pathway connects the land to a lavish hunting pavilion called “baradari,” which was built for the emperor and his guests to rest during the excursion.

Meanwhile, the green belt surrounding the game-reserve was used as a hunting ground. To this day, Hiran Minar is one of the most peaceful tourist destinations in Punjab owing to its landscape and the thinly populated area.

Location: Hiran Minar Park Road, Sheikhupura

Timings: 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Entry Fee: None

So, which of these tourist attractions in Punjab are you planning to visit next?


Watch the video: A Visit To Derawar Fort Bahawalpur. Amazing Historical Facts Of Qila Derawar Cholistan. #PK24SEVEN (July 2022).


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