District Overview

Bahawalpur (also Bhawalpur, Bhawulpore) ( Urdu: بہاولپور ) is a city of ( 1998 pop. 403,408) located in Bahawalpur District, Punjab Pakistan. 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 of Bahawalpur is famous for its kind-hearted people known as the Saraikis.

History

Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi I, whose descendants ruled the area until it joined Pakistan in 1947, founded the city in 1748. The State of Bahawalpur was one of the largest states of British India, more than 450 kilometres long, and was ruled by General H.H. Jalalat ul-Mulk, Rukn ud-Daula, Saif ud-Daula, Hafiz ul-Mulk, Mukhlis ud-Daula wa Muin ud-Daula, Al-Haj Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V Bahadur, Nusrat Jung, Amir of the God gifted kingdom of Bahawalpur, The state maintained its sovereignty until 1955. Bahawalpur was a princely state, currently part of Punjab province, stretching along the southern bank of the Sutlej and Indus Rivers, with its capital city at Bahawalpur.

The state was counted amongst the Punjab states. In 1941, it had a population of 1,341,209, living in an area of 45,911 km² (17,494 sq mi). The state was founded in 1802 by Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi after the breakup of the Durrani Empire. His successor Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi III signed the state's first subsidiary alliance with the British on 22 February 1833, guaranteeing the internal rule of the Nawab under British suzerainty. The alliance meant British control of Bahawalpur's external relations, but the state was never a British possession and until the Independence of Pakistan in 1947 was ruled by its own Nawabs. After one century of such relations, they were dissolved by the departure of the British, when the state opted to accede to the new dominion of Pakistan, with effect from 7 October 1947, becoming a princely state of Pakistan. It was merged into the province of West Pakistan on 14 October 1955. The present town of Bahawalpur was previously known as Bahamanabad, in 1729 Nawab Amir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi conquered it. His son Nawab Amir Bahawal Khan when came into power, established capital of his State at Bahamanabad and named it after his own name as Bahawalpur. Accordingly, the whole State owned by him was also named as Bahawalpur State. Being populated by Muslims in majority, the ruler of the State opted for Pakistan in the year 1947. The present Bahawalpur District was created on 14th October 1955.

Education 

It also boasts a number of reputable educational establishments namely The Islamia University, Quaid-e-Azam Medical College and the Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur, which is one of the biggest schools in Pakistan and whole of Asia. The weather is hot and dry. Summer temperatures reach high forties degrees Celsius. There is very little rainfall.

Zoos

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 Sohanra National Park, one of the few safaris in the country housing large animals including lions and rhinoceros.

Economy

Bahawalpur has only one railroad bridge over the Sutlej River, making it an important rail center. 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, cotton textiles, carpets, and pottery. Bahwalpur has also a sugar mill which is almost 40 minutes drive away from the city.

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 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. 

Cholistan 

Farther east, the Rohi, or Cholistan, is a barren desert tract, bounded on the north and west by the Hakra depression with ruins of old settlements along its high banks; it is still inhabited by nomads. It is at a distance of 30 kilometers from Bahawalpur. The word 'Cholistan' is derived from the word 'cholna' which means moving.

It covers an area of about 16,000 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. The average annual rainfall is only 12 cm, and the little cultivation 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 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. 

Desert Jeep Rally

The most interesting event held annually the month ot March is the Cholistan's Desert Jeep Rally. It is held at famous Derawar Fort and vehicles covers the round about distance of 250 km. It includes the vehicles ranging from 1300 cc to 3000 cc plus. Thrillers gathers from all over the Pakistan to enjoy the spring in sand.

Derawar Mosque 

Also worth visiting is the Derawar Mosque, which is 100 years old and is built with white marble stone. The Derawar mosque of marble is a thing of beauty, an exact replica of the Moti Masjid of the Red Fort of Delhi.

Noor Mahal

A beautiful palace built like a Italian chateau on neoclassical lines, strangely at a time when modernism had set in. Built in 1872, there are diverse stories doing the rounds regarding its construction. According to one belief, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV had the palace made for his wife. However, she was there for one night, only as she happened to see the adjoining graveyard from her balcony, and refused to spend another night there. As the story goes, it remained unused during his reign. The Noor Mahal located in Cantt and in the jurisdiction of Pakistan Army.

Channan Pir 

From Bahawalpur at a distance of 1 hour drive is Channan Pir in Cholistan desert. Channan Pir is a shrine of a Muslim saint, which lies in the desert between Derawar and Din Gargh Forts.

Burial Ground 

Another interesting place worth visiting here is the Nawab Family burial ground where many of the old Nawabs and their families are buried. The tomb here is attractive, built with marble and decorated with blue glazed style.

Uch Sharif 

Uch Sharif, 75 km from Bahawalpur is a very old town. It is believed that it came into existence way back in 500 BC. Some historians believe that Uch was there even before the advent of Bikramajit when Jains and Buddhist ruled over the sub-continent. At the time of the invasion by Alexander the Great, Uch was under Hindu rule.

The surviving shrines, sanctuaries, cemeteries, and mausoleums, including the Bibi Jawandi tomb, incorporate glazed tile and brick revetments, lime plaster panels, terra-cotta embellishments, brick structural walls laid in earth mortars, and ingenious corner tower buttresses. The famous shrines existing at Uch include those of Hazrat Bahawal Haleem, Hazrat Jalaluddin Surkh Bukhari, Makhdoom Jahanian Jahangasht, Shaikh Saifuddin Ghazrooni and Bibi Jawanadi. The shrine of Bibi Jawandi is a Central Asian design, titled in the blue and white faience.

Uch is a small town today and divided into three different quarters known as:

(i) Uch Bukhari, after Hazrat Syed Jalaluddin Bukhari Surkhposh
(ii) Uch Jilani, after the name of Hazrat Shaikh Mohammad Ghaus Qadri Jilani (Bandagi), who came from Halab in 887 AH
(iii) Uch Mughlan after the Mughal rulers.

Lal Suhanra National Park 

This park is ideal for recreation, education or research but shooting is forbidden. This park, 36 km to the east of Bahawalpur is a combination of a natural lake and forest. It covers an area of 77,480 acres of land and is spread over on both sides of Bahawalpur canal. It has watch-towers, catching ground, tourist huts, rest house, camping grounds, TDCP Resort and treks for the visitors and lovers of nature. Hog deer, ravine deer, black buck and nilgai are common. Fox, jackals, hares, porcupines, mongoose, larks, owls and hawks are also found. Wild boars are in large number in the forest areas.

Sadiq Garh Palace 

In Ahmadpur East is situated another palace called Sadiq Garh Palace. It is in the use of the ex-royal family's descendants. This palace can be termed as the prettiest of the other palaces and is embellished with most delicate and intricate paintings. It displays chandeliers and a collection of carpets, coming from all over the world, apart from armaments of European and Asian make and a number of other gifts that must have been showered on the ex-royal family of Bahawalpur from time to time.

Dera Nawab Sahib 

The palaces of the Amirs are located mainly in Dera Nawab Saheb at a distance of 22 miles from Bahawalpur; while, Derawar was the ancestral seat of the rulers of Bahawalpur. It is the gateway to Cholistan, which comprises 1,000 square miles.

Bazaars of Bahawalpur 

The main shopping centers of Bahawalpur are Shahi Bazaar, Machli Bazaar, Farid Gate and the Mall.

General Information

District Established in 1955 AD
Population 3.5 Million
Area 24830 Sq km
Density 141 Person/sq:Ms.Av
Villages 714
Union Councils 107
Literacy rate 40 %
Tehsils 6
Main Occupation Agriculture, Industry
Police Population Ratio 1: 1315
Crime Population Ratio 1: 276
Police Sub-divisions 06
Police Station 24
Police Posts 06
Road Network 2401 km