889 kms from Karachi. The founder of the state of Bahawalpur was Nawab Bahawal
Khan Abbasi I. The Abbasi family ruled over the State for more than 200 years
(1748 to 1954). During the rule of the last Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi
V, Bahawalpur State was merged with Pakistan in 1954. Bahawalpur was formerly
the capital of the state and now is the District and Divisional Headquarters of
It is an important marketing centre for the surrounding areas and is located on
the cross roads between Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. Saraiki is the
local language of the area. Urdu, Punjabi and English are also spoken and
understood by most the people. There are three palaces, the main one Noor Mehal.
Bahawalpur is also known for its distinctly embroidered slippers and shoes and
the filigree pottery, which is made here. It has a marble mosque in the Fawara
Chowk and a few British buildings like the Science College. Bahawalpur has a
modest museum having a fine collection of coins, medals, postage stamps of
former State of Bahawalpur, manuscripts, documents, inscriptions, wood carvings,
camel skin paintings, historical models and stone carving etc. of Islamic and
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 sand hills and din waterholes called
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 sand hills. 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.
Uch Sharif, 75
km from Bahawalpur is a very old town. It is believed that it existed 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.
Certain historians say that Alexander came to Uch after conquering northern
parts of India and spent over a fortnight in they city and renamed it
Alexandria. Some have mentioned Uch by the name of Sikandara or Iskalanda.
described it as the most flourishing and beautiful town perched upon the plateau
near the confluence of the Chenab and Ravi rivers. 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
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.
Mosque at Bhong
Bhong is in the
Rahim Yar Khan district and is about 200 km from Bahawalpur. This mosque was
built by Rais Ghazi, a local landlord of Bhong. Gold leaves have been used for
the intricate decorative work in the mosque, which has made it famous for its
beauty, and the stylish calligraphic work.
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 on 77480 acres
of land and spread over on the both sides of Bahawalpur canal. It has
watchtowers, catching ground, tourist huts, rest house, camping grounds, TDCP
Resort with 6 A/C Bed Rooms 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. Lal Suhanra National Park
which is actually a wildlife sanctuary worth a visit.