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Bahawalpur بہاولپور

Location in Pakistan

Coordinates: 29°23′44″N 71°41′1″E / 29.39556°N 71.68361°E / 29.39556; 71.68361






Bahawalpur District


Bahawalpur Tehsil

Union councils



 - Nazim

Tariq Basheer Cheema

 - Naib nazim


 - City

2,372 km2 (915.8 sq mi)


461 m (1,512 ft)

Population (2007)[3]

- City



838/km2 (2,170.4/sq mi)



Time zone


 - Summer (DST)




Bahawalpur (Punjabi, Urdu: بہاولپور), located in the province of Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. The city was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs (King's) and counted as part of the the Rajputana states (now Rajasthan, India). The city is known for its famous palaces such as the Noor Mahal, Sadiq Ghar Palace, Darbar Mahal as well as the ancient fort of Derawar located in the Cholistan Desert bordering India. The city also is located near the historical and ancient cities of Uch and Harappa which was once a stronghold of the Delhi Sultanate and Indus Valley Civilisation. The city is also home to one of the few natural safari parks in the country, Lal Suhanra National Park.

The population according to the 2007 data was recorded to have risen to 798,509 compared to the 1998 census, 403,408[4]. Saraiki is the local language, while Urdu and English are official languages used in various educational and government institutions. Bahawalpur is located south of the Sutlej River and lies in the Cholistan region near the Thar Desert. It is situated 90 km from Multan, 420 km from Lahore, 270 km from Faisalabad.

The main crops which Bahawalpur is recognised for are Cotton, Sugarcane, Wheat, Sun Flower Seed, Rape/Mustard Seed and Rice. Bahwalpur Mangoes, Citrus, Dates and Guavas are some of the famous fruits exported out of the country as well as Onion, Tomato, Cauliflower, Potatoes and Carrot. Being an industrial expanding city the government has revolutionised and libertised various markets allowing the Caustic Soda, Cotton Ginning & Pressing, Flour Mills, Fruit Juices, General Engineering, Iron & Steel Re-rolling Mills, Looms, Oil Mills, Poultry Feed, Sugar, Textile Spinning, Textile Weaving and Vegetable Ghee & Cooking Oil industries to flourish.[5]


Main article: Bahawalpur (princely state)

 Map of Bahawalpur Division before they were axed in 2000.

According to the Abbassi historians, the city of Bahawalpur was founded in 1748 by Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi I, who ruled the area until the independent state joined Pakistan in 1947. The city which was once a princely state claimed to be one of the largest states of British India, more than 451 kilometres long, and was ruled by Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V Bahadur[6] who decided to join Pakistan at the time of independence in 1947.


A photograph of an inner market in central Bahawalpur, c.1980


Noor Mahal, one of the residences of the Nawabs (King's) of Bahawalpur

The Royal House of Bahawalpur is said to be of Arabic origin and claim descent from Abbas, progenitor of the Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad and Cairo. Sultan Ahmad II, son of Shah Muzammil of Egypt left his country and arrived in Sindh with a large following of Arabs in 1370. He 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.[citation needed] The Nawab entered into Treaty relations with the HEIC on 22 February 1833. The state acceded to the Dominion of Pakistan on 7 October 1947 and was merged into the province of West Pakistan on 14 October 1955.

Bahawalpur was formerly the capital of the state and now is the district and regional headquarters of the Bahawalpur District and Tehsil. It is an important marketing center for the surrounding areas and is located on the cross roads between Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi.

Geography and climate

The City, which lies just south of the Sutlej River, it is the site of the Adamwahan Empress Bridge, the only railway bridge over the Sutlej in Pakistan. It is situated 90 km from Multan, 420 km from Lahore, 122 km from Burewala, 90 km from Vehari, 270 km from Faisalabad and about 700 km from the national capital, Islamabad. The west region of the city is called the Sindh. It is a fertile alluvial tract in the Sutlej River valley that is irrigated by floodwaters, planted with groves of date palm trees, and thickly populated forests. The chief crops are wheat, gram, cotton, sugarcane, and dates. Sheep and cattle are raised for export of wool and hides. East of Bahawalpur is the Pat, or Bar, a tract of land considerably higher than the adjoining valley. It is chiefly desert irrigated by the Sutlej inundation canals and yields crops of wheat, cotton, and sugarcane. Farther east, the Cholistan, is a barren desert tract, bounded on the north and west by the Hakra depression with mound ruins of old settlements along its high banks; it is still inhabited by nomads.

The climate is mainly hot and dry. In summer's the temperature reaches high forties degrees Celsius during the day and the nights slightly cooler. Since the city is located in a desert environment there is little rainfall. The weather conditions in reach extremes in both summer and winter. Average temperature in summer is 33c and 18c in winter. Rainfall is very scarce and scanty. The average rainfall is 20 to 25 cm annually.


Bahawalpur is one of the largest district of the Punjab covering an area of 24830 It has peculiar demographic, topographic and geographical characteristics. The district is situated almost in the center of the country at an elevation of 152 meters from the sea levels. The population of Bahawalpur dist. has increased from 1.453 million in 1981 to 2.411 million in 1998 showing a growth rate of 3.88% per year as compare with 3.3% of Punjab. Population density has increased from 59 in 1981 to 97 in 1998 as compared witn 353 of the Punjab. The majority of Bahawalpur's residents speak Saraiki, English, Punjabi and Urdu. The principal inhabitants of the region surrounding Bahawalpur are Jat and Baluchi people.

Flora and fauna

The most commonly seen animals in the city include the Hog deer, ravine deer, black buck and blue bull. Fox, jackals, hares, Wild boars, porcupines, mongoose, arks, owls and hawks are also found in large numbers. Lal Suhanra National Park, one of the few zoos in Pakistan is located in the city. Covering an area of several acres within the city limits, it contains a variety of animal species including Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, hyenas, leopards, and peacocks alongside a variety of other animals. Currently being one of the few safari parks in the country it houses large animals, including lions and rhinoceros.



Darbar Mahal, a former palace of the Nawabs of Bahawalpur.


Irrigation from canals such as this, provide the city with fertile soil for various crop production

Bahawalpur is also an important agricultural training and educational center. Soapmaking and cotton ginning are important enterprises; cotton, silk, embroidery, carpets, and extraordinarily delicate pottery are produced. Factories producing cottonseed oil and cottonseed cake were built in the 1970s. It is an important marketing center for the surrounding areas and is located on the crossroads between Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. Bahawalpur is also known for its distinctly embroidered slippers and shoes and the filigree pottery which is made here.

Bahawalpur has only one railway bridge, the Adamwahan (Empress) Bridge, over the Sutlej River, and also has rail links with Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province and Karachi, the capital of Sindh (which is 899 km from Bahawalpur), 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 which provides some of the export market out of the country.

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, which makes the city an ideal tourist destination. 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 555 km (344mi) away. Most of the major destinations in the Punjab can be reached by car, bus, coach, and train.

A recent report on the agro-economy of Bahawalpur and a number of its districts, which includes an agro-economic survey, investment climate review and economic growth diagnostic provides a comprehensive overview of the local agrarian economy, its interface with the national economy and the main drivers and constraints to growth. The report also provides a comprehensive assessment of the major policy and institutional challenges to future economic development.[7] The city also has an attractive economy, lying at the junction of trade routes from the east, south-east, and south. It is a center for trade in wheat, cotton, millet, and rice grown in the surrounding region. Dates and mangoes are also grown here. Canals supply water for irrigation. The principal industries are cotton ginning, rice and flour milling, and the handweaving of textiles.



Uch Sharif Tomb is an ancient city located near the city


Sadiq Ghar Palace, is in urgent need of restoration, however, lack of government interest the palace has been closed to the public

The city of Bahawalpur is a famour tourist destination for not only locals but for its rich heritage provides an important hot spot for historians as well as archeologists. Bahawalpur is known for its cotton, silk, embroidery, carpets, and extraordinarily delicate pottery. 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. Some of the souvernirs produced in the city include, 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 colours 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 coloured threads. Artwork - It is an attractive type of embroidery done on dupatta, kurta and chaddar etc.

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 cater for all kinds of needs. Shopping is a major attraction in the city, the city is bustling with traders and craftsmen selling all sorts of artwork for travellers and tourists.


Derawar Fort is on the outskirts of the city in the Cholistan Desert


The Cholistan Jeep Rally is held in the city every year in the Cholistan desert

East of Bahawalpur is the Cholistan Desert which covers an area of about 15,000 km2 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 Derawar 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 Suhanra National Park, one of the few safaris in the country housing large animals, including lions and rhinoceros. The Bahawalpur Wildlife Zoo has a collection of one hundred and thirty animals and seven hundred birds of tropical regions, particularly those found in Cholistran region. The zoo has the distinction of occasional breeding of lions and supply of beasts to other zoos in the country. It also has an aquarium and zoological museum with stuffed rare birds and animals.


Noor Mahal lit at night after being newly renovated


Bahawalpur Library

Even with all the markets and forts, one thing that Bahawalpur is recognised above all others is the numerous palaces that still remain intact ever since the fall of the Nawabs. There are countless palaces, locally known as Mahals in the city. Some of the most famous include: Noor Mahal, Gulzar Mahal, Darbar Mahal, Shimla Khoti Sadiq Ghar Palace, Darbar Mahal. The city also has a city gate called Farid Gate, which in its hayday provides the only entrance to the city for its kings. The gate still remains and now is located in a busy market in the inner city. The Bahawalpur Museum and Bahawalpur National Library house various collections of coins, medals, postage stamps of former state of Bahawalpur, manuscripts documents, inscriptions, wood carvings, camel skin paintings, historical models and stone carvings etc. of Islamic and pre Islamic period. There is a complete set of medals of all classes issued by the ex-state to its military officers/ civilians and to other important citizens of ex-state.

The city also has several mausoleums of prominent leaders who fought and defended the region over several thousands of years. Some of the most profilic include the tombs of Channen Peer Tomb Yazman and Mausoleums of Haugha Sahib. There is also an old fort of Munde Shahid, 50 km from Bahawalpur and Marot Fort which 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.



Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur


Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur designed by A. R. Hye

The city 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. Other famous schools include Beaconhouse School Bahawalpur, The City School, Alpina School, Army Public School and The Educators. throughout the country. Some of the most notable include: Government Sadiq Egertin College (SE College), Government Sadiq Degree College for Girls, ITLinkzz ( Institute of Information Technology & Professional Studies), The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Post Graduate College, Govt. College of Technology, Govt. Sadiq College of Commerce, Govt. Polytechnic Institute for Women, Govt. Technical Training Institute, and Allama Iqbal College of Commerce.


Bahawalpur is well connected with various cities in Pakistan. The city has its own airport built by the Dubai Civil Aviation Department and the CAA. Bahawalpur Airport links the city with various Pakistani cities such as Dera Ghazi Khan, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore with the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The airline has also launched international flights to Dubai with plans to introduce more international destinations. There are daily train and bus services from Multan, Lahore, sukkur, Karachi etc. to Bahawalpur. Tongas (hourse carts) and rickshaws are plentiful in the city. Cars are also available for hire in the city.


Thank you,

Adil Rizwan Khan

Architectural Draftsman

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