Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Standing proudly in the midst of the Cholistan desert, the Derawar Fort is a famed hallmark of Bahawalpur. From Bahawalpur city, it takes several hours to get to the fort, with the journey being long, tiring and dust laden. But it’s worth the trouble. With the vast Cholistan desert serving as a backdrop, the majestic fort is a sight to behold.

Rai Jajja Bhati, a Hindu Rajput from Jaisalmir, was the first to build a fort on the site. However, the Nawab of Bahawalpur, Sadeq Mohammad Khan I, captured the fort in 1733 and had it rebuilt to how it looks today. The fort was taken away from the Nawab in 1747 but in 1804, Nawab Mubarak Khan reclaimed the fort.

Several archeological sites, some of which date back to the time of the Indus Valley Civilisation, surround the Derawar Fort. These sites have not been excavated yet. The fort itself is badly in need of repair and restoration work. A mosque close by is built on the design of Moti Masjid at Delhi’s Red Fort and offers an interesting contrast.

The fort has remained the set of two popular music videos in Pakistan – the first is Yeh Shaam by The Vital Signs and Shor Macha by Entity Paradigm. – Text and photos by Madeeha Syed


Comments (6) Closed



Hamid Shafiq
Jun 20, 2011 05:15pm
The fort pictures are excellent i visited the derawer fort about two years back situation is same as show in picutres. the whole fort down and down no work for preserve this nation asset even people wirte regarding its worst condition but no body cares one day when nothing is there just remains of fort. the Govt hsould preserve the fort or atleast handover to military to convert in offices then may be the fort preserve to see by future generation.
A.Bajwa
Jun 20, 2011 06:20pm
These are very useful videos. Kindly keep posting these memories of our heritage.
Vishnu Mahant
Jun 21, 2011 12:47am
This is a great place to restore, preserve and be proud of. I guess we are in awe of western structures, while places like these are totally ignored in India and Pakistan. Only if we learn to offer the world the safe tourism that we may show what we have. China has done that and they are reaping the fruits of their labor and responsibility.
Shahzad. A.
Jun 21, 2011 02:46am
Thanks for sharing these pictures. For a moment it took me back to our Golden history.
Indian Speaks
Jun 21, 2011 08:14am
...such a magnificent fort. I was totally stunned looking at the present condition of this fort. It is utter shame on the Pakistani Govt. They have proved completely futile in preserving one of the jewel of the history. The govt needs to find a proper solution in preserving not just Derawar Fort but all other dilapidated monuments across the country. Just imagine converting this fort into a heritage hotel, it has a great potential to attract tourists, generate revenue, support local industries, enormous employment opportunities & above all preserve the magnificent history that we (India & Pakistan) as a country share in common. The model of Nimrana Fort in Delhi can be a good example... Give it a thought people.
Irshad Khan
Jun 21, 2011 12:06pm
No Government in Pakistan has given any importance to historical sites. Why tourists should visit Pakistan?