A former princely state, Bahawalpur still carries quaint reminders of its rich past– from mighty forts to resplendent palaces to mystical shrines. But the jewel in the crown continues to be Noor Mahal, the palace of light.
According to popular lore, the palace was built by Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV for his wife but she refused to live there due to its close proximity to a graveyard. Built on neoclassical lines, was completed in 1875 and covers an area of 44,600 square feet. Noor Mahal was declared a national monument and the Pakistan Army spent two years restoring the building. While the building is now open to visitors, it also serves as an army mess. Its glorious façade and interiors were saved for posterity in drama serial Noor Bano, a modern day fairy tale.
Be it the grand baby piano, massive chandeliers and the gilded furniture, the chipped mosaic floors or the ‘haunted’ dungeons, every nook and cranny of Noor Mahal has some bit of history attached to it. – Text and photos by Madeeha Syed