The city of Bahawalpur although not an ancient one yet possess an array of glorious traditions. It was established about 200 years back by Nawab Bahawal Khan I as a capital of the Bahawalpur State. It enjoyed this status till 1954 when the state was abolished to form one unit.
Bahawalpur was the largest and richest state which announced its unconditional merger with Pakistan in 1947. It has length of more than 450 km bordering Sindh, Baluchistan and many districts of the Punjab.
In Bahawalpur one can find the best educational, health, administrative and judicial institutions. The glorious palaces in the city are gem to enhance its beauty. Above all the clean and peaceful environment of the city has made it worth living and growing.
It is housed in a building having fine architectural value. The foundation stone of this building was laid by the then Governor and Viceroy of India Sir Rufus Daniel Lssacs on 8 marches, 1924 to mark the installation of late Nawab of Bahawalpur Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V. the central library was established in 1947 in this building. It has a vast collection of books and rare manuscripts. It is one of the best libraries in Pakistan and visited by students and scholars from within the country and abroad.
Bahawalpur was the modest museum with 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 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 zoological garden of Bahawalpur is considered to be the one of the best in the country. Spread over an area of 25 acres of land, it has an interesting collection of 120 animals and 750 birds of tropical areas, particularly those found in this 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.
Bahawalpur has one of the finest stadiums in the country having fine cricket grounds, 2 football grounds, one basketball court and six lawn tennis courts and a covered swimming pool. There is also a hockey stadium, which is considered to be the second best in the country after Karachi. It can accommodate 13000 people at a time.
Shrine of Muluk Shah:
The shrine of Muluk Shah, a popular saint of his time, is located in the city and visited by the devotees on every Thursday, ashura and Eid days. A small fair is also held here annually.
Jamia Masjid Al-Sadiq:
It was made by Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V at the elevation of more than 12 feet from earth. It can house 50000 to 60000 people at a time during the Eid festivals. It is the well reputed mosque in Pakistan like other prominent mosques of Pakistan
Cholistan is locally known as Rohi. This famous desert is 30 km from Bahawalpur and comprises of an area of 16000 sq.km which extends upto Thar desert extending over to Sindh. The word Cholistan is derived from ‘cholna’ which means moving. The people of cholistan lead a semi-nomadic life moving from one place to another in search of water and fodder for their animals.
Places of interest in Cholistan
Derawar Fort :
Derawar fort is located 48 km from Dera Nawab sahib. It is still in good condition. The rampart walls are intact and still guarded by personal guards of Ameer of Bahawalpur. The tombs of the ex rulers of Bahawalpur and their families are located in this fort. The tomb has a nice glazed blue tile work. Prior permission of senior Ameer of Bahawalpur is required to enter the fort.
Bahawalpur is connected by air from Karachi and Islamabad.
By Rail / Road:
There are daily train and bus services from Multan, Lahore, sukkur, Karachi etc. to Bahawalpur.
Horse drawn vehicles (Tongas), and rickshaws ply in the city. Cars are also available for hire in the city.
The main shopping centers are shahi bazaar, machli bazaar, Fareed gate and the Mall.