Passing by the Cholistan of Bahawalpur, Fort Derawar, the history looks back and talks of the bygone lanes. The slow sauntering camels ring the knells in the silence of the desert.
And their feet imprint their existence on the sand and are very soon swept away by the wind. Soliloquy of the past can be heard in the citadels erected in the midst of the desert.
Fort Derawar: Bahawalpur
Fort Derawar of Bahawalpur is one of such monuments where history unfurls its secrets. The Fort, though not preserved in a satisfactory way, reminds of the age of Abbasis who captured it from the royal family of Jaisalmir in 1735. The Abbasis lost this fort in 1747 during the reign of Nawab Bahawal Khan but got it back in the hands of Nawab Mubarak Khan in 1804.
The grand walls of elegant red bricks augment the royal thinking of defence on each side of the fort. 40 meters high circumference wall enhances the grandeur of the fort. Small underground cells are situated on the western side of the fort which are telling of the ravages of time. According to the ancient tales there is a treasure of gold buried somewhere in the fort. The secret of converting metal into gold was unfolded to the Prince Deoraj in the Fort, it is said.
Imitating Moti Mosque of Delhi, Nawab Bahawal Khan constructed a superb mosque with delicate marble and domes in 1849.There is another fable that some of the companions of the Holy Prophet Peace be upon Him and some other Muslim preachers and reformers are buried near the fort. The heads and heirs of Abbasis are buried only a few hundred yards away from the great Fort. Besides some ladies’ graves in the corner, there are graves and tombs of:
Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan (2nd)
Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan (2nd)
Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan (3rd)
Nawab Fateh Muhammad Khan
Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan (4th)
Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan (4th)
Nawab Muhammad Bahawal khan (5th)
Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan (5th)
Rahim Yar Khan
Derawar is an ancient place which is said to be pre historic. Clues from the history tell us that it was present before Harappa civilization. Alexander the great crossed the Hakra River near Derawar. Abbasis made it their capital and spread Islam in this area of Hinduism. In the southwest of Fort Derawar, the presence of a dry Delta traces the existence of River Hakra which changed its course centuries ago. This delta shows the water of the river stopped here and used for agrarian and rustic usage.
The whispering cool breeze in the morning, lutes of the shepherds and travellers from the desolate desert spread on miles, itinerant culture, blistering sun at noon and starry nights fascinate the visitors. Camel riders travelling at night break the silence of the desert with the bells of their animals. The life of the people living in Derawar is not a plain sailing as the place is devoid of the basic necessities of life. Their life is always at a stake due to the wild animals and insects especially snakes.