Bahawalpur is one of the safest cities in Punjab. It has its own airport which connect all major cities in Pakistan. PIA operate in Bahawalpur to Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad. A new airport is also built near the old airport and it is expected that international flights will operate at the new airport.
The Founder of the state of Bahawalpur was Nawab Bahawal Khan Abasi-I. the Abasi family ruled over the state for more than 200 years (1748 – 1954). During the rule of last Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abasi-V, Bahawalpur state was merged with Pakistan in 1954. Bahawalpur was formally the capital of the state and now is the district and divisional Headquarters of Bahawalpur Division. It is an important marketing center for the surrounding areas and located on the crossroad between Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. Saraiki is the local language of the area. Urdu, Punjabi and English are also spoken and understood by the most of the people.
Cholistan Desert of Bahawalpur – You can make an intersting and worthwile excursion from Bahawalpur, a half day trip (no four-wheel drive vehicle required) to Derawar Fort (Qila Derawar), through the semi-desert of Cholistan. Best to take a guided tour for Derawar fort
As of 03/2015, you do not need permission from the present Amir of Bahawalpur to get inside the fort anymore. It is now open to tourists and heavily frequented by Pakistani tourists.
The drive takes two hours to reach there through fascinating barren landscape. The Cholistan Desert covers 26,000 sq km (10,000 sq miles) and extends into the Thar desert to India. The whole area was once well watered by the river Ghaggar, now called the Hakara in Pakistan, and known in vedic times as the Sarasvati. All along the 500 km (300 miles) of the dried-up river are over 400 archaeological sites. Most of these date from the Indus civilisation, 45,00 years ago, and are clustered round Derawar Fort, the only perennial water hole in the desert.
There is very little to make out today. The desert has an average rainfall of 12 cm (5 inches) a year, and there is very little civilisation. The underground water is brackish. The few people of the desert dig artificial wells in the troughs between the sand hills and use camels to draw the water up.
Fort Darawar– Derawar Fort (Qila Derawar) is in good condition, its walls are intact. Its age is unknown. The tombs of the Amirs of Bahawalpur are also at Derawar, decorated with attractive blue glazed tiles contrasting with the ochre landscape. Some of the cannons which were used times ago by the Army of Bahawalpur are also kept in this fort.
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