Introducing Derawar Fort
The best-preserved and most accessible of Cholistan’s historic remains is the dramatic fort at Derawar, 45km south of Dera Nawab. This vast square structure was built in 1733 as the headquarters of Sadiq Mohammed Khan I, the first nawab of Bahawalpur.
Visible for many kilometres, the fort has 40 enormous bastions, most of them intact, and it stands more than 30m high with a circumference of 1.5km. Most of the interior is in need of renovation and there isn’t actually that much to see. The mosque outside the fort is in good repair, however. Made of marble, it was built on the exact lines of the Moti Masjid in the Red Fort of Delhi (India). You may also be able to get a glimpse of the royal graveyard through a walled enclosure, which is a five-minute walk to the east. Its tombs are adorned with exquisite blue tiles but it’s not open to visitors unless they are accompanied by a member of the Abbasi family. The exterior of the fort warrants a visit in any case.
The fort remains the property of the Abbasi family and you must apply to the Bahawalpur PTDC to request a permit from Prince Salahuddin or Prince Falhouddin Abbasi on your behalf – allow at least a week for this (you’re charged for the phone calls to arrange the permit).