Bahawalpur. The city of Nawabs. If only I could tell you guys how much I loved this place. I collaborated with Travelwings.com on this trip and flew to Bahawalpur with my favorite travel buddy (also unpaid blog employee), Nabeel, last weekend and it was one of my best trips ever (you can read here why I chose Bahawalpur).
We were there for three days out of which one day was pretty much spent in flying in via Multan, driving to Bahawalpur and then getting lost in a market which was actually closed (what a waste, bleh). So the real action on my trip all happened on Saturday and Sunday and I’m going to split it down for you into Day 1 and Day 2 and take you along everything that I saw. EVERYTHING.
Today I’m going to talk Day 1. Day 2 will come tomorrow (you can now see here) and all trip costs, suggested itinerary, permissions needed, tips, exact shopping places will come next week (you can now see here) so stay with me, bros. Shopping post is here now. My Bahawalpur trip video is here.
All of our on-ground support in Pakistan was managed by the awesome guys at FindMyAdventure. They’re an online resource for all kinds of tours all across Pakistan (I’ll tell you more about them next week. if you have any questions leave them in the comments). They picked us up from Multan, drove us to Bahawalpur, checked us into a tiny little hotel right in the heart of the city and got us access to ALL the places we wanted to see. New best friends, basically.
So on Day 1, we mapped out a small itinerary for four places I wanted to go to, no matter what. Let’s go one by one?
DESTINATION 1: DERAWAR FORT
Departure time: 9:00 am
We had an amazing nashta of anda, paratha and chai at the hotel itself (Irfan from the hotel staff made such kickass parathas, boys). We got into our car and left for Derawar Fort which is in Cholistan, just under a couple of hours from Bahawalpur.
This guy immediately fell asleep after taking this picture. Just a casual FYI.
The drive to Derawar Fort was super pretty (in fact nearly all drives everywhere in BWP had these awesome views).
Very green and perfect roads. No toota phoota raasta.
11:00 am: We got to Derawar Fort and man was it majestic. You saw my tiny picture on Instagram (here)?, now see an even bigger perspective in this picture above (find me). It was instant love.
So grand. The fort is not open access for all, you have to request prior permission. You can however explore it from the outside, if you don’t have anyone to get you in.
I’m a fort-lover and being in one is like being in a candy store for me, so this was the best start of the trip for me.
The fort looks all solid from outside but the inside is pretty much all in ruins. I loved it all the same.
Check the carving on the door. I was going crazy imagining what it would have been like in those times. Wow.
Also flipped when we discovered this train track that disappeared underground. We actually went all the way inside and crouched down as far as we could but it was all blocked in by now. Both creepy and awesome at the same time.
This was in the rooms for the begums. The walls and ceilings had such fantastic detail.
This picture coming to you directly from a prison cell. There was an entire row of prison cells in one section, again brain was functioning at an abnormal speed imagining those times.
And here is Raza, our awesome partner and now-best friend (?) from FindMyAdventure who honestly made our trip amazing. I’m telling you now, there’s no way we could’ve had such a kickass trip without them, bas. He’s standing at the boundary of the fort (it was so much higher than it looks) overlooking the Abbasi Mosque (which is apparently an exact replica of the Moti Masjid in Delhi).
The phaansi khana/execution block at the fort. Felt eerie and sad.
The amazing gate to the fort that’s still holding up.
Naturally had to do this. Loved her pom-poms.
DESTINATION 2: THE ROYAL GRAVEYARD
Time: 12:30 pm
Time: 12:30 pm
The Royal Graveyard is about a couple of minutes drive from Derawar Fort and is where the entire Nawab family is buried. This is not open access for all and is still under the control of the Nawabs.
The Nawabs are all buried in one spot whereas these smaller tombs are for their begums. You cannot enter these smaller ones even if you’re a female.
Three cute boys: Nabeel, Raza from FindMyAdventure and Allah Jawaye, caretaker of the Royal Graveyard whose probably been here since forever (he said MANY years) and asked for photos with us himself (awwhh).
It was pretty from the outside but the inside was absolutely stunning. So, so gloriously done.
You see what I mean.
Unbelievable work on the walls.
And on the ceiling. Can you believe this? It was incredibly beautiful. We stayed here for just about half an hour and then headed to our next stop.
DESTINATION 3: SADIQ GARH PALACE
Time: 2:00 pm
Sadiq Garh Palace is in Dera Nawab about an hour from Derawar Fort (and also about an hour from Bahawalpur so it’s basically on the way to Derawar). It’s also known as the Sleeping Beauty Castle because it’s entirely abandoned. Access to this palace is pretty tough since some of the Nawab families are still inhabiting some parts of it at the back (but FindMyAdventure got us in).
I saw three palaces on this trip – all beautiful – but this one was my favorite even though it was all in ruins. The mystery of this place along with the beauty it still had just made it one of the best stops for me. It was the same for Nabeel btw.
The palace had big, very beautiful grounds all around it. It was super peaceful and very pretty.
There were no lights inside the palace so it was all dark and creepy (which is awesome in my book). You could even hear bats in the basement, woohooo.
It had a full Games of Thrones kind of entrance with a large elevated pedestal kind of space with huge mirrors behind it. SO beautiful.
We checked out a few other rooms and they were all quiet and abandoned. The original carpets were still there, some broken furniture. When this palace was abandoned, a lot of stuff was taken by people it was gifted to and some stolen by others and now it just rests like this. One of the ceilings in the palace was exactly like the mirrored one in the Royal Graveyard – still intact but worn out.
Every palace had an adjoining mosque, the guides told us the Nawabs were very disciplined about praying so they would build a mosque in every palace they set up. Just like the palace itself, this mosque was the prettiest out of all we saw. Looks like out of a fairytale, no?
Gorgeous palace grounds, kind of wild and unkept and just so beautiful.
A kickass surprise was getting to see the Nawab’s old cars completely hidden away like this. This one was totally concealed, with tree branches growing all over it.
The other one was locked up in the garage. I was SO fascinated.
Also, saw the begum’s buggy, which you can climb into like a monkey and check out (I did).
We loved, loved, LOVED Sadiq Garh. It was such a stunning place, especially when you go back and try to imagine what it must have been like in all its glory. Sadiq Garh incidentally was actually the main palace of action which we discovered later when we got to our next stop.
DESTINATION 4: NOOR MAHAL
Time: 4:00 pm
We drove back to Bahawalpur from Sadiq Garh which was about an hour’s drive. Noor Mahal is the only palace completely open for the public and has been fully maintained. It felt like there were lots of people there because a) it was open access and b) we were coming from such an isolated place like Sadiq Garh, but it was still really stunning.
The black protruding rods are all lights because the palace gets lit up at night.
Noor Mahal’s open access space is pretty small and is just one hallway which looks like this. It’s been maintained super well but I’ll still say this, Sadiq Garh wins hands down.
The ceiling, varrrry nice.
There was a small room with all old pictures from the Nawab times. I almost skipped it but I’m so glad I didn’t because once you get into them, they’re very interesting and add a lot of depth to your experience. You must spend a few minutes on them, even if you don’t believe in self-education, thanks.
We went back to the hotel for a bit because there was still some time for the day to end and we wanted to come back for the light show at Noor Mahal (which is on every Saturday). Our hotel was super close so we came back around 7:30 pm (for the 8:00 pm show) only to find out the light show had just finished (one hour ahead of schedule) because someone from the army wanted to run it sooner (WHATEVER). The staff was really nice though and apologised so much (because we had confirmed the time with them a hundred times before going back to the hotel). Anyway, we hung out at the palace which looked stunning all lit up and even if you’re not in BWP on a Saturday you should swing by to see the place all dressed up like this. It’s a beaut.
Also, checked out the tehkhaana/crypt under the palace, before heading back to the hotel, which was pretty scary (if you go alone) but also super fun.
That’s it for Day 1 guys. If you want to read more, here is Day 2. Tell me your thoughts?
My Bahawalpur trip video is here.
Please to remember: All trip costs, suggested itinerary, permissions needed, tips, hotels, exact shopping places will come next week (you can now see here). Shopping post is here now. Leave me any questions about BWP if you gots any. Bubye.
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This project is in collaboration with Travelwings.com which is an online travel agency based out of UAE. They have flight options and great fares from UAE to anywhere in Pakistan and from Pakistan to the UAE. And other than Pakistan, they have incredible travel packages to really interesting places around the world which you can discover by following them on Facebook here and Instagram here.
I also partnered with FindMyAdventure which is an online marketplace for amazing tours across Pakistan. You’ve got to see their website and all that they have on offer right here. I loved, loved, LOVED the experience with them and cannot recommend them enough. Follow them on Facebook here and Instagram here, because they keep posting awesome trips and can also do custom trips for you/your friends/your neighbors/eraaybaady.
All opinions about any collaborations are entirely my own because I don’t like anyone else’s opinions in my head. Thank youuuu.