12th largest city in Pakistan, Bahawalpur is home to 800,000 people. Bahawalpur has a fascinating past. It was a princely state once ruled by the Nawabs who chose Pakistan at the time of independence. Bahawalpur is a beautiful city, and one thing that makes it even more beautiful is Noor Mahal.
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The palace was built in 1872 and belonged to Nawab of Bahawalpur princely state before independence. It was designed by a British Engineer Mr Hannan on neoclassical lines. The building is beautifully built on two storeys and covers an area of 44,600 square feet.
The design is a mix of Corinthian, Islamic and subcontinental styles. It bears a resemblance to the mosque of Aitchison College, Lahore. It has five domes and a couple of verandahs. The construction of the building costs around Rs. 1.2 million.
An interesting thing about Noor Mahal is the story regarding its construction. According to legends, it was built by Nawab Sadiq. The Nawab primarily built the palace for his wife, but she only stayed there for one night. The reason was the palace’s close proximity to Basti Maluk graveyard. The building was then later used for state functions and served as a state guesthouse.
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The palace has exquisite furniture and is adorned with beautiful paintings and chandeliers. It looks like something out of a Hollywood movie. The best part is the colorful ceiling.
Pakistan Army took responsibility for it in 1999 and helped to restore it. It is now open to general public and is visited by many schools, colleges and universities too. When you move past the army check-post, you will see an expansive garden. The perfectly trimmed fresh green grass is a treat to the eyes. The stunning garden also has a fountain. As you move through the garden, you can easily spot the magnificent palace building.
You will also see a beautiful cart on your way to the palace.
The inside of the palace is extraordinary. For art and architecture lovers, it’s heaven. It has old currency notes and coins, swords, and old but still amazingly well-placed furniture. As you enter the building, you will also see an old piano that was used by the Nawab. A small cell for prisoners is also located inside the Mahal.
The palace has a whole different look at night.
— mhtoori (@muzamil_toori) March 23, 2017
If you ever get a chance to visit Bahawalpur, don’t forget to visit Noor Mahal.
Feature image by Muhammad Ashar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons