This former princely state was ruled by the Nawabs of the Abbasi family until the year 1955. Due to the riches and values contributed by the ruler family the city inherited a rich architectural legacy which lives on till today.

The eleventh largest city in the state of Pakistan, Bahawalpur is located in the province of Punjab, near the Sutlej River. The name Bahawalpur itself radiates so much power and significance. The urban fabric of Bahawalpur is marked by grand forts, magnificent palaces and the shrines present in the Uuch Sharif.

Exploring the streets of Bahawalpur one can not deny the spiritual and traditional contribution of the palaces to the urban sphere of the city. The rich taste and passion for beauty of the rulers was manifested in the palaces of Bahawalpur

1. Noor Mahal

Photo taken by Usman Shahid

Starting off with one of the oldest palaces, Noor Mahal was constructed during the British Raj in India in 1872. The palace contains elements of the neo-classical style. According to legend, Nawab Adnan Abbasi IV had the palace made for his wife. However, she refused to spend time in this palace when she saw the adjoining graveyard from her balcony.

The exterior of the palace is dressed is made of colorful bricks, the interior consists of thick carpets, magnificent paintings, gardens which have fountains and wells adding more to the beauty of this place. The palace contains many items from the Nawab’s time period which make it a great site for tourist who have a love for architecture and history. However, the palace is in the possession of Pak army which uses it as a guest house for hosting meetings with foreign delegations.

2. Darbar Mahal


Photo by Moiz Ismaili 

Darbar Mahal is one of the most significant architectural pieces of that era. Built by Nawal Bahawal Khan in 1904, this palace was formerly known as the ‘Bhawal Garh’. The palace was completed during 1905 and was dedicated to one of the Nawab’s wives. 

The palace contains elements of both local and foreign styles of architecture making it a masterpiece of the rich cultural legacy of Bahawalpur. This palace speaks class and elegance, unfortunately, the public has very limited access to the palace. The rest is in possession of the army for housing government offices. 

3. Gulzar Mahal

Gulzar Mahal was constructed during the reign of Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV. The architecture contains elements of European architecture similar to the Noor Mahal. The borders of the palace are concealed with electric wiring using a diesel generator. The palace is a great example of traditional and Islamic influences which makes it a great site for tourists looking to expand their knowledge of history and architecture of Bahawalpur.