|• City||2,372 km2 (916 sq mi)|
|Elevation||461 m (1,512 ft)|
|• Density||838/km2 (2,170/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+5)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC+6)|
|Postal code type||63100|
Bahawalpur (Punjabi, Urdu: بہاولپور), located in Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. In 2007, the city's population was recorded to have risen to 798,509 from 403,408 in 1998. The city is capital of Bahawalpur District. The city was once the capital of the former princely state and later the province of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs (rulers) and counted as part of the Rajputana states (now Rajasthan, India). The city is known for its famous palaces such as the Noor Mahal, Sadiq Ghar Palace, and Darbar Mahal, as well as the ancient fort of Derawar in the Cholistan Desert bordering India. The city is located near the historical and ancient cities of Uch and Harappa, which were once a stronghold of the Delhi Sultanate and Indus Valley Civilisation. The city is home to one of the few natural safari parks in Pakistan, Lal Suhanra National Park.
The city was founded in 1748 by Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi I. As the family claimed descent from the Abbasid Caliphs the city was also called Baghdad al-jadīd (بغداد الجديد, New Baghdad). The princely state of Bahawalpur was founded in 1802 by Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan II after the break-up of the Durrani Empire. The city is over 4.51 kilometres long. Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan III signed a treaty with the British on 22 February 1833, guaranteeing the independence of the Nawab. The state acceded to Pakistan on 7 October 1947 when Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V Bahadur decided to join Pakistan at the time of independence. The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslims refugees from India settled down in the Bahawalpur state. Bahawalpur became a province of Pakistan in 1952 and was merged into the province of West Pakistan on 14 October 1955. When West Pakistan was divided into four provinces – Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab – Bahawalpur was amalgamated in Punjab.
Geography and climate
The city, which lies just south of the Sutlej River, is the site of the Adamwahan Empress Bridge, the only railway bridge over the Sutlej in Pakistan. It is situated 90 km from Multan, 420 km from Lahore, 122 km from Burewala, 90 km from Vehari, 270 km from Faisalabad and about 700 km from the national capital, Islamabad. The west region of the city is called the Sindh. It is a fertile alluvial tract in the Sutlej River valley that is irrigated by floodwaters, planted with groves of date palm trees, and thickly populated forests. The chief crops are wheat, gram, cotton, sugarcane, and dates. Mango Sheep and cattle are raised for export of wool and hides. East of Bahawalpur is the Pat, or Bar, a tract of land considerably higher than the adjoining valley. It is chiefly desert irrigated by the Sutlej inundation canals and yields crops of wheat, cotton, and sugarcane. Farther east, the Cholistan, is a barren desert tract, bounded on the north and west by the Hakra depression with mound ruins of old settlements along its high banks; it is still inhabited by nomads.
The climate is mainly hot and dry. In the summer the temperature reaches the high forties (Celsius) during the day and the nights are slightly cooler. Since the city is located in a desert environment there is little rainfall. Weather conditions reach extremes in both summer and winter. The average temperature in summer is 33 °C (91 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F) in winter. The average rainfall is 20 to 25 cm annually.
Flora and fauna
The most commonly seen animals in the city include the hog deer, ravine deer, black buck and blue bull. Fox, jackals, hares, wild boars, porcupines, mongoose, arks, owls and hawks are also found in large numbers.
The Bahawalpur Zoo, is located in Bahawalpur. Spread over an area of several acres inside the city, it contains a variety of animal species, including Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, hyenas, leopards, and peacocks. The zoo has a collection of 130 animals and 700 birds from tropical regions, particularly those found in the Cholistan region. The zoo occasionally breeds and supplies animals to other zoos in the country. It also has an aquarium and zoological museum with stuffed rare birds and animals.
Located 35 kilometres east of the city is the Lal Suhanra National Parkhousing large animals including lions and rhinoceros.
Languages spoken in Bahawalpur include:
- Punjabi Language different dialects including Saraiki, Riasti, Standard (Majhi) and Choolistani spoken by majority of the population. Baba Bulleh Shah a legendary poet of Punjabi language was born in Uch near Bahawalpur.
- Urdu, the national language, widely understood
- English, the official language, is also understood and spoken by the educated elite
- Balochi is also spoken by some people.
The main crops for which Bahawalpur is recognised are cotton, sugarcane, wheat, sunflower seeds, rape/mustard seed and rice. Bahawalpur mangoes, citrus, dates and guavas are some of the fruits exported out of the country. Vegetables include onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes and carrots. Being an expanding industrial city, the government has revolutionised and libertised various markets, allowing the caustic soda, cotton ginning and pressing, flour mills, fruit juices, general engineering, iron and steel re-rolling mills, looms, oil mills, poultry feed, sugar, textile spinning, textile weaving, vegetable ghee and cooking oil industries to flourish.
Bahawalpur lies at the junction of trade routes from the east, south-east, and south. It is a center for trade in wheat, cotton, millet, and rice grown in the surrounding region. Dates and mangoes are also grown here. Canals supply water for irrigation. The principal industries are cotton ginning, rice and flour milling, and the hand weaving of textiles.
Soap making and cotton ginning are important enterprises; cotton, silk, embroidery, carpets, and extraordinarily delicate pottery are produced. Factories producing cottonseed oil and cottonseed cake were built in the 1970s. It is an important marketing center for the surrounding areas and is located on the crossroads between Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. Bahawalpur is also known for its distinctively embroidered slippers and shoes and filigree pottery.
Bahawalpur has only one railway bridge, the Adamwahan (Empress) Bridge, over the Sutlej River, and also has rail links with Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi, the capital of Sindh (which is 899 km from Bahawalpur), making it an important rail centre. The surrounding area is mostly agricultural, which allows agricultural exports to many parts of the world. There is also a large market town for mangoes, dates, wheat, sugarcane, and cotton that brings in continuous demand all year round. It has soap making and cotton spinning factories, as well as enterprises producing silk and cotton textiles, carpets, and pottery. Bahwalpur has sugar mills that provide some of the export market out of the country.
Punjab is Pakistan's most fertile province, rich in both agriculture and ancient history. It is also one of the more stable of the country's regions. The prosperous and hospitable town of Bahawalpur is a gentle introduction to the area, which makes the city an ideal tourist destination. From here one can journey into Cholistan – a sandy wasteland dotted with nomadic communities and windswept forts – or the Lal Suhanra National Park, an important wildlife reserve. Further north is Harappa, which is an important site of the Indus Valley Civilization. Bahawalpur is the most southerly town in the Punjab. There are daily flights from Islamabad about 555 km (344 mi) away. Most of the major destinations in the Punjab can be reached by car, bus, coach, and train.According to PSMA(Pakistan Sugar Mills Association) about 22% of Pakistan's sugar is produced in Bahawalpur division (including Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan).
The city of Bahawalpur has a rich heritage and is an important hot spot for historians as well as archaeologists. Bahawalpur is known for its cotton, silk, embroidery, carpets, and extraordinarily delicate pottery. The Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) has established a Craft Development Center for Cholistan area, outside Farid Gate, Bahawalpur from where handicrafts manufactured in Cholistan can be purchased. Some of the souvenirs produced in the city include:
- Flassi – 4 ft by 7 ft, made of camel hair and cotton yarn; it is used for wall hanging, as a decoration piece and a carpet.
- Gindi or Rilli – Made of small pieces of many colours of cotton cloth and needlework; they can be used as wall hangings, bed covers, carpets and blankets.
- Changaries – Like big plaques, these are made of palm leaves in different bright colours with beautiful patterns and geometric designs. These are used for keeping the 'chapattis' and also as a wall decoration.
- Khalti – Like a purse embroidered on top with multicoloured threads.
- Artwork – An attractive type of embroidery done on dupatta, kurta and chaddar, etc.
The main shopping centres of Bahawalpur are Shahi Bazaar, Machli Bazaar, Farid Gate and the Mall. The commercial area in Satellite Town is a newly developed center that is gaining popularity. A few shopping malls, including Bobby Plaza, Takbeer Shopping Mall, Time, and Prince, cater for all kinds of needs. Shopping is a major attraction in the city; the city is bustling with traders and craftsmen selling all sorts of artwork for travellers and tourists.
East of Bahawalpur is the Cholistan Desert, which covers an area of about 15,000 km2 and extends into the Thar Desert of India. The region was once watered by the Hakra River, known as the Saravati in vedic times. At one time there were 400 forts in the area and archaeological finds around the Derawar Fort, the only place with a perennial waterhole, indicate that it was contemporaneous with the Indus Valley Civilisation. The average annual rainfall is only 12 cm, and the area's scant cultivation is made possible by underground wells, drawn up by camels. The water is stored in troughs, built by the tribes, between sandhills and din waterholes called tobas. The people are racially similar to those in Rajasthan – tall, with sharp features. They live in large, round, mud and grass huts, usually built on the top of sandhills. On the whole, they are pastoral and nomadic. The main tribes are the Chachar, Mehr, Lar, Paryar, Channar, Chandani and Bohar. The forts here were built at 29 km intervals, which probably served as guard posts for the camel caravan routes. There were three rows of these forts. The first line of forts began from Phulra and ended in Lera, the second from Rukhanpur to Islamgarh, and the third from Bilcaner to Kapoo. Built with double walls of gypsum blocks and mud, they are all in ruins now. Some of them date back to 1000 BC, and were destroyed and rebuilt many times.
Even with all the markets and forts, one thing for which Bahawalpur is recognised above all others is the numerous palaces that still remain intact ever since the fall of the Nawabs. There are countless palaces in the city, locally known as Mahals. Some of the most famous include: Noor Mahal, Gulzar Mahal, Darbar Mahal, Shimla Khoti Sadiq Ghar Palace and Darbar Mahal. The city also has a city gate called Farid Gate, which in its heyday provided the only entrance to the city for its rulers. The gate still remains and is now located in a busy market in the inner city. The Bahawalpur Museum and Bahawalpur National Library house various collections of coins, medals, postage stamps of the former state of Bahawalpur, manuscripts, documents, inscriptions, wood carvings, camel skin paintings, historical models and stone carvings from Islamic and pre-Islamic eras. There is a complete set of medals of all classes issued by the ex-state to its military officers, civilians, and other important citizens of the ex-state.
The city also has several mausoleums of prominent leaders who fought and defended the region over several thousands of years. Some of the most prolific include the tombs of Channen Peer Tomb Yazman and Mausoleums of Haugha Sahib. There is also an old fort of Munde Shahid, 50 km from Bahawalpur and Marot Fort, which are considered to be antiquities. A place outside the Marot Fort is known as 'Baithak Maula Ali'. The tomb of Naugaza is located in the Munde Sharif Fort.
The city boasts a number of reputable educational establishments, most notably The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Quaid-e-Azam Medical College,Sadiq Girls Women University and Sadiq Public School, which is one of the largest boarding schools in Pakistan. Other top schools include Alpina School, Beaconhouse School Bahawalpur,The Central Public High School, The Moon system of education, The City School, Bloomfield Hall Schools, Askari Kids College,Aims system of education, Umm Al-Qura Education System, Progressive Schooling System, Dar e arqam School, Jinnah Public School, Rangers Public School and College, The Climber Public School, Army Public School, Salsaal Public School, and Dominican Convent School. Notable universities and colleges include: Government Sadiq Egertin College, Post Graduate College,Punjab College Bahawalpur, Arrshhouse College, Government Degree College, Government Sadiq Degree College for Girls, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Government College of Technology,The Best college Bahawalpur,Government Sadiq College of Commerce, Government Polytechnic Institute, Government Polytechnic Institute For Women, Government Technical Training Institute,Government Technical High School Bahawalpur, Allama Iqbal College of Commerce, Institute of Science and Information Technology and Government Para Medical School.
Bahawalpur is well connected with various cities in Pakistan. The city has its own airport built by the Dubai Civil Aviation Department and the CAA. Bahawalpur Airport links the city with various Pakistani cities such as Dera Ghazi Khan, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore with the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The airline has launched international flights to Dubai, and plans to introduce more international destinations. There are daily train and bus services from Multan, Lahore, Sukkur and Karachi to Bahawalpur. Taxicabs and rickshaws are plentiful in the city. Cars are also available for hire in the city.
Bahawalpur is home to Bahawalpur Stags, the team which participates in the Twenty 20 and List A cricket tournaments. The inaugural Quaid-i-Azam Trophy in 1953-54 was won by the Bahawalpur cricket team. Bahawal Stadium is the home ground of the team. It hosted a Test match between India and Pakistan in 1954-55, India's inaugural tour of Paksitan. It was the first cricket ground in Western Pakistan to host a Test match.
- Bahawalpur Museum
- Bahawalpur Zoo
- Derawar Fort
- Islamia University
- List of people from Bahawalpur
- Noor Mahal
- Quaid-e-Azam Medical College
- Army Public School & College
- Sadiq Public School
- Stefan Helders, World Gazetteer. "Bahawlpur". Retrieved 17 April 2006.
- Bahawalpur: Area & Population Official Bahawalpur Government Website, Retrieved 17 September 2009
- Christopher Buyers, Royal Ark website. "Bahawalpur: The Abbasi Dynasty". Archived from the original on 15 November 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
- Farina Mir (2010). The Social Space of Language: Vernacular Culture in British Colonial Punjab. University of California Press. Retrieved 5 March 2014. Page 5
- Geeti Sen (1 January 1997). Crossing Boundaries. Orient Blackswan. Retrieved 5 March 2014. Page 127
- India Census Commissioner (1902). Census of India, 1901, Volume 17, Part 1, Page 280. Rajputana Mission Press. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- Agricultural Assessment of Bahawalpur District
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