Derawar fort is a large square fort located in Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan. This is the largest sustained fortress in Cholistan, however, it is rapidly crumbling and no effective preventive measures have been taken. Forty bastions of the fort are visible from miles away in Cholistan desert. The walls of the fort are thirty meters high and have a span of 1.5 kilometers. The gate of the fort is present on the southern side.
Derawar fort is also connected to the other forts in Bahawalpur through a network of tunnels. On the ground floor of the fort, there was a gallows, a small prison, residential rooms, and offices.
Derawar Fort was built by a Hindu Rajput, Rai Lajja Bhati of Jaisalmer. The exact age of the fort is unknown. It remained under the control of Rajput Bhati royal family before it was captured in 1733 by the Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan I of Bahawalpur who had it completely rebuilt to make how it looks today. It was lost from the hands of Nawabs, however, it was recaptured by Nawab Mubarak Khan in 1804.
- Inside the fort, there are a number of places that you can see. There are quarters for Nawab’s army. Quarters of the Royal family can also be seen there but they are being destroyed due to the neglect of the authorities. The tombs of Amirs of Bahawalpur can be seen in the fort. Shrines of four pious Muslims are also present near the fort.
- Derawar mosque near Derawar fort is almost an exact replica of the Moti Masjid in the Red Fort of Delhi which was built in 1844 AD.
- Some cannons which were used by the Army of Bahawalpur hundreds of years ago can are also kept in the fort.
- Every year a rally, more specifically known as Cholistan Rally, is held in Cholistan desert. This is very famous all over the world that people from across the world to see and participate in this wonderful jeep rally. It is also broadcasted by some local TV channels of Pakistan.
Getting into Derawar fort would take around 2 to 2 1/2 hours from the Bahawalpur city. From Bahawalpur, get on the GT road towards Karachi. Take a left turn towards Dera Nawab Cantt from Ahmadpur East bypass. Do not enter Dera Nawab and take a left turn and then right on the next turn. Keep on going on this road for unless road takes a 90-degree turn. After going about a kilometer, take a right turn. Keep going straight on this road unless you reach an intersection at Sahiwal Bangla. Take left and then take right at the next intersection. Then keep going straight for about 20-25 kilometers and you will reach Derawar fort.