Derawar Fort - The Formidable Desert Light House



Pakistan is home to many dynasties, kingdoms and civilizations, which once thrived in every nook and corner of its landscape. Moving up from the Indus valley ruins, one should not forget to visit Rahim Yar Khan and then the nearby Cholistan desert, where remains of a huge Drawar Fort still attract visitors from all over the world. No one really knows who built this massive fort amid the desolate Cholistan Desert and when.

Cholistan desert is a strange desert as it is dotted with small, medium and large forts and fortresses after every few kilometres. These inter-woven chain of fortresses has existed for many centuries providing an excellent chain of mutually supported defense lines in the desert - with their alignment and centre of gravity hinging on this formidable desert fortress - the Derawar Fort.

drawar fortLocated some 45 kilometers from the town of Dera Nawab, the once seat of the Abbasi rules, this square shaped fortress has a circumference of 1,500 metres with bastions standing thirty metres tall. With the vast Cholistan desert serving as a backdrop, the majestic fort is a sight to behold.

As per the history books, the fort on the site was first built by Rai Jajja Bhutta, whose sister was married to Deoraj, a prince of Jaisalmer. It remained in the hands of the royal family of Jaisalmer until captured and completely rebuilt by the nawabs of Bahawalpur in 1733. In 1747, the fort slipped from the hands of the Abbasis owing to Bahawal Khan's preoccupations at Shikarpur. Nawab Mubarak Khan took the stronghold back in 1804. And from then thereafter, the fort continues to be the property of the Abbasi family.

The rulers and soldiers who lived here and guarded the fort are long gone, and the fort stands alone and deserted, yet the strength of the fort can still be felt from its high rising bastions  which total forty in number' and are largely intact even after bearing the harshness of the desert winds and temperature. 


Its ramparts are wide and spacious, presenting an imposing structure unlikely to be breached. However, the inside of the fort is a heap of rubble. There are two guns lying in the open, which were once part of the artillery regiment of the Bahawalpur army.

Beside the fort is a hundred years old white marble mosque, which was built by Nawab Bahawal Khan in 1849 with cupolas and domes. The mosque seems to be a replica of the Moti Mosque in the Red Fort of Delhi. There is a family grave yard of the Abbasi Nawabs in the area. Their tombs are built with marble and decorated with blue glazed style which contrast beautifully Ochre landscape.


There are some graves near the fort which are said to be of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the other Muslim reformers who came to spread Islam in this area. These persons are believed to have embraced their death at the hands of the Hindu rulers who were against these proselytizers.

It is said that the bricks for the construction of the fort were brought from the famous Uch Sharif, some 40 miles away from the fort. The way these bricks were transported to Drawar is worth appreciation and narrating, which shows the intelligentsia of Nawabs of that time. A chain of men stood between the Drawar Fort site and Uch Sharif and the bricks were handed from one man to the next - a conveyer belt concept born much before it was invented.

drawar fort


[Photos: Credit Open Source | FunZug ] - Read more About Derawar Fort



This page was created on 8 May 2006 / 15 March 2013

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