Derawar Fort situated near Bahawalpur in Cholistan desert. It is a large square fortress in Pakistan. The forty bastions of Delawar are visible for many miles in Cholistan Desert. The walls have a circumference of 1500 meters and stand up to thirty meters high.
The first fort on the site was built by Rai Jajja Bhati, 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.
The nearby marble mosque was modeled after that in the Red Fort of Delhi. There is also a royal necropolis of the Abbasi family, which still owns the stronghold. The area is rich in archaeological artifacts associated with Ganweriwala, a vast but as-yet-unexcavated city of the Indus Valley Civilization.
You can make an intersting excursions from Bahawalpur, full day trip requiring a four-wheel drive vehicle to Derawar Fort (Qila Derawar), through the semi-desert of cholistan.
You need a guide to take you to Derawar, and also permission from the present Amir of Bahawalpur to get inside the fort. The drive takes three to four hours through fasinating barren landscape. The cholistan desert covers 26,000 sq km (10,000 sq miles) and extends into the Thar desert to India. The whole area was once well watered by the river Ghaggar, now called the Hakara in Pakistan, and known in vedic times as the Sarasvati. All along the 500 km (300 miles) of the dried-up river are over 400 archaeological sites. Most of these date from the indus civilisation, 45,00 years ago, and are clustered round Derawar Fort, the only perennial water hole in the desert. There is very little to make out today.
The desert has an average rainfall of 12 cm (5 inches) a year, and there is very little civilisation. The underground water is brackish. The few people of the desert dig artificial wells in the troughs between the sand hills and use camels to draw the water up.
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