Derawar fort is one of the largest fortresses in Pakistan. It is located nearly 100 km south of the Bahawalpur city in the vast Cholistan desert. It belongs to Tehsil Ahmad Pur east in Punjab.
Derawar fort is a square shaped fortress that has forty bastions. You can see these bastions from a distance of several miles in the Cholistan desert. These bastions of fort make the actual boundary wall of the fortress, because there are only small portions of wall among the bastions. The total perimeter of the fort walls is 1500 meters and height of the walls is 30 meter.
Derawar fort was built by Rai Jajja Bhatti in 9th century AD. Rai Jajja Bhatti was a Rajput ruler during the Bhatti clan. He built the fort to pay tribute to Rawal Deoraj Bhatti who was a Rajput king of Jaisalmer and Bahawalpur areas.
The name of the fort has also a history. Because the fort was a tribute to Rawal Deoraj Bhatti so initially it was known as Dera Rawal. After that the fort was called Dera Rawar and with the passage of time it converted to “Derawar”, the current name. The conversion from Dera Rawar to Derawar is certainly a result of a usual phenomenon of easy pronunciation by tongue of mankind.
Muslim Nawabs of Bahawalpur took over the control of Derawar Fort from Shahotra tribe in 18th century. After that the fort came under the control of Abbasi rulers, they restored the fort in a better condition. In 1747 Abbasi rulers lost the control of the fort and it owned to the Bahawal Khan’s preoccupations. In 1804 once again the fort came under the control of Nawabs when Nawab Mubarak Khan took back the control of the fort.
Catapult shells, almost 1000 years old, were found in remains of a ruining wall of the fort. The fort is losing its shape and dignity due to continuous decay. Serious administrative and protective measures are needed to restore the fort and to keep it safe from continuous deterioration. Without such adequate measures the fort will soon turn into a ruin.
The fort is an important tourist spot in Pakistan. The famous Cholistan desert jeep rally was recently organized near the Derawar fort. The jeep rally and other such events should be organized near the Derawar fort to increase the tourism at the fort.
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