By Nazar Abbas

Noor Mahal

Everyone knows about Taj Mahal, a masterpiece of Muslim Art, that was built by Mughal Emperor in Agra one year after the death of his beloved wife Noor Jahan. In the same tradition, fourth Nawab of Bahawalpur, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad, also built a palace in Bahawalpur State for his queen. The name of the palace was also attributed to Nawab’s beloved queen’s name.

Construction of Noor Mahal started in 1872 and was completed in 1875 after three years at a high cost of RS 1.2 million. The architectural drawing was made by Hannan based upon Italian design. Noor Mahal comprises an area of 44600 square feet.

The central hall of the palace, which is opened for the visitors as well.

Noor Mahal was built with extreme care and hard work as a token of love by the Nawab. Despite this, the queen and Nawab stayed there for only one night. According to some historians, the queen had decided not to stay here because of the graveyard in the neighborhood whereas others say that queen decided not to stay here because the palace was located far away in an inhabited area.

The roofs of the palace have colorful carvings which show intricate patterns of Italian architecture.

Beautiful carvings and designs on the roofs making Noor Mahal one of the most beautiful architects of its time. There is a central hall where pictures of Nawab of Bahawalpur are showcased along with stamp paper of Bahawalpur State era, postal tickets, medals received from different countries and historical swords.

A jeep which was used by the Nawab of the princely state.

Malik Khadim Hussain, a visitor at Noor Mahal, talked to PakVoices, saying, “Places like Noor Mahal tell us about our golden history as well as they are sources to introduce this magnificent history to our young generations.”

These are the medals Bahalpur state received from various foreign states.

Furniture and lighting of Noor Mahal were also imported from Italy and are still in original condition. In 1906 Nawab Bahawal Khan built here a mosque following the map of Aitchison College.

A buggy parked on the lawn of the mahal.

In the Bahawalpur State era, Noor Mahal also became the centre of official ceremonies. The turban wearing ceremony of fifth Nawab of Bahawalpur was also held here in 1903. Noor Mahal was used as official guest house till 1955. Later it was handed over to Pak Army which now takes care of maintenance and everything inside Noor Mahal.

Nazar Abbas is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from Rahim Yar Khan.

Translated by Suleman Tahir