Noor Mahal Bahawalpur Palace is a masterpiece of ancient architecture that carries its importance and value for generations and a rare-sight to tourists and visitors. .Also known as the ‘Palace of Lights,’ the grandeur of Noor Mahal has made it one of the top tourist attractions in Bahawalpur city of palaces. Although it is currently being managed by the Pakistan Army, this grand Italian-style palace is open to the public between 9:00 am and 10:00 pm throughout the week. The splendid building inspired by Italian construction style is one of the hidden gems and perhaps rarest of its like. It was built by a British Engineer named Heenan in 1875 at a cost of Rs1.2 million. You must have heard about the Taj Mahal in India built by the Great Mughal Emperor for Mumtaz Begum, Similarly this Mahal was built by the fifth ruler of Bahawalpur State Nawab Sir Muhammad Sadiq or the ‘Shahjehan of Bahawalpur’, who is renowned for his passion of constructing beautiful buildings. Despite having seen so many years, it has not lost its charm and condition.
The palace is known for its colorful, designed and exquisite exterior made of cut and dressed bricks that make this a unique piece of historical architecture. The two-storey palace had exquisite furniture and fixtures like chandeliers and cupboards that were imported while it also consisted of rich collection of arms in its armory. Noor Palace Bahawalpur distinguishing architectural feature is the use of five domes built in the traditional style. It has been the chief reason of Bahawalpur’s popularity among tourists, who throng to this site to have a glimpse of the vintage marvel. Not only the common visitors but it has a serious attraction for the royal guests. Many renown personalities and specially visited it and written some cherishable words for it.
Noor Mahal is one of the oldest monuments in Punjab that was placed under the Antiquities Act. It was built for the residence of Nawab Sir Muhammad Sadiq. However, he did not live in the palace as the royals did not prefer to live near a graveyard the Basti Muluk Shah Graveyard was located a few metres away. The palace was later used as the state guest house. During his tenure, the Nawab also held occasional cabinet meetings in Noor Mahal. On some occasions, the palace was used as the State Court with the Nawab addressing his courtiers and the army during wars.
Noor Mahal was built in the middle of a spacious garden having a water tank and fountains. It consists of 32 rooms, including a basement. When the construction was completed, the palace was decorated with thick carpets and paintings made by western artists. As part of the Mughal traditions, some swords and muskets are also on display inside the palace. In 1906, a mosque was added to the palace by Nawab Bahawal Khan, a later ruler of the state of Bahawalpur. He also renovated the structure and further added to the beauty of it.
The interior of the Noor Mahal is more lavish and hence luxurious than its exterior. The hand-carved gilded furniture, classic mosaic floors, massive crystal chandeliers and grand pianos here in this palace are a testament to the splendor of the then royal family of Bahawalpur. The architectural lavishness of the then era is prevalent throughout the sub-continent. Additionally, most of the artwork displayed on the walls belong to the best of the best artists and most of them are Western artists. But you can easily see an indigenous touch in the décor in the form of elegant carpets, exquisite ornaments, high-rise curtains and other fixtures. In a typically classic fashion, visitors can also see some antique swords and muskets that are displayed on the walls. You can have sense an awe for everything in here from the decorated pieces to the contraction material.
While the entire ‘Palace of Lights’ is filled with incredibly beautiful furniture and artwork that made one wonder in an observed awe. The lavish Durbar Hall is certainly the most aesthetically pleasing part of the property. It boasts a high rise ceiling with grand chandeliers of highest quality and sofas meant for the royalty. In 2001, the Government of Pakistan’s Department of Archeology declared Noor Mahal as ‘a protected monument’ and henceforth it has been kept in special care. Moreover, it was then onwards was opened it for the general public. Being one of the most stunning historical places to visit in Bahawalpur, this palace has become a rather popular spot for educational field trips and other photo shoots in the entire country.
Bahawalpur is a city that is not too away from Lahore. It takes 3-hours from the city of Lahore and it is needless to say that you have vehicles available straight away without any headache. You can avail the local transport, if you are one of a person who wants to get the local touch by interacting with the local passengers or you can hire a taxi. You can also avail Careek or Uber. Once you are in Bahawalpur, this historic city is known for the magnificent Cholistan Desert and other stunning palaces. It is worth-mentioning here that there are very few deserts in Pakistan and if you happen to be a desert lover than it is an added advantage for you to enjoy the silence of Cholistan along with the Noor Mahal location. Both are equally popular among travelers and tourist who go to Bahawalpur. But, Noor Mahal certainly stands out as the most impressive reminder of the opulence of the royal family of Bahawalpur and a one-of-its-kind monument.
We hope to have a great and thrilling experience of this magnificent historic sight. Importantly, never forget to carry your camera along because you cannot have better sight than this to click some eye-catching photographs. A photograph with Noor Mahal in the backdrop is a worth-capturing snap that would remain with you for long.