The existence of many famous historical monuments and luxurious castles in the city of Bahawalpur is a solid indicator that this city enjoys a royal and glorious past. According to archaeologists, many of these travelers’ attractions are thousands of years old. The empires that have ruled Bahawalpur for many decades have left some attractive sites for us to explore. One of the most appealing marvels of old times is the Noor Mahal. This beautiful royal complex flashbacks to the great history of Bahawalpur. Every corner and sight of this Palace emanates rays of royalty. Noor Mahal Bahawalpur certainly stands out as the most beautiful reminder of the grandeur of the royal family of Bahawalpur and one of the most royal Forts in Pakistan.
Touring this fascinating architectural masterpiece will amaze you.
History of Noor Mahal
Located in the city of Nawabs, Bahawalpur, the Noor Mahal is the city’s most spectacular royal Palace. Nawab Amir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi IV, also known as the ‘Shan Jahan of Bahawalpur,’ was famous for having a great interest in architecture and constructing magnificent buildings. Apart from Noor Mahal, Amir Sadiq also built some other sites, including Mubarak Manzil, Gulzar Mahal, Darbar Mahal, Farhat Mahal, Nishat Mahal, Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital, and Eid Gah. The construction of this majestic Noor palace commenced in 1872 and finished in 1875, costing Rupees 1.2 million.
The independent state of Bahawalpur merged with Pakistan in 1965. In the same year, the Auqaf Department of the government took over the possession of Noor palace. In 1971, the Pakistan Army purchased the Noor Mahal for PKR 119 million. The Pakistan Army controls the Noor Mahal Bahawalpur, an official residence for holding state courts and hosting meetings with foreign dignitaries.
Structure of Noor Mahal
Spreading over an area of 44,000-square-foot, Noor Mahal in Bahawalpur is undoubtedly a breathtaking sight. A talented British engineer, Mr. Hennan, supervised the construction of the Noor Mahal. Built in the style of an Italian chateau, this Palace is now a famous tourist attraction. The castle consists of two floors, a basement, and an interior of 32 rooms, five domes, and six verandas. The Palace’s structure features the Islamic and Corinthian styles of architecture with a tinge of subcontinental style. The Corinthian style is evident in the pediments, balustrades, columns, and rounded ceilings of Court Hall. The five domes have a strong Islamic influence, while the angular elliptical shapes are typical of subcontinental architecture. Nawab Sadiq imported the construction material for the Palace from Italy and England. There are rumors that Nawab Sadiq ordered to bury some gold coins and a state map in the Noor Mahal’s foundation as a lucky charm. Upon entering the Palace, you will feel a whiff of Nawab Rule and the legacy that it left behind.
In the early 20th century, Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan V erected a mosque on the premises of the Noor Mahal in 1906 at the cost of Rs. 20,000. The Aitchison College building served as the inspiration for the mosque’s design.
Restoration of Noor Mahal Bahawalpur
Pakistan Army is making consistent efforts to maintain this national heritage. In continuation of these efforts, Lieutenant General Syed Muhammad Adnan decided to restore the original glory of this Palace to attract a more significant number of tourists. In February 2020, the Army conducted a stability test to determine the shortcomings of the building. The restoration project commenced on 5th June 2020, employing one of the best archaeological experts. The restoration program included floor and roof treatment, foundation stabilization, stairs construction, and basement renovation.
Why is it called the Palace of Lights?
This glorious monument of the 19th century looks mesmerizing in daylight and even more spectacular when bright lights are on at night. The meaning of Noor is “light” or “brightness.” That is why.” the Noor Mahal is called the Palace of Lights. The addition of specially made washer lights heightens Noor Mahal’s elegance even more. The night view of the Noor Mahal is a sight to behold.
Why was Noor Mahal built?
Built during the reign of Nawab Sadiq, Noor Mahal Bahawalpur is a treat to the eyes of its spectators. According to one popular theory, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan constructed this Palace in honor of his wife, Noor. However, she stayed in the Palace for only one night. According to the legend, after glancing out from her balcony, she caught sight of the adjoining Basti Muluk Shah graveyard and refused to stay at the Noor palace any longer. Consequently, the Palace remained empty during Nawab Sadiq’s reign. Later, the Noor Palace served as a guest house for royal families. Friends of the Nawab and some prominent personalities stayed in the Palace. Nawab Sadiq used the Noor Palace to hold cabinet meetings and a state court.
What are the attractive features of Noor Mahal?
This luxurious and aesthetically pleasing tourist attraction is a testament to the glory of the royal family of Bahawalpur. The Noor Mahal boasts various tourist attractions, including exquisite ornaments, crystal chandeliers, high ceilings, and royal carpets. Let us explore the royal lifestyle of the rulers of old times.
Galleries Inside Noor Mahal
Efforts to develop Noor Mahal into a historical museum commenced in October 2020. The Noor Mahal features two appealing historical galleries: Bahawal Gallery and Sadiq Gallery.
The Bahawal Gallery of Noor Mahal features a collection of art and antiquities from the region of Bahawalpur. It houses an impressive array of paintings, carvings, weapons, and furniture from the Nawabs period.
Visitors can view many antique objects of the Nawab era, including swords, old currency notes, coins, legal documents, and rifles.
The Sadiq Gallery of Noor Mahal Bahawalpur is a must-see for any visitor to the Noor Mahal as it showcases various personal belongings and artifacts related to the royal life of Nawab Amir Sadiq. Below is a detailed virtual preview of Sadiq’s gallery:
Bedroom of Nawab Sadiq
There is a royal bedroom of Nawab Sadiq placed inside the Sadiq Gallery. The bedroom is quite opulent, with gold-plated walls, ceilings, and a marble floor. A bedsheet with hues of red and gold covers the mattress.
Western Artwork on Walls and Roofs
As you step into the Sadiq Gallery of Noor Mahal, you’ll first notice the beautiful Western-style paintings adorn the walls and ceilings. You’ll also find some beautiful specimens of calligraphy on display. There are also some real historical black-and-white photographs of Nawabs so visitors can imagine the personalities of the rulers of old times.
Library of Books and Records
The library contains books on various subjects, including a section on the history of the Mahal and its construction. Some books are on display related to architecture, as Nawab Sadiq was fond of architectural details. You’ll also find a record room, which houses scrolls and documents detailing the genealogy of the royal family.
Displayed in the corner of Sadiq Gallery is a beautiful antique piano. This grand piano is a stunning instrument; no wonder it is such a focal point in the room. A close friend of Nawab Sadiq gifted this piano to him, and Sadiq would often spend hours playing it.
As you enter the Noor Mahal, you will come across the vast lavish Darbar hall featuring photographs of all the Nawabs who have ruled the Bahawalpur region throughout history. The classic mosaic floors and several massive crystal chandeliers decorating the ceilings are a crowning element of the Darbar (court hall). The rulers held meetings and delegations in the court hall with prominent personalities to discuss official matters.
Antique Royal Used Furniture
Plenty of expensive-looking finest furniture is present around Darbar Hall. The presence of scarlet red-golden chairs, high-rise curtains, a silver couch, ceilings painted in bright colors, and the floor covered in elegant red carpets indicates the splendor of the royal family of Bahawalpur. There is also a royal throne on which the King would usually sit during ceremonial occasions and hold state court matters.
Used by the family of Nawab Sadiq-V for traveling, the royal Buggy is placed on the Noor Mahal’s lawn to catch tourists’ attention. The Shahi Buggy is a beautiful example of early 20th-century automotive engineering, and it’s a sight to see.
Van of Nawab Muhammad Sadiq
The Noor Mahal’s front lawn is home to the renowned and historically significant green vintage van of Nawab Muhammad Sadiq. It is one of the main highlights of the Noor Mahal.
Beautiful Public Park
Standing tall amid a charming green garden, Noor Mahal Bahawalpur welcomes visitors with open arms. Water tanks and fountains are scattered throughout this picturesque place, providing relief from the summer heat. While strolling in the park, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Palace. A peaceful public park offering breathtaking views, it is no wonder many couples come here to take their wedding photos!
Kids Play Area and Swings for Children
The beautiful public park is just one of the attractions in Noor Mahal, including a kids’ play area and swings. You can bring your family and enjoy a day in this beautiful public park. It is a perfect spot to unwind and relax.
Why is Noor Mahal famous?
Noor Mahal is famous for its outstanding and mesmerizing architectural design. It is a renowned tourist attraction providing breathtaking views. Moreover, it is a dream destination for couples looking for a dramatic wedding photoshoot.
Who is the owner of Noor Mahal?
Noor Mahal is a Pakistan Army-owned palace situated in the historic city of Bahawalpur. It is now converted into a museum to attract the maximum attention of tourists.
Noor Mahal Entry Ticket and Timings:
The Government of Pakistan’s Department of Archeology declared the Noor Mahal ‘a protected monument’ in September 2001 and opened it to local and international tourists in the same year. This famous landmark is open on all days of the week. The visiting hours are from 9:30 AM to 10:30 PM. The ticket price is meager and varies from Rs. 75 to Rs. 100.
Location of Noor Mahal Bahawalpur:
Located in the historical and ancient city of Bahawalpur, this 19th-century grand Italian-style Palace is a must-see if you want to witness the architectural marvels of all times.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Noor Mahal open for public?
Noor Mahal is open to the public on all days of the week. This Palace showcases the royal lifestyle of the rulers of all time. You will find yourself in another world as you enter the palace premises.
Who built the Noor Mahal, and who was the King?
Nawab Amir Muhammad Sadiq of Bahawalpur built this marvelous Palace as a residence for himself. The construction of the Palace started in 1872 and ended in 1875. Nawab Sadiq Khan-IV was the King of Noor Mahal. He was fond of designing architectural buildings, so he constructed the Noor Mahal Bahawalpur.
Being a fascinating and majestic palace, the Noor Mahal Bahawalpur is a famous historical landmark and tourist attraction that thousands of local and international travelers visit. It is awe-inspiring to see the exterior’s floodlights glowing at night. Visitors can treat their minds and soul by paying a visit to this great historical tourist site. Strolling around this prestigious site will not disappoint you.