Trip to Rajanpur Via Bahawalpur
It’s been some time now that I had wanted to go Derawar fort, I have been seeing it in pictures and dramas/documentaries since my childhood, but it was quite far and it was not getting possible for to me to get the time and funds to visit that place.
Then came the call from SanaUllah (my friend) inviting me to his wedding on 18th/19th January 2014. I discussed with Yasir (our common friend living in Jhang) and we agreed to go to Derawar fort first before going to attend the wedding.
Wedding was at Rajanpur, It is a district of Punjab province of Pakistan, it is situated on the right bank of Indus River. It is bounded on the north and west by Dera Ghazi Khan District, to the east by Muzaffargarh and Rahim Yar Khan Districts, in the south lies Jacobabad District of Sindh Province.
Now problem was that Derawar fort which is located in Bahawalpur Disttrict is on the other side of Indus river, so it was quite a change of our rout. So after much discussion we decided to take Friday off and leave early. Yasir was living in Jhang and I was in Islamabad, we decided that I will go to Jhang by Bus and then from there we will do the rest of the trip on Yasir’s Alto.
I went to Dawoo, bus time was 10:30 PM on Thursday 16 January 2014. Just a minute before departure they told me that Bus will not go through Jhang (destination was Bahawalpur) because of Fog (motorway was closed). So I left back for home and booked the seat for next morning. This time thankfully road was good enough (although foggy) to go to Jhang. We started Journey at 7 AM approximately; we went through Sargodha and reached Jhang at almost 12:40 PM.
Got the car fuled-up, took some pictures and started at 1:00 PM from Jhang. Our destination was Bahawalpur through Multan. Our initial hope was to visit Derawar fort today and then reach Rajanpur at friends home and start night there.
We reached Multan at around 3:50 PM and use Multan bypass to take the road to Bahawalpur. To our surprise after a few miles from Jhang road was in very good condition. It was clear and quite wide, and with no rush we were able to cover the distance in good time.
We reached Bahwalpur city at 5:15 PM (just 25 minutes before sunset), inquired some locals about the fort and we came to know that fort is at-least 110KM. Some locals told us that it should take around 90 minutes, some mentioned 45 minutes and some even 2 hours time.
It was obvious that if we have to go to Derawar fort we cannot reach Rajanpur, so we decided to stay the night at Bahawalpur city.
We went to a tea stall to have a cup of tea and think more about what to do next. Yasir was quite an addict to tea (phikki chai). Tea was great and after getting some rest and a cup of tea we started to ask people around for some decent hotel to stay night and some place to eat.
We checked some hotels at that chowk, we were looking a room for 2 people but no so expensive, our idea was to find a room for not more then 1000 PKR.
We checked 3 hotels but didn’t finds any decent room, although rent was in our budget that is 1000 PKR. We asked a local and he mentioned of Taj hotel that was newly build, we went there, rooms were nice and clean but rent they were asking was 1500 PKR, we were not able to decide yet so we decided to make a decision after having dinner.
Some directed us to some guest houses located on left side welcome chowk. We didn’t find any guest house that had room but we did found was Noor Mehal.
We didn’t know about it, (Should have read about this city in Google) The Noor Mahal was built in 1872. It belonged to the Nawab of Bahwalpur state.
This palace is in control of Army now, they have their mess there now, one central hall was open for people. We visited that and took some pictures; it has pictures of all the previous Nawabs and furniture that was used in this Mehal.
It was almost 8 and were very hungry, we asked locals for some decent place to have chicken karahi, they directed us to Alfarooq hotel at welcome chowk. We went through Sriaki chowk, on way some good garments shop and did some shopping too. We found Bahwalpur city to be very clean, it had wide roads and we liked it very much. At last we found the hotel and had our dinner; karahi was very good although not as good as locals were saying about it.
It was almost 10 now so we decided to get a hotel and get some sleep as we had the plan to leave early. We went to Taj hotel again and finalized the room for 1300 PKR and slept around 12 in night.
Next morning woke up at 5:30, after payer got ready and left hotel at 7:15 AM. We did nastha at a hotel close by and left for Derwar fort at 8:00 AM.
It was a 100 KM journey approximately, first 50KM was a clean road and it took almost 50 min to reach there. Next 15 were also ok..20 KM after that was bumpy, some dirt patches with some road not properly carpeted, that 20KM was crossed in at-least an hour’s time, after that 16KM was a wide newly carpeted road, very pleasant to drive on.
It was almost took us 2.5 hours to reach there (some time we missed the direction, although we were using Google maps on our cell, but at some places there were no signals).
First sight of the fort took away all the rustiness we had, the most common and famous photograph is from front and we took lots of pictures there, then we drove to the gate of Fort, it was locked and we didn’t find any body to ask about it.
We then walked around the fort and then came back to gate to find some people there now, Gate keeper was also there but he was not willing to open the door to let us in. He told us that it opens for public on Sunday which didn’t sound correct, we had to bribe him (paid him 100) to let us in. We spent around 20 min in fort as we were in hurry to reach Friend’s barat on time.
We started journey to Rajanpur at 12 PM from Derawar fort, there are 2 ways to go to Rajanpur from here, if you check Google maps it asks to go back to Multan first and then from there cross the Indus river to take Indus river. It was a long way and was to take approximately 5/6 hours to reach Rajanpur, so we discuss with our friend in Rajanpur because Bahawalpur from map looks in front of Rajanpur across Indus River. He discussed with few people and suggested us to travel further towards Karachi and reach Zahir pir, from there we turned right and reached Indus river, it was almost 15 Km cross which was all non carpeted road but it was plain and not very bumpy. We crossed almost 5 bridges during that and it took almost hour. We reached in almost 4 hours from Derawar fort to friends home, which was adjacent to Mithon kot.
We attended SanaUllah’s Nikah and later Barat dinner. We slept at 11 PM, we wokeup at 10 AM and got ready, done our breakfast and with 2 of local guys we went out to see some local places.
First we went to darbar of Baba Gulam Fareed, took some pictures there and from there.
Numan (Cousin of our friend Sana Ullah) told us about a boat “Indus Queen” that is blocked there. It was told by him that is there like this for past 25 years approximately due to the water level decrease. It was used to take passengers and other items from Kot Mithan to Chachran sharif crossing Indus River.
It was worth to visit that place when-ever you get a chance to visit that side, it’s a big boat as you can see in pictures and not every day you get a chance to visit a boat like this.
When we reach there, to our surprise there were actually 3 boats now, 2 of them were big ones, where as one smaller one. Due to the time shortage we were not able to examine each closely but we spent some time on Indus Queen, took some pictures and started back to attend friends Waleema.
We reached there by 2, we stay there for an hour, had our lunch and started back to Jhang at approximately 3 in the evening.
I started to drive as I was not willing to be on my toes for next 8 hours while Yasir drive, and the good guy that he is, he allowed me too J
I booked my seat for 12:45 PM from Jhang, we were not sure how much time exactly it will take us, so we were not able to stop much, we came through Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzafar Garh, Multan and then Jhang. It was almost 8 hours drive (our speed was around 90KM).
We went to Yasir’s house, had a tasty fish there, copied over some pictures from camera and then around 12:30 Yasir dropped me at Jhang Dawoo terminal.
Journey to Islamabab started at 1 AM, I am not a good at sleeping in Bus although I try but I never get any success in that department, so spent time by watching movie and listening to radio. Bus dropped us at Rawalpindi terminal at around 6 AM. Brother came to pick me up and I was home in 15 minutes…
At the end thanks to Sana Ullah to invite us, and to Yasir to make this trip memorable, really enjoyed!