There was once a time when not just anyone could step into the massive stone fortresses whose ruins now dot the countryside mostly as tourist attractions. They weren’t historical landmarks for exploration – they were private property, and sometimes residences, populated by soldiers with a job to do.
In the desert of Cholistan, the soldiers are long gone, but one of the most remarkable forts of the medieval world still exists as private property, owned by the royal Abassi family who also keep a necropolis for their family on the property.
Derawar Fort is more than 1 kilometer in circumference and 30 meters high, featuring 40 stunning bastions rising out of the vast expanse of empty desert. Its ramparts are wide and smooth, creating an imposing structure unlikely to be breached by advancing forces and, more useful for modern times, an unique appearance more compelling than typical straight-walled castles.
It’s very difficult to reach Derawar Fort in its remote location, and typically one needs to hire a special guide to take them on the full-day journey to the site of the fort. That said, pretty much anyone can go look at it, but to go inside, one needs special permisssion from the Amir of Bahawalpur, so visitors need to plan ahead to get the full experience.
Know Before You Go
One day's journey from Bahawalpur.