Insider Guide To Bahawalpur
Tahia Noon comes from a political family in Bahawalpur and has served in the provincial assembly herself, she is also cousin to Kamiar Rokni and co-designed with him at his fashion label. She gives us the lowdown on where to stay, what to eat and what to buy!
Bahawalpur is a historic region of Pakistan. It has influences from the ancient settlers of the region. Located in the desert are forts and Pattan Minara, all part of a hundreds of years old civilization that flourished along the banks of the Ghaggar Hakra river. Bahawalpur was also its own state in India and joined Pakistan after Independence. I am most proud of my Bahawalpuri heritage.
“There are no words to describe the bazaars and goodies available in Bahawalpur. It’s like one is suddenly transported into one of Scheherazade’s tales”
WHERE TO STAY
When visiting Bahawalpur there are many places to stay. We have used Hotel One, Pak Continental Hotel and the rest house in Lal Sohanra National Park, belonging to TDCP. Lal Sohanra is not in the city center so may not be everyone’s choice depending what you wish to do whilst visiting. Apparently, the Hotel Executive Lodges are wonderful.
WHERE TO EAT
“What one must have in the bazaar is Shaukat Aziz Foods. Kulfi from Bismillah is renowned as is the halwa from Haji Rasheed Sweets”
Bahawalpur has many wonderful places to eat. The main bazaar is full of delicious street food. What one must have in the bazaar is Shaukat Naz Foods. Kulfi from Bismillah is renowned as is the halwa from Haji Rasheed Sweets, especially the sohan halwa. We can’t get enough. Additionally, there are the usual restaurants like Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonalds, Salt and Pepper and Bar B Que Tonight. Saying this there are some fabulous indigenous restaurants.
It’s a childhood favourite and does burgers, pasta type food. If one is in the mood for fast food then why not try one of the pioneers of fast food in Bahawalpur.
I love this place. It’s got Chinese and desi and is delicious.
Panda Family Restaurant
Another childhood favourite. I was always getting food from there especially Thai Soup.
A recent addition to Bahawalpur that does some great thalis and rolls. Yummy.
Shahjahan Grill and Kebabish Grill
Both do some yummy desi dishes.
PLACES TO VISIT
Bahawalpur Museum and Library. Both are wonderful reflections of the state and to experience history.
Nur Mahal (Please note, this one may require prior permission.)
Sadiqgarh Palace (This one may also require prior permission.)
Darbar Mahal, Nishat Mahal, Farrukh Mahal, Baradary and the Royal Mosque (These may also require prior permission.)
Derawar Fort (Pease note that this is a day trip.)
Abbasi Mosque (near Derawar Fort) – a replica of Moti Masjid in the Red Fort New Delhi
Uch Sharif (Please note this is a day trip.)
SS World Park. This is a fun amusement park that families with children would enjoy. It has many rides and charming outdoor spaces with eateries.
Lal Sohanra is a wonderful nature reserve established in the 1970s. It is home to much wildlife and has plenty of eateries and activities for families. This includes boating on the lake. The TDCP has a rest house where one can stay and also enjoy meals.
Head Panchnat – definitely a must see. The rivers of the Punjab meet and merge there. Also there are some nice freshly grilled fish eateries. It’s also lovely for a picnic.
WHERE TO SHOP
“Things I like to buy include chunri, pottery, gotta, phulkari, mukesh, shadow work, tarkashi, rilli, block prints on home linen, khussas, kheis, darries, and fresh spices”
There are no words to describe the bazaars and goodies available in Bahawalpur. It’s like one is suddenly transported into one of Scheherazade’s tales. The bazaars are endless and exciting. I would suggest using a rickshaw.
“One must visit Chaandni Bazaar for the gorgeous kundan and jewellery, particularly the lovely historic designs of the Sariki people”
Things I like to buy include chunri, ajrak, parandas, thin pottery, other pottery, gotta, phulkari, mukesh, shadow work, tarkashi, rilli, block prints (especially the home linen), khussas, kheis, darries, and lots of the fresh spices and masalas.
In addition one must visit Chaandni Bazaar for the gorgeous kundan and jewellery, particularly the lovely historic designs of the Sariki people.
Please do note that the bazaars are closed mostly on a Friday but functional on a Sunday.
I hope that you all get the opportunity to visit Bahawalpur and experience the Sariki culture.