Sunday, February 5, 2023

Noor Mahal Palace Of Bahawalpur: Here’s Its Interesting Story

The NoorMahal (Light Palace) is located in Bahawalpur, Pakistan’s 12th biggest city and the former capital of the Princely State of Bahawalpur. Noormahal is one of the few remaining palaces in our country. It was completed in 1875 after a three-year construction period.

There are several theories as to why it was built, but the most common is that Noor Mahal palace was built by Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan the Fourth (the fifth monarch of Bahawalpur state) for his wife Noor. Because of his fondness for erecting great structures in Bahawalpur, the Nawab was also known as Shah Jehan of Bahawalpur.

The Nawab and his family, however, only slept one night at this castle because his wife was uncomfortable living near a graveyard. It was thereafter utilized as a state guest house, with the Nawab holding state meetings and addressing his courtiers through the court.

The throne of the nawab and the seating arrangement of those who would be involved in the routine proceedings are maintained and preserved at Noor Mahal, while real historical black and white photos and different colored works of art from the last century or so are placed around and on tables to assist you to imagine the court in its real setting, centuries ago.

Photo By: Rodrigo Araoz

Architect of Noor Mahal

Mr. Hennan, a British engineer, oversaw the construction of the Noormahal. It occupies 44,600 square feet and is surrounded by a large garden with fountains. It is a two-story structure with six verandahs and 32 rooms, 14 of which are located in the basement.

Because of the design of its windows, Noormahal palace is said to resemble an Italian chateau. It is, nevertheless, modeled after both Greek and Islamic architectural traditions.

The Greek Corinthian order is the most ornate, with columns, balustrades, pediments, and arches featuring it. A good example of this is the Durbar Hall. While the palace’s five stucco domes (a decorative covering applied to terracotta bricks, cement, or wood) are a stunning feature, they are an example of Islamic art.

Interior of Noor Mahal

Photo By: The News

The total cost of construction and furnishing was Rs. 1.2 million, as evidenced by its exquisite architecture and beautiful decor, which includes ornate furniture, crystal chandeliers (studded with diamonds), heavy brocade curtains with pelmets, and carpets as well as stunning paintings and artwork on the walls.

The portraits of the various nawabs who ably controlled the Bahawalpur state adorn the walls of Noormahal palace, along with their major achievements and other biographical details.

The palace featured a natural cooling system because there were little chambers in the basement where cold water was kept, and the water vapors would reach the rooms through holes in the floor, dispelling the heated air through the small windows erected at the top (In present times this has been replaced by air conditioners).

Events that took place at Noor Mahal

It was a tremendous honor that His Highness Prince Albert Victor (Queen Victoria’s grandson) spent one night in the Palace in 1890. A court was also convened in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 60th birthday.

A mosque was built on the site in 1906 by Nawab Bahawal Khan the Fifth (after the ruler of Bahawalpur). Repairs were necessary for the 1920s.

In 1956, Bahawalpur became part of Pakistan. The palace was taken over by the Auqaf department (one of its responsibilities is to look after different sorts of antiquities) under the Antiquities Act 1975. Act 1975 is a law related to conserving all antiques found anywhere in Pakistan.

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Noormahal palace was rented by the Pakistan Army in 1971. It was later purchased by the Army in 1997, who spent two years restoring it to its former glory. Following that, the Army utilized it as a Garrison club, a guest house, and a venue for dignitary gatherings.

The Department of Archeology of the Pakistani government, which cares after it, declared it a protected monument in 2001.

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