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Bahawalpur one of the princely states in Southern Pakistan still conveys antiquated reminders of its gorgeous and rich past. From the mighty forts to magnificent places to the mystical shrines it is simply a land of majestically designed buildings. But, Noor Mahal is the jewel in crown and is the palace of lights. Noor Mahal is the best and glowing monuments in Punjab and is an Italian styled palace established for the Bahawalpur ruler Nawab Sir Muhammad Sadiq. It is listed among the most exquisite buildings and was specially designed for Nawabs. There are innumerable stories regarding the construction of the Mahal and according to one story it was designed for Nawab’s wife though, she never stayed for a single day because of the Basti Maluk Graveyard in proximity.
The building was supervised by Mr. Heenan a British Engineer and this palace was often used as a guest house for the nobilities of the state. Notable guests and Nawab also organized cabinet meetings here and for some time in the reigns of Nawab, Noor Mahal was used as a court where Nawab addresses the courtiers. This magnificent palace is established in the middle of a lush green garden having splendid water tank and fountains. Walls of the palace are artistically decorated with beautiful and antique paintings and the ornaments designed by western artists. Verandahs of the Mahal are covered with elegant carpets adding a royal look to the palace.
Noor Mahal is a double storey building having tremendous furniture and exquisite fixtures such as chandeliers and cupboards. It is beautifully accentuated with an outstanding collection of arms, some of the swords and muskets are displayed on palace walls. A wonderful mosque accurately like the Atichison College was added by the 5th Nawab Muhammad Behawal Khan in 1909. This Mahal is under army possession currently and was used as a club for the army in 1999.
Design of the palace encompasses features of Islamic and Corinthian style architecture with an artistic amalgamation of sub-continental style. The Corinthian touch can be noticed easily in balustrade, columns, pediments and ceiling of the Durbar hall. While the Islamic style architecture is evident in its 5 domes and the angular elongated shapes are the glimpses of sub-continent style. Be it the massive chandeliers, grand little piano, gilded furniture, hunted dungeons, chipped mosaic floors in short, every cranny and canny of the palace has a bit of splendid history attached to it making it a visitor hot spot.
Doubtlessly, Noor Mahal is a park, a hotel and a marvelous museum attracting thousands of visitors every year. Universities, colleges and school trips are proudly arranged to this glorified historical palace every now and then. It is the perfect masterpiece reminding us of the glory and greatness of our past. Noor Mahal was built in 1872 covering 44,600 square feet area having 32 rooms 14 in basement, 5 domes and 6 verandas.