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Bahawalpur Noor Mahal

The Noor Mahal (Urdu: نور محل)is a palace built in Bahawalpur, Pakistan. It was built in 1872 like an Italian chateau on neoclassical lines, at a time when modernism had set in.

There are various stories regarding its construction. According to one belief, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV had the palace made for his wife. However, she was there for one night, only as she happened to see the adjoining graveyard from her balcony, and refused to spend another night there and so it remained unused.

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Noor Mahal is a beautiful palace built in Bahawalpur, Pakistan. It was built in 1872 like an Italian chateau on neoclassical lines, strangely at a time when modernism had set in. There are various stories regarding its construction. According to one belief, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV had the palace made for his wife. However, she was there for one night, only as she happened to see the adjoining graveyard from her balcony, and refused to spend another night there and so it remained unused during his reign.

Noor Mehal is one of the hidden gems of Bahawalpur , since not many know about it and its not open to public. It is currently in possession of Army and is used as state guest house and for holding state durbars and meetings with foreign delegations. Not being open to public is the reason why Noor Mahal is still in perfect shape. Even the interior Victorian furniture is still in great shape.

You can however visit the place if you have an army relative and even then an army personal will follow you everywhere in the palace while you are there.

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Upon entering the palace you still get the aroma of Nawab rule and the legacy. The construction of Noor palace was undertaken by Nawab Subah Sadiq the fourth, who was also known as the Shan Jahan of Bahawalpur for his passion of constructing beautiful buildings. Mr. Hennan; an Englishman who was the state engineer designed the building. Foundation of Noor Palace was laid in 1872. The map and coins of the state were buried in its foundation as good omen. Most of the material and funiture was imported from England and Italy and constuction of the palace was completed in 1875 at a cost of Rs. 1.2 Million. Noor Palace has a covered area of 44,600 square feet. It has 32 rooms including 14 in basement, 6 Verandas and 5 domes.

The design encomasses features of Corinthian and Islamic styles of architecture with a tinghe of sub continental style. Corinthian touch is visible in the columns,balustrade,pediments and the vaulted cieling of Durbar Hall. The Islamic style is evident in the five domes whereas, the angular elliptical shapes are a stroke of subcontinent style. Nawab Muhammad Behawal Khan the fifth, added a mosque to the palace in 1906 at the cost of Rs. 20,000. The design is based on the mosque of Aitcheson College.

The palace was originally built for residential purposes , according to rumors when the nawab’s begam came to the palace , she saw a graveyard out of one of the windows and decided that she wont stay here.

In 1956, When Bahawalpur State was merged into Pakistan, the building was taken over by the Auqaf department. The palace was leased to Army in 1971 who later acquired it in 1997 for a sum of 119 million.

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