The majestic Derawar Fort, standing in the midst of the Cholistan Desert, is a famed hallmark of Bahawalpur. The fort was built by Rai Jajja Bhatti, a Rajput ruler of Bhatti clan, in the 9th century AD as a tribute to Rawal Deoraj Bhatti, a Rajput sovereign King of Jaisalmer and Bahawalpur area. Initially, it was known as Dera Rawal, later it was termed as Dera Rawar and with the passage of time it turned to be Derawar, the present name of fort.
The impressive square fortress, with around forty bastions that stand thirty feet tall and walls with a circumference of 1500 meters, is visible for many miles in the Cholistan Desert. Its smooth, wide bastions create an imposing structure, unlikely to be breached by advancing forces.
The history of the fort is clouded in mystery, tracing its roots back to pre-historic times with popular fables alluding to the presence of the graves of companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and other revered Muslim reformers near the site. Moreover, legend has it that the site still contains hidden treasures as the Prince Deoraj’s guru Yogi revealed to him the secret to turn metal into gold.