By Dawood Tahir
The historic city of Bahawalpur is home to many historical iconic buildings and monuments. Among its heritage include the seven gates of the old city. Like most ancient cities Bahawalpur was a walled city with gates to various routes leading towards other cities and nearby states. The gates include Bikaneri gate, Bohar gate, Multani gate, Ahmedpuri gate, Dirawari gate, Mori gate and Shikarpuri gate.
In 2014 a number of reports were published in the media about the worse condition of historical gates of the old city. In 2015 The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Bahawalpur approved a plan to restore the ancient gates to their original places and condition. The district and provincial government helped PHA execute its plan to beautify the city.
Regarding the design, originality and location of the renovated gates, Dr Shahid Hassan Rizvi, a well-known scholar and a professor of History department Islamia University Bahawalpur, explained: “These new gates are not in exactly the same condition or sites as the old gates. Some gates have been moved slightly toward the main roads. However, Ahmedpuri gate is exactly in the same place as it was before. They are not built exactly in the same old design.”
Bikaneri Gate (currently known as Fareedi Gate) was named as the route to the nearby Bikaner (now in Rajasthan India) state started from this gate. As it is apparent the Multani Gate was en route to Multan and Dirawari gate led towards Derawar Fort. Bohar gate was named after a huge Banyan tree (locally known as ‘Bohar) present near the gate.
Mori gate was a small gate designed and supposed to be used as an escape route in case of war or calamities.
With the passages of time, these gates had eroded and become unrecognizable. Some had even vanished altogether from the sites. The decision to restore the historic gates was a welcome step towards the preservation of our heritage and beautification of the city.
At present all of these gates have been restored or reconstructed to a near original condition.
Dr Rizvi further adds, “The renovation of these gates is definitely a great step by the authorities. These gates not only represent our heritage but also add to the beauty of the city. This will also help promote tourism in the area.”
The difference in design and location is negligible. It is a great step indeed towards the restoration of the old look of the walled city and has added to the beauty of the city of palaces, parks and antiquity.
Dawood Tahir is working with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Bahawalpur city.
Photos by the author