In the heart of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, nestled among its historic palaces, stands a hidden gem known as Farrukh Mahal. Named after the wife of Ameer Muhammad Bahawal Khan V, this palace is a tribute to the love and architectural prowess of a bygone era. While Farrukh Mahal may not be as grand and ostentatious as its neighboring palaces, it possesses a unique charm and history that make it a significant historical landmark and monument.
The construction of Farrukh Mahal began in 1905, initiated by Ameer Muhammad Bahawal Khan V, who intended it as a royal residence. Completed in 1911 alongside the other palaces in the compound, this square-shaped palace was built with a distinct European influence, setting it apart from its neighboring counterparts. The palace is situated between the other two palaces in the compound and is smaller in scale and height, showcasing a more straightforward but elegant design.
Farrukh Mahal stands on a raised platform, with raised terraces on its eastern and western sides. The palace is divided into three rows of rooms, aligned north to south, interconnected by another set of rooms facing east to west. Every room leads into another through wooden doors fixed within arched openings. The central partitioning wall between the two middle-row rooms was removed to convert it into a large hall, demonstrating the flexibility of the design.
One of the most notable features of Farrukh Mahal is its finely adorned fireplaces, richly ornamented with stucco tracery, found in each room. These fireplaces not only served a practical purpose but also added to the palace’s overall grandeur.
Preservation and Neglect
Farrukh Mahal, like many historical treasures, bears the weight of history and the responsibility of preservation. It’s unfortunate to note that this historical gem, with its unique European-inspired design, has not been maintained as it deserves. Neglect and lack of proper upkeep have taken their toll on the palace.
The Ownership Conundrum
Currently, Farrukh Mahal, along with the other palaces in the compound, is under the custody of the army. As a result, access to these architectural wonders is restricted and requires special permission. While this measure may have been implemented to protect and preserve the palaces, it also limits public access and appreciation of these historical landmarks.
A Gem Worth Exploring
Farrukh Mahal, hidden within the heart of Bahawalpur, is a testament to the architectural and historical legacy of the region. Despite its unique charm and significance, it has been overshadowed by the more opulent palaces in the compound. Nonetheless, it remains a must-visit for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in the cultural heritage of Bahawalpur.
In conclusion, Farrukh Mahal is not just a historical structure; it is a representation of the love and artistry of a bygone era. Its European-inspired design sets it apart from its neighbors and adds to the rich tapestry of Bahawalpur’s history. While its condition may leave much to be desired, it is a reminder of the need to preserve and celebrate the architectural and cultural heritage of the region. The allure of Farrukh Mahal remains, waiting to be explored and appreciated by those who seek to uncover its hidden beauty.