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History or Mystery: Haunted Derawar Fort-Pakistan

As a scientist, my observational nature always triggers me to explore historical monuments and their stories about which world is unaware

Derawar Fort

Derawar Fort

Terrifying View of Derawar Fort

Terrifying View of Derawar Fort

Derawar Fort is one of the renowned historical fortresses of Pakistan that represent different civilizations and memorable history as it is resting in the heart of the largest Cholistan desert (Rohi) of Pakistan. Indian sovereign “Rai Jajja Bhatti” constructed a Derawar Fort for defensive purposes in the ninth century, which was later occupied by the Abbasi Nawabs of Bahawalpur who completed its construction. This fort was considered one of the magnificent defensive forts at that time and has been remembered in many historical battles, but now it looks quite scary due to its broken state and unsealed dark basements everywhere in it.

The forty spherical and giants like bastions of Fort Derawar encircle the central part of Cholistan as protecting the specific area and making the Derawar stand out and visible from afar in the wilderness of Cholistan. There is also a white mosque in its neighborhood, which is called “Derawar Mosque”, it was raised near the fort in 1844 AD in the same design as the “Moti mosque of India”

Like Egyptian puzzled buildings, Derawar is designed in such a way that has many underground labyrinth passages and secrets, some of which have been discovered and some are still hidden and out of sight as it is also famous for its unimaginable hidden treasure. The residents of the Cholistan and the Nawab family narrate different hair-raising stories and incidents which have been circulating for generations. No one knows how much truth is in these stories, but after visiting this Fort, one begins to believe that some paranormal creatures and supernatural beings must have inhabited such a horrifying fort in the vast desert.

Dark Rooms and Basements

According to the Nawab family, Derawar consisted of countless rooms, some of which were residential rooms built on the ground floor and some underground. The rooms built on the ground floor can easily be counted, but nothing can be said about the hidden basements. Some basements are completely blocked but few basements are still open that can be observed from the ground floor, but their roofs have collapsed and they offer a terrifying sight because of darkness inside them. These basements are so dark that if you go down the stairs and turn on the flashlight or emergency light, it does not illuminate the basements and nothing can be seen around.

According to Asad Abbasi, whenever tourists and visitors go down into subterranean dark rooms, some of them get scared and later we hear news about their bad conditions and mental illnesses.

Different unbelievable and scary stories have been reported by people living around Derawar which sound like fairy tales, but some of these stories must have been true that people living here look very frightened and it is forbidden to stay at this place till evening because such a desert is not at all safe. But some adventurers and youngsters get permits from the Nawabs to stay here at their own risk so that they can explore the unseen and evil creatures which are certainly madness.

Dilapidated Tunnel

Dilapidated Tunnel

A Visit to Derawar Fort

Tunneled Pathways

Fort Derawar is famous for underground tunnels in the basements and some open tunnels can be seen on the ground floor. The history of this fortress reveals what was the reason and purpose behind creating these underground passages. In the past, whenever wars were fought and royal families were attacked by their enemies, these tunnels helped them to escape and save their lives.

Derawar is not only one fort in Cholistan rather, but this desert is home to many other historical forts like Maujgarh, Meergarh, Jaangarh, Dingarh, Khangarh, Islamgarh, Khairgarh, and Marogarh, etc. Derawar's tunnels are linked to all these forts in such a way that it seems that the whole of Cholistan consists of a network of hidden pathways. Apart from this, all the palaces found in Bahawalpur state are also interconnected through the hidden tunnels coming from the Derawar Fort.

Derawar tunnels can no longer be used as these are not considered safe for the underground expedition. Basements and tunnels that are built underground, if abandoned, subterrestrial creatures start living in them, that’s why Derawar tunnels have been closed and due to underside of the desert, most of the tunnels are blocked themselves automatically.

Primitive Railway Tunnel

Primitive Railway Tunnel

Underground Railway

It is also said that the hidden underground routes of this Fortress were used by the rulers for traveling to distant places. For example, Abbasids (Nawabs) revealed the existence of one secret underground railway in it, which leads to India but is now closed by the Government for some security reasons. No one knows the exact location of this railway in the fort; only its owner, the Abbasi family, and the Government know about it well and it has been kept secret for some security reasons.

In addition to this, many other railway tunnels were built in the Derawar for inland tourism as some of these railways are still open for recreational purposes but the visitors are allowed to go inside them. It is also heard that an underground railway passage from the fort led to Nawab Sadiq’s Palace through which Nawab Sadiq used to approach the fort with great secrecy.

Terrifying Prisons

The prisons found in the Derawar Fort look just like the other prisons, but due to their dilapidated condition, these jails are terrifying and full of darkness. Just like the rooms of this Fort, some jails were built on the ground floor for criminals who were less dangerous and had short life sentences and some were created underground for dangerous serial killers for long life sentences.

Visiting these black prisons reveals that they were interconnected to each other, big holes were designed in the walls of these prisons in such a way that they were covered with hard nets so that the prisoners can have the fresh air and can communicate with each other. Now, these prisons are quite spacious and empty, therefore, even the slightest sound resonates in them, which can cause shivering in anyone’s body at once.

Remnants of Derawar Fort

Remnants of Derawar Fort

Eyewitness Statements

It is human nature that evidence is always required to believe the truth of something, similarly, in the case of Fort Derawar, attempts have been made to unveil the real truth by gathering some eyewitness statements and evidence.

Statement # 1

The residents of the Cholistan and the Nawab family unfold some strange and nerve-racking stories that all the tunnels are now loaded with dangerous snakes, anacondas, and other reptiles. Creepy screams, black shadows, and white-red lightning from the Derawar basements and tunnels have been reported by gatekeepers and guards of Fort Derawar. Based on some evidence, its defenders are pretty sure that no human being can do such activities.

Statement # 2

The Nawab family, by the way, rarely reveal their important secrets and they do not even allow the archaeologists to dig up their historical monuments, but personally and privately, they keep exploring their historical places left by their ancestors with different stories and maps. According to royal member “Asad Abbasi”, a strange and suspicious type of laboratory was discovered inside the Fort that has been preserved and is under investigation. Fossils of reptiles, mammals including humans found during laboratory excavation indicate that some illegal experiments or satanic activities would have been done here.

Statement # 3

Defenders of this great fort and some locals narrate another horror story and claim that this fort is possessed by some wretched and inhuman creatures. According to some eyewitnesses, a strange creature whose whole body was covered with hairs was seen coming out of this fort and they saw that thing not once but many times. Nails and blood marks on the walls and skulls and bones found in different places of the fort liven up the story a bit.

Urgent Need of Precautionary Steps

  • Fort Derawar is sinking into the desert and is not safe for public recreation, its walls and ceilings are swaying and about to crumble, it’s just a remnant of unforgettable history. Turning it into a desolate ruin and the ground of its rooms and tunnels sinking into sand makes this fortress riskier to visit so its entry must be banned.
  • Nawab family in collaboration with national and international firms like UNESCO and Chinese organizations must take some immediate precautionary steps to rehabilitate the Derawar Fort and end its terror.
  • This fortress needs special construction planning so that the national precious heritage can be preserved for future generations.


  • UNESCO World Heritage Centre. (n.d.). Derawar and the Desert Forts of Cholistan - UNESCO World Heritage Centre. UNESCO. Retrieved July 4, 2021
  • Khaliq, F. (2017, February 1). Derawar Fort: a 9th century human marvel on the verge of collapse. DAWN.COM.
  • Tribune. (2018, January 31). Derawar Fort: historical site in ruins. The Express Tribune.
  • Z, S. (2013, November 25). The Derawar FortLegend. Ja’ali Angrez.
  • The Greatest Forts and their Untold Stories. (n.d.). Scrivial. Retrieved July 4, 2021
  • Wikipedia contributors. (2021, April 22). Abbasi Mosque. Wikipedia.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.



KANWAL YOUSAFZAI (author) from Pakistan on July 05, 2021:

If you are afraid of such things, i would not recommend you to visit such places.

Thank you for your previous time "Moondot"

Stay happy and blessed!

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on July 05, 2021:

You have done a great job, Kanwal. I would never try to go there because of my timid nature. Thanks for sharing this informative piece.

Stay safe and healthy...

KANWAL YOUSAFZAI (author) from Pakistan on July 05, 2021:

Thank you for your visit and appreciation Alikhan!

Yes i have visited this fort with my family two or three times, everytime, when i went there it looks different to me and im horrified by it.

I have uploaded some original photos in this article so that the readers can get accurate idea of its reality.

StormsHalted from Karachi, Pakistan on July 05, 2021:

Brilliant research work! I enjoyed reading from start to finish and never knew that this monument had underground chambers.

Have you visited this place? When you do, add some original images from the exploration. That would boost quality of this writeup.

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