The Cholistan is locally known as Rohi. This famous dessert is 30 Km from Bahawalpur and comprises an area of 16,000 sq. km. which extends up to the Thar desert extending over to Sindh. The word the Cholistan is derived from ‘Cholna’ which means moving. The people of Cholistan lead a semi-nomadic life, moving from one place to another in search of water and fodder for their animals.
Places Of Interest
Derawar Fort is located 48 Km from Dera Nawab Sahib. It is still in a good condition. The rampart walls are intact and still guarded by the personal guards of the Amir of Bahawalpur. The tombs of the ex-rulers of Bahawalpur and their families are located in this fort. The tombs have nice glazed blue tile work. Prior permission of the senior Amir of Bahawalpur is required to enter the fort.
Shrines of Channan Pir:
The Shrine of Channan Pir is located 45 Km from Derawar Fort. Channan Pir was a disciple of Makhdoom Jahanian Jahangasht. The annual Urs is held at the beginning of March. A colourful fair is known as ‘Mela Channan Pir’ is held here. Devotees gather on the night of the full moon to offer “Fateha” at the tomb of the saint.
People And Costumes
The people of Bahawalpur are very simple and loving, have great faith in religion, Pirs, Saints and Shrines. They love music and singing. In the absence of other musical instruments, even a ‘Ghara’ (Pitcher) would keep the concert-going. The Cholistan people tend to preserve their primitive customs and traditions.
The costumes of women in Cholistan are embroidered and printed colourful ‘Cholid’, ordinary and long embroidered shirt, baggy shalwars, dupattas and ‘Chunries’, Ghagras which are prepared beautifully in strong contrast. Village women still wear heavy skirts made of 40 yards of cloth known as Cholas Hath Ghagra. Men wear embroidered and colourful Cholas (long shirts). Balaposh (robe-like coat), heavy baggy shalwars, Turkish caps, Turbans and Zari shoes have a liking for a plain and embroidered colourful Cholas, Bangis, Turbans, and Balaposh. Men in the Urban area wear Shalwar, Kameez and Coat, & Trouser is also worn by some people.
The Punjab Small Industries Corporation has established a Craft Development Centre for Cholistan Area, outside Farid Gate, Bahawalpur from where handicrafts manufactured in the Cholistan can be purchased.
Flassi: It is a place of 4-ft x 7-ft size, made of camel hair and cotton yarn. It is used for wall hanging, as a decoration piece and a carpet.
Gindi of Rilli: It is made of small pieces of different colours of cotton cloth and needle work. It can be used as a wall hanging, bed covers, carpets and blankets etc.
Changaries: Like big plaques, these are made of palm leaves in different bright colours with beautiful patterns and geometric designs. These are used for keeping the ‘Chapatis’ (bread) and also as a wall decoration.
Khalti: It is like a purse embroidered on top with multi-coloured threads.
Aar Work: It is an attractive kind of embroidery work done on Duppata, Kurta and Chaddar etc.