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Sonargaon, the City of Panam (Panam Nagar)


Sonargaon is an amazing little place to visit. It was the capital of Isa Khan's kingdom in Bengal. It is located near the current-day city of Narayanganj, 29 kilometers south west of Dhaka. Narayanganj  is not much worth the visit, but the old town of Sonargaon is a must. It can be a good day out of the Dhaka city and enjoy some of the best preserved remains of the kingdom.

Goaldi Mosque Sonargaon  Goaldi Mosque in 1872
Goaldi Mosque, Sonargaon (left in 2000), right  in 1872

Old Sonargaon is considered to be one the first and oldest capitals of Bengal. It was known as “The City of Panam” and was a focal part of the renowned Deva Dynasty until the thirteenth century. In the city mainly middle and upper class people lived.

So, what is left of old Sonargaon? A good place to start your exploration is the Jainal Abedin Museum. There have been many archeological find in the area which can be seen here. But the buildings are the things that impressed me most.

For example there is the The Goaldi Mosque which is situated in the Goaldi village and is a beautiful example of an ancient Sonargaon building.

the ruins of Panam Nagar Sonargaon

The Panam Nagar is another spectacular proof of architectural beauty. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful sight. The architectural style of the buildings is English Renaissance or the British Raj style, used throughout the cities of India in the 19th century.

Postcard of Sonargaon  Sonargaon Panam Nagar
Two Postcard of Panam Nagar Sonargaon

What is left is basically a street, a real ghost town as some people in Dhaka told me

The villagers were protected by two moats on the north and south. Originally there were three bridges with gates secured at night for protection.

the ruins of Panam Nagar Sonargaon Sonargaon Panam Nagar

Panam Nagar was a center of trade and industry, especially during the British reign as for cloth trading.

Many of the original inhabitants of the Panam Nagar left in 1947 after the independence of India and east and west Pakistan. In the 1960's the few families who stayed finally left too hence some people Dhaka call it a ghost town.

Today about there are again some 250 people living, some are staff of the Folk Arts museum and the local school. Others are shopkeepers and vendors.

Other places I visited in Bangladesh:

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