Panam Nagar – An Ancient City in Bangladesh

A city is characterized by its population, symbolic functions, urbanization and its history.  Right now, small areas in the world are turning into the big cities due to the globalization and the technological advancement. But some cities are not remaining as a city in this modern world anymore and have become a part of the ancient history.  Today, I’m gonna tell you about an ancient city which is a big part of the ancient civilization of the South-asia subcontinent. So I’m taking you to the early years of the 19th century.  I’m talking about Panam Nagar which is one of the remaining ancient city in Bangladesh.


Panam Nagar – An Ancient city.

Panam Nagar is located at Sonargaon in Narayanganj district. Panam Nagar lies almost 30 miles away from the capital city of Dhaka. It will take an hour and 30 minutes to reach at Panam Nagar, if you are about to start your journey form Dhaka. The foundation of Panam Nagar was laid by the rich Hindu traders in the early days of the 19th century. They build this city for their business purposes. Previously, this area was known as Suvarnagram which was one of the capitals  and river ports of East Bengal. During Mughals occupation, it became the administrative hub of Bengal Sultanate and it remained as an administrative hub till 1610. After the foundation of Panam Nagar, the Hindu traders started to live in this city and its surrounding areas in Sonargaon.  They lived generation after generation at here. But Sonargaon fell in the Muslim majority part known as East Pakistan in 1947, when the British India was divided according to the Hindu and Muslim majorities by the British rulers. During that period, several  religious riots were occurred in this area and for that those Hindu merchants had to abandon their houses and fled to India with their family forever. That’s how this city became an abandoned city. In 1971, it became a part of Bangladesh. Right now, Panam Nagar is protected under the  Archaeological department of Bangladesh. That’s all about its history in a brief. So, let’s enter into the city.


The front view of Panam Nagar.

After entering into the Panam Nagar, you will notice a narrow road which is 5 meters wide and 600 meters long streches from east to south. There are 52 buildings standing on both sides of the road. Buildings are rectangular in shape and most of them are risen about to 3 storied. Most of the buildings are fragile but some of them are in perfect condition. Those buildings are amazing to watch. Some of those look like palaces. As an architectural point of view, each of them are a masterpiece of ancient architecture. You can only watch those buildings from outside. You can’t go inside because of  the conditions of those buildings as I told you before. You can go to the rooftops of some buildings but it’s better not to go there. You will see some broken buildings in here at Panam Nagar. These buildings prove that how old this city is.


The narrow road of Panam Nagar.

Some ancient buildings of Panam Nagar.


A broken building inside Panam Nagar.

Let’s talk about the architectural design about these buildings. According to the architectural point of view, the architects found the combination of Mughals and European artistic skills in the design of these buildings. The local workers showed their artistic talents in building these structures. The buildings are basically made up with bricks of different sizes and plastered with lime and brick dust. Various colorful glasses, mosaic and wooden beams for roofs are used for interior decoration. These stucco-designed buildings have trenches on two sides, ponds and many wells. You will easily identify those ponds while walking through the road. You can have a break and  rest some time in the sitting area beside the ponds.

The ancient architectural design  of the buildings.


A pond beside a building.

Most of the buildings were used as administrative buildings  in the Panam Nagar but some of them were the palaces of several landlords. Among them Kashinath Vaban( The Bengali meaning of building), Niharika Vaban, Boro Sardarbari(The house of landlord) and Chota Sardarbari are important. Besides that Panam bridge, Gwaldi Mosque and the graveyard of Gias Uddin Azam Shah are also historically important structures in the Panam Nagar. There was a river located beside the Panam Nagar according to the information of local senior citizens of this area. Small vessels and boats are used to float in this river. A river port was also located beside the river according to their information. This river port was used for export and import purposes of the traders. But the river has been extincted many years ago.


Kashinath Vaban inside Panam Nagar.


A palace of a landlord.


A view of a garden beside the palace.

You can gather more information about this place from the elder citizens of this area living beside the areas of Panam Nagar in Sonargaon. You will find out them at the tea stalls in Panam Nagar. There are several tiny tea stalls are available inside the Panam Nagar. You can have a cup of tea or some snacks and communicate with the people around this particular area. There are some handicrafts and toy shops are also available in this tourist spot. You can also do some shopping at here. If you have more time then you can visit Sonargaon Museum and Bangladesh Small Handicrafts Museum. These places are located beside the Panam Nagar and not too far. Everyday many tourists across the world visit this place. This place is open to everyone for  8 hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) from Monday to Saturday. It is officially closed on Sunday.  It remains closed on the government holidays.

Tourists are exploring the Panam Nagar.


Bangladesh Small Handicrafts Museum.

At last, I wanna say that historical places always remain valuable to the travelers around the world. These places always amaze us and take ourselves into the different world. We often ask ourselves many questions regarding the historical facts when we visit these places. In the context of Bangladesh, Panam Nagar has a historical importance and it’s one of the ancient place inside this country. So, I wanna address to the tourists outside this country that you must visit this place if you are traveling or planning to make a visit in Bangladesh.

How to go there

This tourist spot is located near the capital city of Dhaka as I told you before. So, if you are about to start the journey from Dhaka then you have to go Gulistan at first. Then you will be able to take a bus going to Sonargaon.  There are several bus services are available. Among them Borak A.C. bus will be a good option. It will take about an hour and thirty minuets to arrive at Sonargaon from Dhaka. The bus will drop you at a certain point after reaching Sonargaon. After that you have to make a very short journey through rickshaw or auto-rickshaw and then you will be at your desired destination. But it’s better to hire a private car for the whole trip according to my opinion. It will be a comfortable option for you.

So, travel more and refresh your mind.

Thanks for be with me.

Picture Source – All these pictures are self captured.

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