Exploring Sonargaon: Unveiling The Ancient Capital Of Bangladesh

A group of local craftsmen working on intricate wood carvings in a bustling ancient city.

Venturing off the beaten path in Bangladesh? You might have heard of Sonargaon, the ancient capital that has a history as rich and vibrant as its surroundings. This golden city was once an important hub for trade and administration in Bengal during medieval times.

In this blog post, we’ll journey through time, revealing hidden secrets and forgotten tales that make Sonargaon a must-visit destination for every traveler. Ready to explore?.

Key Takeaways

  • Sonargaon, the ancient capital of Bangladesh, has a rich and vibrant history dating back to antiquity.
  • It was ruled by various dynasties including the Delhi Sultanate, Sonargaon Sultanate, Bengal Sultanate, Mughal Empire, and British colonial rule.
  • Sonargaon was once a bustling trade center known for its muslin trade and had a strategic location on a river that made it an important port.
  • Today, Sonargaon is a thriving subdistrict with attractions like Panam Nagar and Goaldi Mosque that showcase its historical charm.

History of Sonargaon

The photo captures the ancient ruins of Sonargaon in the soft morning light, showcasing its beauty and historical significance.

Sonargaon has a rich history, dating back to antiquity and witnessing the rule of different dynasties including the Delhi Sultanate, Sonargaon Sultanate, Bengal Sultanate, Mughal Empire, British colonial rule, and its present state in modern times.



A photograph depicting ancient temple ruins enveloped by lush vegetation in a vibrant and bustling atmosphere.

Long ago, Sonargaon held a lot of power and glory. It was one of the old capitals of BengalFakhruddin Mubarak Shah and his son Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi ruled this place during the Delhi Sultanate time.

The rule by Isa Khan made it more famous. He was a big leader in Bengal. This ancient city has stories to tell from a long time ago.

Delhi Sultanate

A photograph of a dilapidated palace surrounded by overgrown vegetation in a bustling cityscape.

Sonargaon became a key place during the Delhi Sultanate. For 320 years, from 1206 to 1526, they were in power over South Asia. It was at this time that Sonargaon first served as the capital of Bengal.

The people saw a lot of growth then.

But things did not always stay good for Sonargaon under the Delhi Sultanate rule. In fact, it had to face hardship before finding peace again. By 1574, imperial forces took over the city and put an end to their rule.

Sonargaon Sultanate

A majestic Sultan's palace surrounded by stunning gardens and a bustling cityscape.

Sonargaon was the royal seat of power during the rule of Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah and his son Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi Shah. This area bloomed with a king’s court and money-making place in Bangladesh.

The sultans ruled this place with might and wealth.

Bengal Sultanate

A photo of the magnificent ruins of Sonargaon-Panam City, showcasing the architectural grandeur of the Bengal Sultanate, with a bustling atmosphere and diverse group of people.

The Bengal Sultanate was a short-lived independent state that existed in ancient Bengal. It gained control over central, northeastern, and southeastern parts of the region. Sonargaon served as the capital during this time under the rule of Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah.

The Bengal Sultanate played an important role in trade and politics, making Sonargaon a bustling center for commerce and governance. The architecture of Isa Khan, a fifteenth-century ruler, can be seen in Sonargaon-Panam City, showcasing the grandeur and cultural heritage of the era.

Twelve Bhuiyans

A photo of the ruins of Sonargaon surrounded by lush greenery, captured with a wide-angle lens, showcasing its historic beauty.

The Twelve Bhuiyans were groups of powerful warrior-landowners in Assam and Bengal. They played a significant role in the history of Sonargaon, an ancient capital of Bengal. These Bhuiyans were known for their military prowess and held considerable influence over the region.

Their rule lasted from the 14th to the 17th century, during which they maintained control over Sonargaon and its surrounding territories. The Twelve Bhuiyans were instrumental in shaping the political landscape of this historic city, leaving behind a lasting legacy that is still evident today.

Mughal rule

A Mughal prince on an elegant elephant leads a vibrant procession through a bustling cityscape.

During the Mughal rule in the 17th and 18th centuries, Sonargaon faced threats from Arakanese and Portuguese pirates. The Mughal viceroys governed Sonargaon and Bengal for nearly a century before Bangladesh was established in 1608.

The Mughals added Bengal to their Indian empire, ending the rule of the Chaghatai Turks. In 1582, Rájah Todar Mal settled in Sonargaon under Mughal rule managing lands in Bengal. Eventually, the capital was shifted from Sonargaon to Dhaka while numerous river forts were constructed in the area by the Mughals.

British rule

A photo of a British colonial mansion surrounded by lush gardens, with people of different backgrounds and styles, in a bustling atmosphere.

During British rule, Sonargaon came under the control of the East India Company. The British established their presence in Bengal and gradually took over the administration of Sonargaon.

They introduced various changes and imposed new laws in the region. Under British rule, Sonargaon’s importance as a trade center declined due to the development of other ports like Kolkata (Calcutta).

However, remnants of British influence can still be seen in some architectural structures in Sonargaon today.

Modern era

A photo showcasing the intricate details of a modern architectural masterpiece against a bustling city backdrop.

In the modern era, Sonargaon has undergone significant changes but still retains its historical charm. Today, it is a bustling subdistrict in central Bangladesh. The city’s rich history and architectural heritage attract tourists from all over the world.

It has become a popular destination for those interested in exploring the remnants of ancient civilizations and learning about local culture. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of attractions like Panam Nagar and Goaldi Mosque while experiencing the vibrant atmosphere of this historic city.

Trade in Sonargaon

A group of merchants trading colorful textiles in a bustling market surrounded by a cityscape.

Sonargaon was a bustling hub of trade and commerce in ancient Bengal. It was famous for its muslin trade and had a large population of skilled weavers and artisans. The city’s strategic location on a river made it an important river port, attracting merchants from various regions.

Trade flourished in Sonargaon, with the exchange of goods such as textiles, spices, pottery, and other crafts. This vibrant trading center contributed to the prosperity and cultural richness of the city during that time.

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Modern-day Sonargaon

A group of young tourists exploring the vibrant streets of modern-day Sonargaon.

Today, Sonargaon is a thriving subdistrict with a rich history and cultural heritage that continues to attract visitors from all over the world.

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Sonargaon is a subdistrict in Bangladesh. It was the capital of eastern Bengal until Dhaka became the capital during Emperor Aurangzeb’s reign. It gained importance during the Delhi Sultanate period and was ruled by Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah and his son Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi.

Sonargaon also served as the capital of an ancient kingdom ruled by Isa Khan of Bengal. The subdistrict has a museum that showcases its history, allowing visitors to learn more about its rich past.

Sonargaon Museum

A photo of ancient artifacts and sculptures displayed in a well-lit museum, capturing their intricate details and variety.

The Sonargaon Museum offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the ancient capital of Bangladesh.

Boro Sardar Bari

Boro Sardar Bari is an important structure located in Panam Nagar, a historical site in Sonargaon, Bangladesh. It holds great significance as part of the ancient capital of Bangladesh.

The Bari is set to reopen in March, serving as a testament to the preservation of Sonargaon’s history.

Sonargaon Folk Art Museum

The Sonargaon Folk Art Museum was established in 1975 with the aim of preserving the rich cultural heritage of Bangladesh. It is situated within a complex of buildings that also houses the Sonargaon Museum.

This museum holds significant importance as it represents the old capital and serves as a major center for tourism in the region. Inside, you will find a diverse collection of crafts from the area, showcasing the traditional art forms and craftsmanship of Bangladesh.

However, there is room for improvement when it comes to the exhibits, which is something to keep in mind when visiting this museum or any other museums in Bangladesh.

Panam Nagar

A diverse group of tourists explore the ancient ruins of Panam Nagar.

Panam Nagar is an ancient city in Sonargaon, Narayanganj, Bangladesh. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country with archaeological ruins. Back then, it was a bustling trade center for clothes and crafts in the early nineteenth century.

Panam Nagar was home to a prosperous community of Hindu merchants who played a significant role in its development. During the 13th-century era of autonomous Hindu governance, it even served as the capital of Sonargaon.

Today, Panam Nagar is considered an important archaeological site in Bangladesh due to its historical significance and well-preserved structures that offer a glimpse into its rich past.

Goaldi Mosque

The image depicts Goaldi Mosque surrounded by lush greenery and a bustling atmosphere with diverse individuals.

Goaldi Mosque is an ancient mosque located in the historic capital of Sonargaon. It was built during the Bengal Sultanate, around the year 1519. The mosque was established by a man named Mulla Hizabar Akbar Khan.

Goaldi Mosque is situated in the village of Goaldi, near the abandoned city of Panam Nagar.

Sonargaon used to be the capital of Eastern Bangla for many years, from 1296 to 1608. Therefore, it has many historical sites like this old mosque. Today, Goaldi Mosque is considered one of the oldest mosques in the area and is known for its ancient architecture.

Tips for Visiting Sonargaon

A stunning photo of an ancient temple surrounded by gardens, capturing the vibrant atmosphere and diverse individuals.

Plan your visit to Sonargaon by checking the opening hours, off days, and ticket prices for attractions. Discover how to travel to this ancient capital of Bangladesh and explore its rich history and cultural heritage.

Read more to make the most out of your trip!

Opening hours for attractions

The Sonargaon Museum is a must-visit attraction in Sonargaon, Bangladesh. The opening hours of the museum are subject to change twice a year during summer and winter. In the winter months, the museum opens and closes one hour early compared to its regular schedule.

For those planning to explore the Sonargaon Complex, take note that it is open from Friday to Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. This gives you plenty of time to fully experience all that this historical site has to offer.

Off days for attractions

Attractions in Sonargaon have different off days, so it’s important to plan your visit accordingly. The Sonargaon Museum is closed on Sundays and the Panam Nagar remains closed on Thursdays.

If you’re planning to explore these attractions, make sure to check their opening hours and avoid visiting on their off days. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the amazing sights in Sonargaon.

Ticket prices for attractions

The cost of visiting attractions in Sonargaon can vary depending on the specific site. Here’s a quick rundown of the ticket prices:

AttractionTicket Price for Locals (BDT)Ticket Price for Foreigners (BDT)
Sonargaon Museum20100
Panam NagarFreeFree
Goaldi MosqueFreeFree

Please keep in mind that these prices are subject to change and it’s always a good idea to check the latest updates before planning your visit.

Traveling to Sonargaon

Sonargaon is located just 37 km away from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It’s a popular tourist destination known for its historical significance as a medieval capital of Bengal.

To get there, you can take a bus or hire a car from Dhaka. The journey takes about an hour depending on traffic conditions. Once you arrive in Sonargaon, be prepared to explore and enjoy the unique combination of Bengali culture, countryside views, and archaeological treasures that this ancient city has to offer.

Challenges for Independent Travelers in Sonargaon

A photo of an ancient ruined temple surrounded by lush greenery, showcasing different people and a bustling atmosphere.

Exploring Sonargaon as an independent traveler can come with its fair share of challenges. One of the main obstacles is the underdeveloped infrastructure in the country, which may affect transportation and accommodation options.

Roads in Sonargaon might be rough and poorly maintained, making it difficult to travel between attractions. Additionally, there might not be many tourist-friendly facilities or English-speaking staff available, which could make communication challenging.

Furthermore, considering that Bangladesh is not known for preserving its historical sites well, some attractions in Sonargaon may not be properly maintained or lack informative signage.

However, despite these challenges, visiting Sonargaon as an independent traveler can still offer a unique and authentic experience of exploring an ancient capital filled with rich history and cultural heritage.


The photo showcases an ancient stone temple surrounded by lush greenery, with people of diverse backgrounds exploring the area.

Discover the ancient capital of Bangladesh, Sonargaon, and take a step back in time. From its rich history as a bustling trade center to its impressive archaeological sites, Sonargaon offers a glimpse into the past.

Don’t miss the chance to explore this hidden gem and uncover the secrets of its golden village. Plan your visit today and embark on an unforgettable journey through time in Sonargaon!


1. What is Sonargaon in Bangladesh?

Sonargaon is an ancient capital of Bangladesh, rich with history and culture.

2. Why is Sonargaon important?

Sonargaon has a special place in Bangladesh because it was the country’s old capital and still holds many historical sites.

3. Can we visit Sonargaon?

Yes, you can explore Sonargaon to see its beautiful sights and learn about its past.

4. What can I find when I go to Sonargaon?

In Sonargaon, you will discover old buildings, museums, art pieces and more from the time when it was the capital of Bangladesh.

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