Innovative bridge by sand bags and crossing of boat
Panam bridge of Mughal era restored
Tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah, the third Iliyas Shahi ruler of Bengal who died in 1411 A.D. at Mograpara, Sonargaon.
"Neel Nobo-ghoney Ashaar Gogoney Teel Thai aar Nahirey.."
Picnic spot at Mograpara
view of Dhaka-Chittagong highway after rain
Sonargaon emerged as the capital of an independent Sultanate under Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah in 1338 AD. During Muslim rule it became the capital of East Bengal. In Mahuan's writings, a splendid and vivid description of this vibrant township can be found. The great Muslim traveler Ibn Battuta visited Sonargaon in the 14th century. Later in 1585 the famous traveler Ralph Fitch visited Sonargaon to elaborately tales of the finest cotton fabric- Muslin which Sonargaon was famous and the mighty reign of Isa Khan, one of the most powerful of the Baro-Bhuiyans. From that time down to the coming of the Mughals, it was a provincial metropolis, except for a period when it became a capital city under the house of Isa khan Masnad-i-Ala. After Isa Khan’s death it became a part of the great Mughal Empire of Akbar.
With the establishment of the Mughal capital of Subeh Bangala at Dhaka in the year 1608/1610 AD, Sonargaon lost its importance. In 1858 all the territories held by the East India Company (including Dhaka) were brought under British rule. Once a thriving port and commercial centre of Sonargaon, only the ruins of the ancient city remain scattered; the area is buried in a dense jungle of bamboos and other trees.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Panam or Painam area of medieval Sonargaon grew up as a by-product of the commercial activities of the English East India Company. Panam nagar stretched in a single street 5 m wide on the average and 600 m in length. All the buildings have the character of urban street front houses and are lined up on either side of this street. 52 houses exist in dilapidated and disused condition. Panam appears to be well protected by artificial canals all around (ref: banglapedia).
Panam village became prominent during British colonial period as cloth trading centre. Dutch, French and Armenians settled down even earlier. The French influence is still visible in the merchant houses that line the main street of Panam. The cloth merchants came from places of India such as Calcutta, Patna and Bombay. The upper-middle class Hindu merchants in 19th century, titled 'Sahas' and 'Poddars'. The residences built by them blending the indo-European architectural styles reflect the socio-economic condition and lifestyle of the merchants and the elite class in the British colonial period. The buildings with or without courtyards expose the hybrid nature that evolved the blend of Mughal, Colonial and Hindu architectural elements and motifs.
One feature about early colonial architectural style was that a majority of the constructions of British India were anonymous. English bricklayers had made an early appearance in the Presidency towns (comprising Bengal, Madras and Bombay) and the East India Company also had its own resident architects. Yet, from the beginning to the culmination of the British Empire, only a handful of eminent practitioners ever designed a building for the Raj. The stones of this empire were mostly put together by amateurs, by soldiers who had learnt the building trade during their military education in England, or in later years by employees of the Public Works Department, established in 1854. They relied upon handbook of architects popular in the 18th and 19 century.
The merchants lived a vibrant life in Panam and Dhaka until the first quarter of 20th century. With Calcutta developed into capital of British raj and transfer of most commercial activities over there, majority of the elites of Panam left. With there departure the whole village was nearly abandoned.
Also see, Heritage: Sonargaon to Panam Nagar!