Old Capital Tour, travel guide to Sonargaon

Beginners travel guide to Sonargaon

Bangladesh is filled with plenty of historical sites and Sonargaon is one of the most prominent ones. During the medieval age, it was the capital of the then Bengal. Alongside the role of capital, the region also had contributions in the administrative sector. For our beginner’s tourist here we show A to Z travel guide to Sonargaon.

Historians also have found evidence about the commercial centers and maritime ports in this particular region of Bangladesh.

Numbers of Muslim rulers have dominated the region with an iron hand that enriched the surrounding area. Since the 13th century, rulers have started using the place as their capital for the improved cultural features, natural beauty and environment.

Besides, several other rulers also have used the place to ride into the throne of Bengal.

Unluckily, the region started losing its importance once the Mughal emperors changed its policies. Shifting the capital of Bengal to Jahangirnar (later named as Dhaka) in 1610 was such a decision.

With time, the area has lost the glory but the appeal to explore the ancient Bengal still is visible among the local and global tourists. They mostly visit the old remains of the decayed cities and villages.

It would be a nice pastime if you can manage a day to explore the glorious past. We will help you to explore the glorious past by the travel guide to Sonargaon.

Old Capital Tour, travel guide to Sonargaon
Sardar Bari at Sonargaon

Sonargaon Folk-Arts and Crafts Museum

Folk-Arts and Crafts Museum in Sonargaon is the most popular tourist spot here. The locals of the capital city also consider it as a prime tourist location.

After entering the premises of Sonargaon Folk-Arts and Crafts Museum, the visitors will find two museums. They are famous for their artifacts and backgrounds.

Famous painter of Bangladesh Joynul Abedin formed the original museum in 1975 on an old house called Bara Sardar Bari. The Sadar Bari was built in 1901. Historically, the place is important.

The artifacts of the museum belong to the 17th century of the then Bengal. They include the everyday items of the local people like daily life tools, utensils, ornaments, furniture, treasure box, arms, musical instruments, boats, decoration pieces. Most of the artifacts are related to the heritage of Bengal and the key attraction of this museum.

Moreover, the building that houses the museum also has been renovated to its original state. But the renovation is underway now and will open shortly after the renovation ends.

To display the enriched fabric culture of Sonargaon, another new museum has been built later on the same site.

Sonargaon once was famous for Moslin – a handmade share of the finest quality of fabrics. The saying goes that the sharee was too thin that an entire piece could be folded and stored in a tiny firebox.

So, the fabric arrested the attention of the royal families of home and abroad. Even the local elites also used to get the sharees for their families.

Luckily, the new museum has a display of such a fabric. Besides, there are some other items also on display like ornamented Kanthas (Nakshi Kantha), the mattress made of fabrics and brass, and many other historic artifacts.

You will wonder at the life-size ornamented houseboat which is also on display in the museum. Besides, you can experience ornamented wooden doors that the rich use in their house.

The ornamented wooden partition of a house is another attraction while the different wooden decoration pieces will also make you amazed.

You will also see some models of different types of boats which once were the key transportation mode in Bangladesh, it is a riverine country. Sadly, the boats are not available now.

Visiting Sonargaon Museum

Ticket Price of Sonargaon Folk-Arts and Crafts Museum

The ticket price for entering the foundation premises is BDT 30 for locals and BDT 100 for the foreign nationals. You don’t need an extra ticket for entering the museum.

Car parking charges

A newly renovated car parking area is available adjacent to the museum. It’s quite spacious to park your motorized vehicles like buses and private cars. The charges for parking are as follows (no time limit):

  • Bicycle: BDT 10
  • CNG / Motor Bike: BDT 25
  • Cars, SUVs, Vans (NOAH/HIACE): BDT 100
  • Coaster: BDT 200
  • Bus: BDT 300

Boat Riding on the Lake

Another attraction is the boat ride. The authorities have made an arrangement of riding paddle-wheel boats on the lake inside the museum premises. Ticket price for boat riding is BDT 20 per person and a rider can ride for 30 minutes with a ticket.

Fishing on the lake

You can go fishing by a hook on the lake. The price is BDT 1,750 for an entire day. You have to bring your own hook.

Picnic spot hiring

There are several picnic spots on the museum premises which you can hire for a picnic. Contact the authority for booking details and pricing. But you need to contact them at least a certain time before your program date.

Since the picnic spot is always busy, it is rented on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

Shooting of film

For the shooting of film, drama, documentary, television commercials and other types of visuals inside the museum premises, the charge is BDT 3,450 for a day.

Visiting Hours of Sonargaon Museum

Summer Season (April – September)

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00 AM – 06.00 PM
  • Museum Galleries: 10.30 AM – 05.30 PM
  • Fridays 12.30 PM – 02.30 PM: – Museum Galleries Closed for Prayer.
  • Wednesday & Thursday: Closed.
  • Government holidays: Closed.

Winter Season (October – March)

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 09.00 AM – 05.00 PM
  • Museum Galleries: 09.30 AM – 04.30 PM
  • Fridays 12.30 PM – 02.30 PM: – Museum Galleries Closed for Prayer.
  • Wednesday & Thursday: Closed.
  • Government holidays: Closed.

Sonargaon Museum is open during the Eid day for visitors. It will be closed only on the previous day of the Eid day.

Contact no of Sonargaon Museum

For any inquiry regarding Sonargaon Folk-Arts and Crafts Museum, You can call their official IVR based help desk no 09604 000 777 or land-phone no 02-7656331.

How to go Sonargaon

At first, you have to reach the Gulistan bus stand in Dhaka. Next, you have to take a bus to Moghrapara. The bus service called ‘Meghla’ goes to Mograpara.

From Mograpara, take a rickshaw to Sonargaon Museum. Bus service to Sonargaon also available from Chasara of Narayanganj.

Old Capital Tour, travel guide to Sonargaon
Panam Nagar – an abandoned city

Panam Nagar

Panam Nagar is an abandoned city now. Earlier, it was a paradise of the local Hindu merchants. The place is a 10-minute walk from Sonargaon Folk-Arts and Crafts Museum.

Undoubtedly, this is the most attractive tourist spot in Sonargaon for some of its extraordinary features.

Panam Nagar was founded at Sonargaon in the early 19th century during British rule in the sub-continent. It was established as a cotton fabric trading center.

Hindu merchants built their houses in this city. You will find 52 houses on a single street. The building style of these houses was influenced by European style with a mixture of traditional Bengal style.

When the British left the sub-incontinent dividing it based on religion, Sonargaon fell in the Muslim majority of the then Pakistan.

Several religious riots took place here and consequently, the Hindu merchants had to flee India with their family. They left their houses to the caretakers with an intention to return later.

Unluckily, their return never happened. Once a wealthy city full of life turned into an abandoned one.

The assigned caretakers later claimed the houses with forged documents. Later, the government of Bangladesh acquired the entire city from them.

Panam Nagar is now under the protection of the archaeological department of Bangladesh.

© An Old House at Panam Nagar in Sonargaon. Photo Credit: Simon Roozendaal

Panam Nagar is the only abandoned city of its kind in the entire world. Fifty-two abandoned houses on the same street make it look like a ghost city.

Mainly, there were two types of buildings in this city. The first category was aimed to be used for residential purposes while the other category was intended for entertainment.

The house owners used to hold entertainment parties every night in those buildings. They had the provision of different types of beverages, dancing, and singing by Baijis (professional female dancers).

These houses had a gallery in the middle. The house owner and his friends used to watch the performance of the Baijis from the gallery.

Now, Panam Nagar is a great place to spend an entire afternoon with the family on the outskirt of Dhaka.

Check out Panam Nagar: A fully abandoned city of the Hindu merchants in Bangladesh for more details on Panam Nagar with lots of photos.

Visiting Panam Nagar

Ticket price of Panam Nagar

Panam Nagar was always open without any boundary and no ticket was previously required. However, the archeological department has recently taken initiative to make the boundary wall surrounding the city for security and protection purposes.

And now you will need a ticket to enter the city – Panam Nagar. The ticket price for locals is BDT 15 TK and for foreign nationals, it is BDT 100.

Visiting hours of Panam Nagar

  • Tuesday – Saturday: Open from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
  • Sunday: Closed.
  • Monday: Opens after 02.00 pm.
  • Government holidays: Closed.

Panam Nagar will remain closed for visitors during Eid day and the previous day of Eid. It will remain open as usual from the next day of Eid day.

How to go Panam Nagar

Walk for 10 minutes or take a rickshaw from the gate of Sonargaon Museum to reach Panam Nagar.

Old Capital Tour, travel guide to Sonargaon
Medieval period Goaldi Mosque at Sonargaon

Goaldi Mosque

Goaldi Mosque is a beautiful medieval period mosque in Sonargaon.
The mosque is located around one-kilometer north-west of Panam Nagar. This is the only structure remaining in Sonargaon from the medieval period when it was the prime time of Sonargaon.

Mulla Hizabar Akbar Khan built the mosque in 1519 during the reign of Alauddin Husain Shah at a village called Goaldi.

This mosque fully collapsed including its single dome hidden behind the bushes. The archaeological department of Bangladesh later carefully restored the mosque.

Goaldi Mosque is now standing as its own state again. This is another must visiting sight in Sonargaon.

How to visit Goaldi Mosque

Ticket price of Goaldi Mosque

No ticket is required to visit Goaldi Mosque.

Visiting hours of Goaldi Mosque

Goaldi Mosque is always open for visitors. If you find the gate locked, you’ll find the caretaker nearby to open it for you.

How to go Goaldi Mosque

Take a rickshaw or auto-rickshaw from the Museum of Panam Nagar to reach Sonargaon, and return on the same transport.

You can also see our Old Capital Tour Packages. We hope you enjoy the travel guide to Sonargaon. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment on the comment section or contact us.

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