Sonargaon, which means the "golden village", is a historic township situated about 25 lan. south-east of Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital. It is generally believed that "Subamagram", the other name of the place, had existed from the time of Pal a and Deva Kings who had used it as their administrative town. Isha Khan, the Masnad-I-Ala, had also built his army headquarter here. At that time, Sonargaon was formed with Aminpur, Panam, Goaldi and Mogra village. It became a famous centre of administration, trade, industry and culture in the 13th century. Historians and travellers through the ages have referred to this great township. Today, Sonargaon has become one of the attractive tourist destinations in Bangladesh. Hundreds of tourists from home and abroad visit this place everyday.
Places of Interest
There are a number of old relics and architectural remains such as the tomb of Sultan Giasuddin Azam Shah, the single-domed mosque of Mograpara, Goladi Mosque, Tomb of Munna Shah Darwesh, Tomb of Ponakai Diwana, Panch Pir Dargh and the single-domed Square Mosque built by Sultan Jalaluddin Fateh Shah. At present, the DhakaChittagong highway roughly divides the ruins of Sonargaon in 2 unequal halves-the larger half around Panam to the north and the smaller half around Mograpara to the south. Khasnagar Dighi is another attraction. The large pond was used by the weavers to wash their cotton threads to produce fine Muslin fabrics that earned fame accross the world.
This ancient place in Sonargaon on the north of Dhaka-Chittagong highway at Mograpara point is said to have been the site of Hindu capital city of Sonargaon. The Panam area also formed part of a Muslim township developed on the south which was perhaps used as the residence of the early Muslim governors. Panam Nagar appears to be well protected by artificial canals all around. The pattern of architecture here was developed during preMughal periods and at a later stage during the British rule in this part of Bangladesh. Throught the Sonargaon ruins of pre-Muslim period cannot be traced any longer.
Neel-Kuthi in Sonargaon
There is a building constructed by the English East India Company at Dalalpur in the vicinity of Panam of Sonargaon. It is situated a few yards north of Dalalpur Bridge on the eastern side of the road.
It was initially meant for the purchase of Muslin and subsequently used for trading in indigo. It is a quadrangular two-storied brick building with a courtyard inside.
The building, as history tells us, was initially used for cotton trade and subsequently for trade in indigo (Indigofer:a tinctoria). Indigo Kuthis were mostly built in the later part of the 18th century and some of them still survive in different conditions across Bangladesh. The Neel Kuthi of Dalalpur in Sonargaon is one of those surviving examples, isolated and built at a safe distance from the prevailing neighbourhood.
The building started right from the edge of the road is separated by a high plinth. In its layout design, it followed the courtyard typology and it seems that the courtyard was used for packaging and processing of indigo powder while the surrounding rooms were used as storage space. The rear of the building was completely fortified with blank wall surfaces, which were provided for defensive purpose. The main entry was located on the road while there exists a side entrance in the middle of the north wall, next to the stairs to the upper floor.
The original structure has almost vanished with the passage of time. Today, only records tell us about the architectural design and character of the original building, about how the decorative treatments expressed the transposition from European architecture and blended with local motifs influenced by the Mughal architecture. The original structure had a flat front facade with regular arched recesses for windows and door openings.
Folk Art Museum
The Folk Art Museum, which was established in 1975 to fulfill the dream of the celebrated painter Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, has' a very rich collection of folk objects of different materials and forms of aesthetic values. These undoubtedly reflect the sentiments, impulse, temperament, mood, idiosyncrasy, skill and expertise of the artisans. It is a national institution which represents traditional art and heritage of Bangladesh, exhibiting objects of exceptional designs and skills. There are two galleries in this museum, one is Wood Cutting Gallery and another is Embroidered Quilt and Jamdani Gallery.
Folk Art Museum's time table
Also closed on government holidays.
Entrance fee: Tk. 10.00
How to go
It takes 45 minutes to reach Sonargaon.
Interested tourists may avail themselves of package tours offered by Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and Private Tour Operators.
Where to eat
There is a small cafeteria in Folk Art Museum.