Sonargaon Upazila

Type: City / Town / Upazilla
Contributed By:


Sonargaon ( সোনারগাঁও; meaning the City of Gold) was a historic administrative, commercial and maritime center in Bengal. Situated in the center of the Ganges delta, it was the seat of the medieval Muslim rulers and governors of eastern Bengal. Sonargaon was described by numerous historic travelers, including Ibn Battuta, Ma Huan, Niccolò de’ Conti and Ralph Fitch as a thriving center of trade and commerce. It served as the capital of Sultan Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, Isa Khan and the Baro-Bhuyan Confederacy.

The area is located near the modern industrial river port of Narayanganj in Bangladesh. Today, the name Sonargaon survives as the Sonargaon Upazila (Sonargaon Subregion) in the region.

Trade: By the 14th century Sonargaon became a commercial port. Trade activities were mentioned by travelers like Ibn Batuta, Ma Huan and Ralph Fitch. Maritime ships travelled between Sonargaon and southeast/west Asian countries. Muslin was produced in this region.

Pre-Muslim period: The name Sonargaon came as the Bangla version of the ancient name Suvarnagrama (সুবর্ণ গ্রাম) . Bauddha ruler Danujamadhava Dasharathadeva ( দনুজমর্দন দশ্রথদেব)  shifted his capital to Suvarnagrama from Bikrampur sometime in the middle of the 13th century. In early 14th century, Buddhism ruling in this area ended when Shamsuddin Firoz Shah (reigned 1301–1322) of Lakhnauti occupied and annexed it to his kingdom.

Muslim period: Hong Bao and Ma Huan visited Sonargaon in 1432.Muslim settlers first arrive in Sonargaon region in around 1281. Sharfuddin Abu Tawwamah, a medieval Sufi saint and Islamic philosopher came and settled here sometime between 1282 and 1287. He then established his Khanqah and founded a Madrasa.Firoz Shah built a mint in Sonargaon from where a large number of coins were issued.When he died in 1322, his son, Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah, replaced him as the ruler. In 1324 Delhi Sultan, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, declared war against him and after the battle, Bahadur Shah was captured and Bengal, including Sonargaon, became a province of Delhi Sultanate. The same year, Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq, son and successor of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, released him and appointed him as the governor of Sonargaon province.

After 4 years of governorship, in 1328, Bahadur Shah declared independence of Bengal. Delhi Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq sent his general, Bahram Khan, to depose him. In the battle, Bahadur Shah was defeated and killed. Bahram Khan recaptured Sonargaon from the Delhi Sultanate and he was also appointed the governor of Sonargaon.

When Bahram Khan died in 1338, his armor-bearer, Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, declared himself the independent Sultan of Sonargaon. Fakhruddin sponsored several construction projects, including a trunk road and raised embankments, along with mosques and tombs. 14th century Moroccan traveller, Ibn Batuta, after visiting the capital in 1346, described Fakhruddin as “a distinguished sovereign who loved strangers, particularly the fakirs and sufis. After the death of Fakhruddin in 1349, Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi Shah became the next independent ruler of Sonargaon.

Ilyas Shah, the independent ruler of Lakhnauti, attacked Sonargaon in 1352. After defeating Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi Shah, he became the sole ruler of whole Bengal for the first time in history and thus he became the founder of a sultanate of the unified Bengal.

Isa Khan’s ruling: When Taj Khan Karrani was the independent Afghan ruler of Bengal, Isa Khan obtained an estate in Sonargaon and Maheswardi Pargana in 1564 as a vassal of the Karrani rulers. Isa Khan gradually increased his strength and in 1571 he was designated as the ruler of whole Bhati region. In 1575 he helped Daud Khan Karrani to fight with Mughal flotilla in the vicinity of Sonargaon.

Daud Khan Karrani died in the battle of Rajmahal against Mughals in 1576. Akbar then assigned Isa Khan as one of the Bara-Bhuiyans by making him the zamindar of Sonargaon. Since then he resisted Mughal’s ruling in his area. With the help of allies, he stood defiant against Mughals in the battle against Subahdar Khan Jahan in 1578, Subahdar Shahbaz Khan in 1584 and Durjan Singh in 1597. Isa Khan died in September 1599. Then his son, Musa Khan, took control of Bhati region. But after the defeat of Musa Khan in 10 July 1610 by Islam Khan, the army general of Mughals, Sonargaon became one of the sarkars of Bengal subah. The capital of Bengal is then shifted to Jahangirnagar (later named Dhaka).

British period: Panam City was established in the late 19th century as a trading center of cotton fabrics during British rule. Hindu cloth merchants built their residential houses following colonial style with inspiration derived from European sources. Today this area is protected under the department of archaeology of Bangladesh. Panam city area was linked with the main city area by three brick bridges – Panam Bridge, Dalalpur Bridge and PanamNagar Bridge – during Mughal period. The bridges are still in use.Sonakanda Fort is a Mughal river-fort located on the bank of the Shitalakshya River at Bandar.

Bangladesh period: Lok Shilpa Jadughar (Folk Art and Craft Museum) of Sonargaon was established by Bangladeshi painter Joynul Abedin on March 12, 1975. The house, originally called Bara Sardar Bari, was built in 1901. On 15 February 1984, Narayanganj subdivision is upgraded to a district by the Government of Bangladesh. Hence Sonargaon became a subdistrict of Narayanganj District of Dhaka division. Due to the many threats to preservation (including flooding and vandalism), Sonargaon is placed in 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by World Monuments Fund.

How to go

Frequent bus services to Sonargaon operate from Gulistan, Saidabad and other bus stands in Dhaka. Tickets may be bought on roadside counters. The price of the ticket from Gulistan bus stand is around 35 BDT, and the ride may take about 40 minutes, depending on the unpredictable traffic. Mention your destination as Mograpara. You can reach that place using bus from Dhaka (Gulistan). This will take you around 1 hour to reach at the place. You have to get down from the bus at Mograpara Crossing.From the crossing, you have to take a rickshaw, and have to tell the puller to drop you at Sonargaon. This will require 20 taka for the lift.

How To Reach: Narayanganj District

The distance from Dhaka to Narayanganj is 28.1 km, which is around 47 minutes travel from the Dhaka city. By air, the distance between Dhaka and Narayanganj is 13.71 km. This distance is equal to 8.52 miles, and 7.4 nautical miles. These directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, weather or other events may cause conditions to differ from this, and you should plan your route accordingly. You must obey all signs or notices regarding your route.

By Road:
1. Bandhan (From Motijheel to Narayanganj, Direct)
From Motijheel to Narayanganj

2. Ekata (From Gulistan to Narayanganj)
From Gulistan to Shib Market, Narayanganj

3. Ullash (From Gulistan to Narayanganj)
From Gulistan to Narayanganj

Where to Stay

1. Hotel Meheran
Shonaton Pal len road

2. Hotel Shonali
1no. Railgate, Pal road

3. Hotel Narayanganj
1no. Sirajuddoula road

4. Hotel Shugondha
Liakat Super Market,12/20 Digu babur bazar

5. Hotel Shurma
17no. Shahid Sohrawardi road

6. Hotel Rupayan
6no. S.S. road

Things to do

There are so many tourist attractive places awaiting for your visit. Some of these are-

  1. Bangladesh folk Art and Craft Museum, Sonargaon
  2. Sri Sri Loknath Brohmocharir Asrom
  3. Joty Basu’s parental house, Barodi
  4. Panam City, 0.5 km north to the Folk Art & craft Foundation
  5. Tazmahal of Bengal
  6. Lalpuri Shah Shrine, Nunertek
  7. Tomb of Panch pir, Mograpara, Narayanganj
  8. Tomb of Giyas Uddin Azam Shah, Mograpara
  9. Two old house of Mograpara, Sonargaon
  10. Andhar Kotha, Mograpara
  11. Tomb of Ibrahim Danesh Mand, Mograpara
  12. Eusuf Masjid, Mograpara
  13. Boro sardar bari, Sonargaon, Narayanganj
  14. Mughol bridge, Panam Nagar
  15. Panam Nagar Math, Sonargaon
  16. Thakur Bari Math
  17. Goaldi Mosque

Eating Facilities

1.Kolapata Restaurant
Mograpara Chourasta
Cell: 01760144144

2.Khaja Restaurant
Mograpara Chourasta
Cell: 01815708079

3.Melin Kabab, Soup & Biryani House
Mograpara Chourasta, Sonargaon
Cell: 01816586220

4.Cafe Sonargaon Hotel & Restaurant
1no. Gate of Museum,Ichapara

5.Ruposhi Bangla Restaurant
1no. gate of Museum, ichapara
Cell: 01712289708

6.Tazmahal Hotel
1no. gate of Museum, ichapara
Cell: 01819167894


Talk to Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Questions, issues or concerns? I'd love to help you!

Click ENTER to chat