Historical places and antiquities always attract people. This is like exploring something new. Visiting a historical site takes us to bounce back into history for a certain period!
Today, I will tell you about such a historical place enlisted in world heritage sites. It’s ‘Panam City,’ a 19th-century Bengal Architectural marvel in Bangladesh. It is one of the most thriving architecture in Bengal’s history. Also well known as ‘Panam Nagar’ and ‘Lost City’ locally.
Panam Nagar is one of the mesmerizing touristy places in Bangladesh. And is also one of the most thriving architectures in Bengal’s history.
Historic Panam Nagar is located in Sonargaon, Narayanganj district, approximately 30km away from Tejgaon Bus stand in Dhaka city. It takes around 1-2 hours to reach Panam City from Dhaka, depending on the traffic.
Table of Contents
First Off, Does A Visit To Panam City Worth It?
A massive part of Bengal’s History remains in this lost city. It has a great appeal in the minds of visitors of all tastes, aptitudes, and temperaments. Mainly renowned for its magnificent architecture.
The place is attracted by its immense beauty, the ruins of buildings, and the relics that date back to Bengal’s era. So, visiting Panam Nagar is worth its gold weight for the history buff or travelers who visually want to experience the Bengal region’s past.
Now it is included in World Heritage and has become a great picnic spot for locals, students, and Tourist Spot for all visitors and travelers to enjoy the sunshine with ancient heritage.
Let’s See How Panam Nagar Was Built?
During the reign of Aurangzeb of Delhi, Sonargaon was considered as the capital of East Bengal. Later in 1610 AD, Sonargaon was made the capital of Bengal in Dhaka province. The name Sonargaon is thought to have originated from East Subarnagram.
Many called Sonargaon Panam, but little is known about how the name came to be.
Here, the famous Muslin and cotton fabrics business flourished. The fame of the fine Muslin variety developed around Panam and spread beyond the subcontinent to the west. Most of the houses in this city were built in the 19th century.
A house has a nameplate of 1813 AD. There was a temple here as it was the residence of wealthy Hindu merchants—about 1400 families of Hindu and Muslim weavers in and around Panam city.
During the Indo-Pakistani communal riots of 1965, this settlement of Hindu traders was targeted by looters. At that time, looters loot the doors and windows. Later on, in 1971, the war of liberation of Bangladesh, when the Hindu traders migrated to India. The bustling city became almost empty. The death of a living town began from then on, then never woke up again.
The buildings that are missing from the city’s residents are eroding due to negligence. After the Bangladesh war, people were officially allowed to live in the houses. The government leases these houses for 10 to 15 years and then renews them.
Since then, Panam Nagar was significantly known as -‘Abandoned’ or ‘Lost City’- or ‘The Lost Golden City’- leaving it today as a crumbling neighborhood of huge mansions slowly being reclaimed by nature. Later on, Bangladesh Govt. declared this place a Tourist Spot.
A Tiny Trip Inside Panam Nagar!
Now let’s have a look at what’s inside the magnificent Nagar. After buying the ticket, you will be tiptoed through the tulips of time the moment you enter.
A perfect setting for making historical films! And when you see the fascinating architecture, you will get a taste of other eras’ stories. In the blink of an eye, you have become entangled in the web of old Bengali history.
View Outside Of Param Nagar
You can see the ‘Pankhiraj Canal surrounds Panam Nagar. Pankhiraj merged with the Meghna River called the Menikhali River. Shitalakshya River is located on the east side of Panam Nagar and the west side of the Meghna River.
The river was used for exporting Muslin fabric. There is a massive gate at the entrance of Panam Nagar. During that time, the gate used to close before sunset, and even now, no visitor can stay in the city of Panam after dusk.
An affluent Nagar has a touch of exquisite artistic aristocracy! You can see historic buildings standing in rows if you want to experience these exclusive buildings – the best way – to stroll around and feel the air of the centuries. A lovely picturesque view! There are 52 buildings. Among them, 31 are in the north and 21 in the South of Panam Nagar.
Every building has its memoir and own type. You can see the Zamindari villa on the way. That villa has some traditional buildings surrounded by a garden and two ponds. You get a clear picture of people of that time.
Inside Panam Nagar
The beauty of these ancient relics is the beggars’ description. As you walk on the central road, you will be able to see Beautiful 2-story homes built on both sides of the road. Its walls are constructed with thin red bricks.
The residences were designed with European artistic skills blended with Mughal designs. The walls are made of thin red bricks. Almost every house has a well-appointed landscape with wells. You can notice that most buildings have hazardous signs on the upper floors.
The roads are narrow. And as you walk along these narrow roads, you fall deeper into Bengal’s history. You can feel the historic wind of tranquility!
During that time, beautiful artwork was inside, and one of the rooms was a large, Naachghar, where dancers would entertain the guests. Folk songs used to be sung in the center of a magical dance hall full of aesthetic flowers rich in folk art, herbal walls, and painted charm.
However, inside Panam Nagar, there are mosques, churches, temples, monasteries, galleries, inns, treasuries, courtrooms, old museums, bathrooms, and secret passages within the city. There is also a 400-year-old mint house built by the East India Company.
Every ruin of Panam holds a unique story behind it. Though it now ruins, there is nothing short of amazing. Even most of the buildings were made of red bricks, white and black mosaic, with some marble and Terracotta. What breathtaking craftsmanship!
Anyone who visits the Nagar can get the peeks of its lost grandiosity through the ruinous historic buildings and scattered terracotta. A closer look reveals that they have marvelously constructed the whole city!
You can also find a little bit of trace of how Bengal people were cultured and religious in the reign of the Sultanates and Baro Bhuiyas! Apart from residential buildings, there are places of worship, pantry, darbar hall, etc.
Though damaged with the flow of time, natural calamities, and lack of proper treatment by residents.
But still, it gives you the momentum of the lifestyle of Zamindar and the people of that time. You will be able to feel once Bengal -when India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were a country. Still, Panam Nagar is a living document of folklore, exuberant artistic buildings, and a wealthy city’s footprint.
What Else To See In Panam Nagar?
A few more magnificent buildings still survive in Panam’s vicinity, built by local zamindars and traders. Among them, Sardar Bari, Anand Mohan Poddar’s house, and Hasimoy Sen’s house are notable. A folk art museum has been set up at Sardar’s house now which is known as Sonargoan Fork And Art Museum.
You will get a detailed picture of the ancient Bengals Village Lifestyle. It is a combination of two large palaces. A long corridor connects two Palaces. The 2- storeyed house has 70 rooms. Sardar’s house is decorated with colorful mosaics.
However, Sonargoan is a nice place to walk around and see locals who want to enjoy the beautiful historical heritage of the Sultanates and Baro Bhuiyas. Also, you can visit the Sonargaon Resort, which is extremely expensive. So, if you think of visiting the resort, then come with some extra Bucks!
Panam City Is Now Even More Exciting!
In 2004, the government realized the city’s importance and decided to save it without renewing the lease. Later on, in 2009, the dept. Archeology declared that this place must be conserved for the heritage site and took initial steps to renovate and save the Panam’s glory.
How To Get Panam Nagar?
You can go directly to Panam Nagar by private car, motorcycle, or microbus. But if you are in Dhaka, you can easily get a bus ride from the Gulistan bus stand.
At Gulistan, you have to take Doel, Swadesh, Barak AC, or non-Ac bus. From Gulistan, the bus fare is 45, 40, and 50 BDT, respectively.
Then get off at Mograpara Crossroads. From Mograpara crossroads, you can go to Panam city in a battery-powered auto or rickshaw for 20 to 40 BDT. However, if tourists wish, they can visit the Sonargaon Folk Art Museum and reach Panam in 5 minutes on foot.
Locals: Ticket 15 BDT.
Foreign tourists: Ticket 100 BDT.
Schedule of visiting Panam Nagar
Panam Nagar can be visited six days a week. One day off. However, Panam Nagar is not far from Dhaka, so you can come back during the day. But for your convenience, the visiting time is highlighted.
Tuesday to Saturday: Open from 9 am to 5 pm.
Monday: Open after 2 p.m.
Public Holidays: The attractive city is closed on public holidays.
Surfacecrawler’s Tip: If you want to see the whole Panam Nagar, it is better to leave early in the morning. You can be reached by 10:30 am, or 11:00 am. If you follow this suggestion, you can enjoy the Panam all day and visit the Folk and Crafts Museum. You will also be able to have lunch from there on time.
A Notable Suggestion When You Visiting Panam Nagar
‘Surface Crawlers’ would like to suggest you start walking from the western part of Panam Nagar. Then move forward to the eastern side until you reach the end of the Nagar. This path is shorter, so you can take time to stroll and enjoy the views of the old building.
Difficulties You May Face While Visiting Panam Nagar
Though Panam Nagar is a fascinating tourist place, seemingly, it is located on the outskirts of Dhaka. Hence, foreign tourists may face some trouble in finding proper sanitization facilities.
The good thing is that Govt is taking care of it, and improvements have been made, yet it is good to freshen up when you leave for the tour and have a mindset that you might face some traveling strains.
If you are hungry in Sonargaon and looking for some desi food, we would advise you to go to the main road to find suitable restaurants. We just found the small restaurants around Panam Nagar are less hygienic comparatively, but if you find them suitable, Go ahead!
Over To You
Historical places take us to bounce back into history for a certain period! Naturally, it gives us a different feeling of diversity, joy, pleasure, knowledge, and experience. You will not miss this place if you are a history enthusiast. If you are not, Panam City will be lively as it has so much to offer to all types of travelers, .such as a fantastic photographic opportunity for historical architecture.
So, do you want to observe the enchanting City and experience its ancient lifestyle? Then Panam City is waiting for you with its captivating beauty while the warm Bangladeshi sun kisses your skin!
So when are you packing your bags? Comment below to let us know! Don’t forget to share your experience in our comment section after visiting this amazing place. If you have already visited, let us know what you like most about it.