Also known as the ghost city, Panam Nagar is located two hours from Dhaka, specifically near Moghrapara point in Sonargaon. A commercial hub of once upon a time is now only history. This medieval city benefited from seafaring trade in the 14th century and later from the cotton textile industry (particularly Muslin and Neel; Indigo) and British colonial rule. During British rule, the city was the most important cotton trading center in the area and residents made sure to take advantage of living in this strategic location. Among the three cities, Boro Nagar, Khas Nagar and Panam Nagar, the ghost city was known to be the most attractive one.
Because of the thriving market there, Panam Nagar soon became the home of upper-middle class businessmen in the late 1800s, the Hindu merchants known as Talukdars.
The edifices are very architecturally enriched. Sonargaon consists of Mughal architecture from the colonial period. Upon visiting, you can notice the Indo-European style depicted in the corners and in between bricks. The structural forms of the residences can be divided into three types: central hall, central courtyard and the consolidated kind. There is silent beauty in the abandoned balconies; the terracotta designs on the stones and the ancient walls tell stories of people long forgotten. To this day, it is still an attractive site for tourists but with a mere glance at the structures, one can witness what the years of negligence have done to it.
Currently, the masonry buildings are damaged due to damp weather and the laxness towards the archaeological sites. In 2006, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) included ‘Sonargaon-Panam City’ in their watch list of 100 endangered sites. Following up the notice, WMF stated that the Department of Archaeology from Bangladesh took initiatives to carry out all the restoration work. However, the said department lacks sufficient funding and have been slow to show any kind of improvement. Hence, you can still see the regal signs once you stroll around the decaying establishments.
The Lost City sounds like an easy escape from the city. Unlike the ancient times, the place is devoid of noise and crowded streets. You can’t help but acknowledge the antiquity of it all. Around 52 buildings are still standing including several Mughal monuments. Besides that, once you decide to visit Panam Nagar, you can also visit other historical places nearby like Sonargaon Museum and Goaldi Mosque.