Visiting the old city of Sonargoan

February 18, 2010

An amazing trip yesterday out into the countryside not far from Dakha, to visit the now derilect old city that was once the regional capital. Mixed emotions; delight at the quiet, peace, greenery of the place after the mayhem of Dakha, but also sadness to such such precious heritage left to crumble.

Old city street

Interested to notice how much european influence is evident; corinthian style columns, fleur de lys iron work, very italian looking angels above the doors. I suppose that by the 16th Century trade in design ideas was already common. This old place is a ghost town now, inhabited by squatters and crows.

Slow decay

Apparently the name means ‘Golden City’, a trading centre for bengal’s muslin cloth, long ago destroyed by British colonial rule. As I sat at the little tea shop, listening to the tinkle of the rickshaw’s bells and the call to prayer, could almost imagine what it must have been like so many years ago.

Road side tea stall

Fading glory

Except I suppose that in those days it was a Hindu city, and it would have been a busy, noisy, smelly hubub! If I get to visit Bangladesh again, I would like to spend more time in the villages, where the pace is slower. Some of the villages we have driven through seem timeless in their simple farming/living practices.

Rickshaws in old town

Some people still live simply along the river banks

Ancient bridge in the evening

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