Sonargaon lies about three miles west of Narayanganj and can be approached by a causeway on foot, or in the rainy season one can go by boat down the river Lakhya, Meghna, and up the small rivulet Brahmaputra and a khal right up to the foot of the village.
Sonargaon, or more correctly Suvarnagrama, which literally means ‘Gold Town’, is obviously of Hindu origin, but its ancient history is not yet definitely known, Its position on the bank of the Meghna gave it the first importance as an inland port town in the medieval history of Bengal, and during this very period it used to be the political capital of East Bengal. The first definite reference to this town is found in the Tarikh-i-Firozshahi of Zia ud-Din Barani, who speaks of the friendly relation of Rai Danuj of Sonargaon with Ghiyasuddin Balban, the Delhi emperor, at the time of the latter’s visit to East Bengal in A. D. 1281. Ibn Battutah came to Sonargaon in about 1345, and here he embarked on a vessel that took him direct to Java. The Chinese ambassadors came to this place in early fifteenth century A. D. They record that Sonargaon was “a walled place with tanks, streets, bazars and which carries on a business in all kinds of goods,” and add that “all goods are collected here and distributed.” In about 1586 Ralph Fitch came to Sonargaon. He writes, “Sonargaon is a town six leagues from Sripur, where there is the best and finest cloth made of cotton that is in all India. The chief king of all those countries is called Isa Khan.” After the establishment of’ the Mughal capital at Jahangirnagar (Dhaka) the political importance of Sonargaon was finished, but as a producer of cotton fabrics it held the field till the foreign competition ruined its business, and reduced the whole town into an unrecognisable village.
There are innumerable ruins of old in the neighbourhood of the village, now called Mograpara. About half a mile to the north of the main causeway leading from Narayanganj to Mograpara, stands Panch Pir Dargah– a collection of five small brick tombs in one line on a platform about four feet high. Nothing definite is known about the persons buried here. They are generally attributed to Panch Pir the most famous of them being Boro, i.e., Badr Alam.
About 1000 feet to the east of Panch Pir, there is a fine massive stone sarcophagus (pl. IV&V), which people ascribe to Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah, son of Sikandar Shah of Bengal. The king died in A. D. 1410. The tomb sands on the edge of a dried up tank. It is a table tomb with a solid keeled top stone, originally surrounded by a pillared enclosure. The east side still retains three carved panels, each panel having a niche, from the apex of which hangs down a floriated lamp. The cornice is decorated with a line of billets over a beaded ornament.
About half a mile south-east from this place in the outskirts of the village of Mograpara, one spot is pointed out as Damdama, probably a part of the original fortification of the town. In the centre of the village can be seen an open grave of Manna Shah Dervish. At a short distance, on the north, arc the remains of the Khanqah of Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf and the Tombs of Hazrat Yusuf himself and his son Shaikh Mahmud. The tombs are rectangular in plan with plastered walls, and the roofs having pyramidal Bengali dome. These are purely of the local variety.
Nearby stands a single-domed square mosque, which was originally built by Jalal ud-Din Fateh Shah in A. D. 1484. But the present building is a reconstruction of early 19th century. The original stone pillars and mihrab stone can be seen inside the mosque. The inscription tablet, belonging to this mosque, is now fixed to a compound wall in front of the mosque. That stone is now besmeared with chunam (lime), in the hope of getting one’s desire fulfilled. The compound, just referred to, encloses a few graves, which are attributed by the local people to the independent Sultans of Bengal, but such attribution has no historical basis. To the north of this mosque in the open ground stands a building; this is pointed out to be Khazanchi Khana (i.e., the treasury). To its west are the remains of residential buildings of the late Mughal period.
At a short distance from the dargah is a loose slab bearing a record of the time of Nusrat Shah, dated A. D. 1520. There are many other graves in the neighbourhood, like those of Ponkai Diwana, Pagla Sahib, of whom nothing historical is known. However, one notable monument is the Painam Bridge, which lies further away from the town on way to Company ki Kothi. Two mosques – one of Husain Shah, dated A. D. 1519 and the other of the time of Aurangzeb dated 1704, formerly standing at Gowaldih, have now been turned into a heap of mound. The ornamental pillars and the mihrabs are buried within.