Sonakanda Fort is a large structure situated near a river in Narayanganj, Bangladesh. Positioned on the eastern side of the Shitalakshya River, its construction date is uncertain, although historians believe it might have been built by Mir Jumla II, a prominent figure under the Mughal Empire. This fort was intended to safeguard Dhaka and Narayanganj from marauders who arrived by boats to plunder.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF SONAKANDA
Around the year 1574 AD, Bengal became an integral part of the Mughal Empire. The Mughals were benevolent rulers with a focus on protecting their people from external threats. In 1660 AD, Mir Jumla II assumed leadership in Bengal. Recognizing the menace posed by river-based attacks on important cities, he initiated the construction of three significant buildings near the river surrounding Dhaka. One of these structures was the Sonakanda Fort. Although there isn’t conclusive evidence for the fort’s exact construction date, historians suggest it falls between 1660 and 1663 AD.
The fort is characterized by robust walls, a spacious platform for cannons and firearms, and a northern entrance. It consists of two primary sections. The first is a substantial wall, standing at 3.05 meters in height and wider at the base. This wall features numerous openings for cannons and firearms, allowing defenders to repel attackers arriving by boats. The second section is an elevated area on the fort’s western side, designed to deter assaults from that direction.
The most significant element of the fort is the expansive platform designed for cannons and firearms. One of the round platforms is accessible via stairs, offering elevated positions for large cannons that could target incoming adversaries via the river. This strategic feature was a distinctive hallmark of Mughal fort architecture along riverbanks.
The platform is surrounded by two circular portions. The inner circle measures 15.70 meters in width, while the outer circle spans 19.35 meters. This area stands at a height of 6.09 meters and is encompassed by walls. The fort itself is square-shaped, with dimensions of 86.56 by 57.0 meters. The four corners of the fort are octagonal, with those on the western side being larger—measuring 6.85 meters in width—compared to the 4.26-meter-wide corners on the eastern side.
The sole entrance to the fort is on its northern face. This arched doorway is set within a rectangular frame, elevated above the typical wall height and adorned with intricate patterns.
MYTHS AND LEGENDS
Several captivating stories surround the fort, although they lack historical verification. One tale involves Princess Swarnamoyee, daughter of Kedar Roy, the ruler of Bikrampur. Supposedly, she was rescued by Isa Khan Niazi, the Sonargaon ruler, after being abducted during a boat attack. Another version narrates the forced marriage of Isa Khan Niazi to Sona Bibi, Kedar Roy’s widow daughter, who was locked up in the fort and cried over her fate.
DIRECTIONS TO SONAKANDA FORT
Situated near Dhaka in Narayanganj town, the fort is colloquially known as “Kella.”
To reach the fort:
1. Board a bus from Gulistan to Chashara in Narayanganj.
2. From Chashara, take a rickshaw to Bondor Ghat (Narayanganj Launch Terminal).
3. Cross the river by boat from Bondor Ghat.
4. Take another rickshaw, instructing the driver to go to the vicinity of “Kella.”
Alternatively, you can use the GPS coordinates (23°36’25.05″N, 90°30’43.26″E) to locate Sonakanda Fort.