Tomb and mosque of Panch Pir, Sonargaon.
Photographer: Brennand, W.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the tomb and mosque of Panch Pir, at Sonargaon near Dhaka in Bangladesh, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections, taken by W. Brennand in 1872. The province of Dhaka was brought under Islamic rule in the 13th century, first by the Delhi Sultanate then by the independent sultans of Bengal, after which it was taken by the Mughals in 1608. Sonargaon was the capital of sultans of Bengal from the 13th century until 1608 when Islam Khan, the Mughal Governor, transferred the capital of the whole province to the nearby city of Dhaka, now the capital of Bangladesh. In the 18th century the city of Dhaka was eclipsed by Murshidabad under the Nawabs of Bengal and its population diminished. In 1858 all the territories held by the East India Company (including Dhaka) were brought under British rule. The mosque in this view is described in Alexander Cunningham, Report of a tour in Bengal and Bihar in 1879-80 (ASI vol XV, Calcutta, 1882), p. 139: 'These are five small brick tombs arranged in one line on a platform about 4 feet high. Nothing whatever is known about the holy men who are entombed in them. Along the edges of the platform there are some unfinished brick pillars, which look as if they had been intended for the support of a roof, or perhaps only a trellised railing. To the south-east there is a small neglected brick mosque, now fast hastening to ruin.' Although it is not certain who the Panch-Pirs (five Holy men) were, they were venerated in parts of Bengal particularly among poor or lower class village folk who sought asylum under their protection.