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  Heritage  Zone    GARLI   PRAGPUR  

Location- Distt Kangra H.P. India   All Images  © P r Bali  

The area of Garli -Pragpur came within the Jaswan kingdom whose rulers were the cadets of Katoch of the Kangra lineage. Around the 16th" –17th century, bands of marauders started laying waste the pretty and peaceful foothills of the Kangra Valley. Prag Dei, a princess of the royal house of Jaswan, successfully  organized resistance to these marauding bands. To commemorate this princess, an area was selected using ancient Indian shastras (texts) which, it was believed, received the good astral influences of prayers said for thousands of years at nearby shakti (primordial energy) temples of which three" Brajeshwari (Kangra), Chintpurni and Jwalamukhi are famous.  Here, Pragpur was founded and its lay- out carefully planned. Various clans and communities were allotted distinctive living spaces and by and large this continue to date.One of the important communities that settled at Garli-Pragpur and nearby hamlets such as Rakkar, Pir Salui etc. were some of the 52 clans of the hill Soods. Being enterprising, many made their  fortunes at other destinations, especially Simla. They, however, did not forget their root.At Pragpur and Garli, they built elegant havelis, mansions and Italianate buildings that are interspersed amongst lovely mud-plastered and slate-roofed houses which lie alongside streets paved with dressed cobbled stone. They also invested in schools, dharamshalas and water systems. In course of time, they settled where their economic interests lay. 


Their magnificent buildings - some decaying and crumbling -have largely remained unspoiled, giving Garli-Pragpur a medieval ambience. Recognizing that this unspoiled traditional area could contribute to rural heritage tourism, in December 1997 the Government of Himachal Pradesh notified Pragpur as a Heritage Village and followed this up by making Garli -Pragpur Heritage Zone in 2002. This Heritage Zone has now been  brought under a Special Area Development Authority (SADA) and is integrated with the national wetland -Maharana Pratap Sagar (PongDam)Tourism Development Project.  Located at an elevation of 2000 feet above sea level, Heritage Village Pragpur is ideally suited to explore the Kangra Valley.

The area has several streams that drain into the river Beas -the mythological river Vipasa meaning release from bondage. Many places of historic, religious and cultural importance are within easy reach. In the distance, the Dhauladhar mountains make a stunning backdrop. With its equitable climate, easy access, safe passage and a rich flora and fauna, Pragpur and its surroundings offer an ideal location for Village Tourism.  

     Heritage Zone:- The ambience of the Heritage Zone of Garli -Pragpur is zealously protected by the local residents. In their endeavour that Garli -Pragpur retains its unique character, panchayats preserve their heritage buildings and advise on new construction. Several heritage structures are now being restored using original techniques but with modern facilities to facilitate tourism.

Dating before 1868, the Taal or pond forms the core of Pragpur village and serves as a recreational space for young and aged alike. It was constructed by the village brotherhood known as the Nehar Committee, which has records of its meetings since 1864. This body continues to be responsible for the maintenance of this ancient water system.
  The Taal is surrounded by many heritage structures -the NEHAR BHAWAN (nearly 250 years old); NAUN (dated around 1864), a drinking water facility by the Nehar Committee; DHUNICHAND BHARDIAL SERAI (village inn) and RADHA KRISHNA MANDIR.


This is a unique building. Over a hundred years old, it was built by Lala Buta Mal, a scion of the Chaujjar Sood clan. It includes six identical apartments built for his six sons. These lie around a sunken courtyard. In warmer weather, this courtyard is flooded with water to provide cooling. The water for this has been brought by the Butails from the nearby Nalsuyah Khad and provides drinking water to several villages along the way.  

 NAKKI                                                                                                                               This is the one of the entrances to Heritage Village Pragpur. Since ancient times, the Rerumal family provided a water point for common use, the overflow of which falls into small tanks where the village people bathed and washed.                                                                                       


Completed in 1918, this is a splendid country manor designed in Indo- European tradition. The visionary behind this bold structure was Justice Sir Jai Lal. It stands in 12 acres of greens, and is just a short walk from the village core and the Taal. It is now run by the owning family as a heritage hotel.  Other places of interest within Heritage Village Pragpur are LALA RERUMAL HAVELI built in 1931 by a Rais of Pragpur which has a Mughal style garden, pleasure terrace and a large water reservoir; BUTAIL MANDIR; CHAUJJAR MANSION; COURTYARDS of the Sood Clans, an ancient SHAKTi MANDIR bearing inscriptions in the largely obsolete Tankry script; and ATIYALAS or public platforms. The area is inhabited by many crafts people -weavers, basket makers, silversmiths, painters, musicians and tailors etc. The residents of Garli -Pragpur are hospitable. There is always a warm welcome for tourists and the area provides a safe passage.  
Around Pragpur, River Beas with its unspoilt beaches (6 kms). offers a possibility of boating, swimming and angling during season. SERI and Naleti (4 kms) are epitome of pastoral tranquillity. Natural underground seepage feeds both Garli and Pragpur. Lovely country walks radiate from Garli and Pragpur. These include meandering country paths through rolling hills and valleys with gurgling brooks  and a meadow where mint grows wild. Rakkar (6 kms) and Pir , Salui (20 kms) are both old Sood settlements. Other places worth visiting are Kalesar ( 16 kms by road / 6 kms by walk) on the banks of river Beas. It is famous for its panchtirthi waters and parasmani (touchstone).Image Dadasiba Temple
DADA SIBA TEMPLE (22 kms) has beautiful wall paintings and is reached via CHINOR ( 17 kms) that has a temple and water mills. Dangra (2 kms) has an old temple.
          Wall Paintings Dadasiba Temple                Ceiling Dadasiba Temple
 MASROOR (57 kms) is known for its Ellora styled rock-cut temples. PONG DAM (8 kms) is a national wetland and is renowned for its bird life. More than 240 varieties have been identified. Comfortable day excursions are possible to DHARAMSHALA (60 kms), McLEODGAN) (68 kms) -residence of his Holiness Dalai Lama and PALAMPUR (95 kms) with a vista of green tea estates and the artists' complex of Andretta. HARIPUR GULER (27 kms), the cradle of Kangra school of paintings, is nearby. The indomitable KANGRA FORT is easily achievable. For the spiritually inclined, Pragpur offers the ancient altars of worship of BRIJESHWARI (40kms), JWALAMUKHI (25 kms), CHINTPURNI (25 kms) and BAGULAMUKHI (35 kms). The BAJNATH TEMPLE beyond Palampur is amongst the oldest Shiva shrines. Kangra Valley is served by the beautiful narrow gauge train system that runs from Pathankot to Jogindernagar. GULER and RANITAL stations are nearest to Garli-Pragpur (30 kms).
 The beautiful landscape of Pragpur region offers ample opportunities for cycling, trekking, nature walks, bird watching, fishing or simple relaxation. Visits to weavers, silver- smiths, tailors, shoemakers and the Village market can be enchanting.

Kalesar: 6 km from the Judge’s Court. Local lore traces the origins of this temple complex to the exile of the Pandavas, an episode from the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata. By the banks of the river Beas, this has some ancient temples and water pools. It is also quite a scenic spot for picnics.


Kalser Temple

PWD Guest House
Heritage Inn: 01970-245146;
 Kamal Guest House: 01970-245145;
The Judge's Court: 01970-245035, 245335;
 River View Resorts: 01970-234267,234268;
  • Shah Dhuni chand Bhardial Serai: 01970- 245168, 245468;
  • Radha Krishna Thakurdwara Temple Serai: 01970-245006 and several heritage homes and guest houses.
    SEASONS TO VISIT :-All seasons and all year round, especially January and September when the Lohri and Wrestling festivals are celebrated.                                  

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    All Images  © P r Bali