Garli Pragpur Heritage village is a postcard perfect village of India in secluded hamlets of Himachal.
Tucked in Kangral Valley, Garli will never fail to impress you with it’s pristine beauty. My Bullet Ride from Delhi to Garli Pragpur Heritage Village was one of the best Road Trips in 2015.
Route : Delhi – Panipat – Ambala – Chandigarh-Una-Amb-Garli (440 km )
India’s First Heritage village !
A treasure-trove of natural attractions, Kangra Valley is popular for it’s Heritage and History. But Garli Pragpur took the attention when the state government, in 1997, certified it as India’s first Heritage Village.The ambiance of the Heritage Zone of Garli -Pragpur is zestfully protected by the local residents.
Pragpur was founded in the late 16th century by the Patials in memory of Princess Prag Dei of the Jaswan Royal family. Prag means “pollen” in Sanskrit and pur means “full of”, so Prag-pur means “full of pollen”. This place became a paradise with blossoms in spring.
Garli Pragpur Heritage Village has buildings in stunning varied architectural styles — Kangra, Rajput, Portuguese and even Italian. HOW ?
In the early 19th century that the vigorous Kuthiala Sood community arrived and settled here. These merchants travelled abroad.They built mansions, schools and hospitals in architectural styles that matched what they observed during their travel to different parts of the world.
As you enter Garli Heritage Village, you are welcomed by elegant havelis. Old-wooden mansions and a few Himachali houses which lie alongside streets . A tiny pond in-between make it even more picturesque.
Around 100 years ago a few businessmen decided to build houses at Garli to work in Winter. They made a foresighted village with all futuristic requirements like schools,hospital,Veterinary hospital,electricity etc.
I have never found such a village in India offering such diversity in Architecture amongst the mansions and sarais. As you walk on the street of Garli, you may claim to have fallen into a “time slip” .
Naurang Yatri Niwas ,A Heritage Lodge in Garli
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. One of such heritage building where we spent our night is Naurang Yatri Niwas.
An elaborate brick structure. It was built by Rai Bahadur Mohan Lal to facilitate the stay of Lt Governor of Punjab to attend the wedding of his daughter.Later, it became an accommodation for travellers and merchants who came to Garli.
During the early half of the 20th century, Garli was a prominent commercial centre. Around the mid-1940s it fell into obsolescence.
The rooms have been kept basic in order to maintain the essence of the real architecture.The structure of the building is designed in such a way that you won’t need a heater or a fan.
The food was the best part here. The Cook was amazing who prepared many local delicacies on request retaining the Garli flavor. Check Himachali Sweet Rice Recipe here.
Things to Do in Garli
A Morning walk
Explore Garli strolling through the lanes of this Heritage Village.It was 6 O’ clock in the Morning. Road was empty and a few boys playing basketball in the school playground which was just opposite to the Lodge.
I started my walk with my Camera towards the Market area. I was impressed to see the school which has a WIFI campus.I stopped many times spending some time near the ‘Hidden House’, the ‘Mystery House’, and so on before I reach Market of Garli.
Visit Local Market
Garli’s people are helpful and have developed a bond with mother-nature .They know that cleanliness is next to godliness.And a cup of tea is the best medium to connect to people in a new place. Isn’t it ?
I enjoyed my Chai with some Himachali Cookies at a bakery shop. I don’t remember what they call it in local language.It tasted more like a Ghee Biscuit.
Traveling is not about region and food, it’s about learning different cultures. Folk Songs ,Dance forms are the delightful ways of connecting to Himachali Culture and Heritage.
Nati is a traditional dance form which is performed by the village ladies. Enjoy a Himachali Folk Song when you visit Garli Pragpur Heritage Village.
Jwala Devi Temple
Located in Shaktinagar,Jwala Devi Temple temple is one of the 51 Shakti peethas of India. An hour drive (20 km) from Garli will take you to this Flaming Goddess in Kangra Valley. There is no idol placed inside the temple but a series of flames which is worshiped as the goddess herself.
After Visiting the temple, I headed towards my next destination ‘Bir’ in Himachal Pardesh. It is one of the best paragliding sites in the world.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post about India’s First Heritage village. Stay tuned to my Instagram Page to get updates about my upcoming Travel. Yes we are traveling again 🙂