Thursday, 21 January 2021

"Judge's Court" Pragpur (Kangra, Dist. HP.), a colonial style home, now a heritage hotel

Judge's Court, Pragpur, Himachal Pradesh.  Courtthebetterindia.com

Across India there  are ever so many  pretty old private  residences (more than 100 plus years) built both in local style as well as various European styles. With the rapid urbanization in various parts in the past couple of decades and craze for modern dwelling, such time-honored old structures are  either demolished  to replace it with  multi-story buildings or left in a poor state because the owners do not want to keep such white elephants; regular maintenance is a menace cost-wise.  To cater to the increasing tourism and mushrooming 3 to 4 star hotels at many important tourist destinations, many rich families pool the money and convert them into attractive hotels, retaining the old  charm and heritage features. The surprising fact is countless foreign tourists prefer to stay in these hotels with heritage elements. with hidden modern facilities.

Located at an altitude of 2000 feet in the midst of  12 acre lush green land in the district of Kangra is a 101 year old heritage building called Judge's Court, a private residence of an erstwhile lawyer and High Court justice  Sir Jai Lal  (believed to be second Indian judge appointed by the British India government).during the colonial period.

Pragpur, country side, Himachal Pradesh. outlookindia.com


Heritage village, Pragpur, Himachal Pradesh. thebetterindia.com

The small town  Pragpur is  in the Kangra Valley of  the state of Himachal Pradesh  set in a quiet place with a  beautiful backdrop of the Dhauladhar mountains  with  meandering rolling  meadows. Established in the 17th century by the  Kuthiala  Sub-Clan of the  prosperous  Sud community, this small village, named  after princess Prag Dei of the Jaswan royal family,  carries the unique  tag of' ''First Indian heritage village (recognized by the State of  Himachal Pradesh in 1997) famous for cobblestone lanes, village tank, natural underground  water springs and mustard fields. Sporting two story old buildings with tiled roof, the village is equally popular for skilled silversmiths  and weavers. Visitors to this place go for  handmade trinkets, hand-woven blankets , wool clothing, etc. The  local handcrafted products  are popular on the local market.  The local village people never give up their traditional profession and skilled work, thus maintaining the continuity and the harmony among the members.

Pagpur Judge's court. heritagehotelsofindia.com

The Judge's Court (completed in 1918)  is a beautiful  European-styled building (one of India's fine heritage Haveli)  with fine court yard and  interior  decorations -  elegant light fittings, carpets and duvets, etc.  The present owners stay here for just 6 months in a year   In this residence the wooden cupboard, doors and  etc.,  are antique and were handcrafted  in the 1930s. The outer area overlooks the a big  lawn that is well maintained. 

Judge's court, Pragpur, HP. audleytravel.com

The builder of this residence  is Rai Bahadur Jai Lal, the present owner's grand father and he had this house built for his  eldest daughter as a  wedding gift from his family.(1918). Jai lal was working in the court and was a trained lawyer. As he put in excellent services, in 1922  he was promoted to  the covetous  justice post in the high court at Lahore (now in Pakistan)  when  India was under the British Raj. In those days, (even nowadays), during the summer season, the court  would be closed for 2  t  3 weeks so that the justices and lawyers could be free from the tedium of stressful court court work and rabble-rousing arguments over legal  interpretations.   Justice Jai Lal would visit this place on short holidays  during the winter and go to near by Shimla  on long summer holidays .

Paragpur, Kangra dist, HP. allindiatourpackages.in/

Sri Jai Lal's three  well- educated sons  after their father's demise in 1954,  had an idea to sell this palatial house. However, they began spending more time here than in their home in Delhi and finally made up their mind to convert it in to a heritage hotel. Before starting the hotel business they took care of all repair and restoration work. Way back between 1914 and 1918, the main building and spacious reception hall came up. In the 1940s spacious kitchen and staff quarters were added.  The house had a fine dinning area, also space for  buffet  and  pantry,  Initially there 14  big rooms with balcony. In the later years more rooms were built and in the recent past big chambers were  added,  each named after the well known colonial administrators like Curzon, Dalhousie, Mountbatten and ever Robert Clive. This was done to maintain the colonial  flavor  and charm. 

As for the Judge's court, it is  our country's  first village manor with many  rooms The hotel is accredited with 4-star rating and it offers  personalized services and  high quality Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine.  A visitor to this place, I understand,  will get the feeling of being in the colonial era. Such old structures remain as vestiges of  local legacy and heritage. The owners of such old colonial type building must do something to preserve such structures and put them to use - hotels, restaurants or banks. This way they can get enough money to maintain the old building and at the same time they can safeguard them for the posterity. 

thttps://www.yatra.com/hotels/hotels-in-pragpur/welcomheritage-judges-courthese are cultivated within the hotel's premises.–

thebetterindia.com
https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/explore/story/66695/bask-colonial-comforts-heritage-village-pragpu
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https://www.thebetterindia.com/84950/pragpur-kangra-himachal-pradesh-first-heritage-village-india/