Have You Heard about the Beautiful Village of Pragpur, Kangra : India's First Heritage Village?

Pragpur Heritage Village, located in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, is a living testament to the rich cultural heritage and history of the region.

Having been established in the late 16th century, Pragpur Heritage Village has become a true embodiment of the bygone era, thanks to its rich history and cultural heritage.. In 1997, the Himachal Pradesh State Government recognized the significance of Pragpur and its neighboring village Garli and officially designated them as "Heritage Villages." This honor made Pragpur the first heritage village in India, adding an important milestone to its already illustrious history.

Today, Pragpur Heritage Village stands tall as a symbol of the region's rich cultural heritage.


It was established in the late 16th century by the Patials to honor Princess Parag Dei from the Jaswan Royal family. The village is famous for its unique architecture and pristine beauty, which is why it was declared as the country's first Heritage Village in December 1997 by the state government of Himachal Pradesh.

The name of the village was derived from the confluence of two 'khads'(seasonal water channels), Sehri khad and Lag-Baliana khad, which meet at Nakki. The village was named Pryagpur, which means the place where two water courses meet, and later became known as Pragpur.  A 100-year old document in Sanskrit exists in which the principal of Oriental College, Lahore refers to the village as प्रयागपुर (Pryagpur). Since long the Lag-Baliana khad has been the source of water supply to Pragpur. . Local folklore suggests that the prosperous Kuthiala Sood community settled here in the early 19th century. They traveled abroad and returned home to build mansions, schools, and hospitals in architectural styles that matched what they observed during their visits.


Pragpur is an ornamental village with unchanged shops, cobblestone streets, old water tanks, mud-plastered walls, and slate-roofed houses. The narrow streets, lined with fort-like houses, havelis, and villas, are indicative of the area's aged charisma. The village has houses in extremely varied architectural styles - Kangra, Rajput, British, Portuguese and even Italian.

There is a mansion known as The Judges Court, currently being run as a hotel by Mr. Vijai Lal. He is the grandson of Justice Sir Jai Lal, the second Indian to become a Judge of the Punjab High Court. The Judge's Court is a classified Heritage hotel that offers an experience of the charm of good living in rural India. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside, swelling hills, and a rich eco-system. The resort, built in a typical Anglo-Indian style of architecture, stands in 12 acres of greens and is just a short walk from the village core and the Taal.

Apart from The Judges Court, which was built in 1918, Mr. Lal has also restored his 300-year-old ancestral house. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Heritage Village Pragpur provides expertise for the preservation of heritage in the village. Due to its unspoiled looks, it attracts a number of tourists every year, especially foreigners. Today, every effort has been made to restore the houses and havelis with the same wood and brickwork to retain the old style and structure.

The ancient glory of the village has been protected and rejuvenated by Vijai Lal. He has taken the initiative to safeguard the Heritage village. "Tourism promotion is a key factor, but at the same time, we must ensure that it does not lose its charisma and uniqueness, while providing employment to locals," Mr. Lal emphasized. To keep a check on this, a heritage committee has been constituted. No construction activity is allowed within the heritage zone without the committee's permission, and recently, village people have donated ten acres of land to the Himachal government for making Sanskrit Vidya Peeth here. A specific color code will be followed, and all buildings will be consistent with the medieval ambience of the village.

Post Office:

According to available records, the Post and Telegraph Department established the Pragpur post office on 18 February 1931. The post office still functions and serves the locals and tourists who come to visit this beautiful village.

Changing Name:

Today, the name Pragpur is being changed to Paragpur (परागपुर). The story of a princess, Parag Dei, after whom the village is supposed to have been named, lacks evidence as no one has come up even with the name of Parag Dei's father.

Culture of Pragpur

It is important to note that Pragpur is not an ornamental village now. It is a proper village where people are residing and engaging in traditional arts and crafts. What you see is a true village, so don’t go there expecting to see everything tailor-made for tourists. The village is known for its cottage industry. The inhabitants of Pragpur are skilled craftspeople, weavers, basket makers, silversmiths, painters, musicians, and tailors. Expect to see the local artisans at work, and perhaps purchase some of their wares.

Places to Visit in Pragpur

Within Pragpur, one must pay a visit to the Lala Rerumal Haveli built in 1931 by a Rais of Pragpur, which has a Mughal style garden, Butail Mandir, Chaujjar Mansion, courtyards of the Sood Clans, and see what the atiyalas or public platforms are all about. Along with Pragpur, the nearby village of Garli is a part of the Heritage Zone. One quick look and they remind us of old European villages. Now a restored hotel, this structure was built keeping European chateaus in mind. The look and feel of this building will transport you to old villages in France or Switzerland.

Restoration and Preservation of Heritage Buildings

The village committee of Pragpur, which has been recording its meeting since 1864, is responsible for the maintenance of the heritage buildings and ancient water systems. Any new construction taking place in these villages must be ratified by the committee. Several heritage structures are now being restored using original techniques but with modern facilities to boost tourism. This makes sure that the village’s architecture stays the same and does not lose its charm.


Pragpur Heritage Village is a must-visit destination for anyone who is interested in history, architecture, and culture. It is a perfect example of how a small village can preserve its heritage and showcase it to the world. The village's unique architecture and pristine beauty, along with its rich cultural heritage, make it a visual delight. Visitors to Pragpur have a chance to also explore the neighbouring village of Garli and experience the architectural wonders of the region. The skilled artisans of Pragpur engage in traditional arts and crafts, providing visitors with an opportunity to witness their work and perhaps purchase some of their wares. The restoration and preservation of heritage buildings by the village committee ensure that the village’s architecture stays the same and does not lose its charm.

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