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Judge's Court, Pragpur

Imagine a weekend getaway to a place in the hills thronged with orchards consisting of mango, lychee, and plum; citrus and exotic trees like camphor, clove and cardamom attracting the winged beauties in flocks. Amidst these just imagine lazing on the natural grassy turf reading an old yet nostalgic 'The Jungle book' by Rudyard Kipling, reminiscing your childhood days and falling asleep, only to be woken up gently by the warmth of sunshine on face and chirps of birds in the wilderness…doesn't it sound simply esoteric?

Just visit a faraway weekend destination in the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh and park yourself at a property designed in Indo-European tradition with carved windows, gothic arches and onion domes. And just in case you love ornithology, then this sure is a perfect haven for all bird lovers and aficionados of photography.

Welcom Heritage Judge's Court as this place is called was originally a stately country manor built by Bhandari Ram in 1918 to commemorate his son Justice Sir Jai Lal's graduation from Law College in England. Set amidst 12 acres of orchards overlooking the Dauladhar Mountains at the colorful, rustic hamlet of Pragpur in the picturesque Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh, the property also has a lovely 300-year-old ancestral brick cottage and is a destination in itself.

With chandeliers made of white and red crystal, regal red and cream sofas and family photographs and trophies donning the walls, a wonderful ambience is created in the lobby. The overall décor is an unusual amalgamation of rural and the urban – classy mud walls patterned terrazzo floors with elegant chairs and furniture. For gastronomes the kitchen offers ultra-delicious, wholesome Indian, Chinese and continental fare, including the preserves and pickles. Everything that is served at this resort is prepared from home- grown wheat, maize, oilseeds, vegetables and fruits. The drinking water is exclusively piped from a mountain spring thus giving you a heavenly taste of H2O. The resort has its own dairy; hence the milk is procured fresh and offers a natural taste to be relished by milk lovers. There are conference facilities for official gatherings. The friendly and efficient staff does not shy away from going the extra mile to make guests comfortable.

Termed as an eco-friendly heritage hotel offering an ambience reminiscent of the turn of the 20th Century, The Judge's Court's elegant accommodation comprises of 20 Rooms divided into three wings – Museum wing, Manor wing and Residency wing. Museum wing offers an apartment, a suite, and a deluxe room; Manor wing offers 06 superior rooms and 04 deluxe rooms; Residency wing offers 07 superior rooms. Apart from a fireplace and period furniture including winged arm chairs, most of the rooms have wide bay windows or open out onto the beautifully landscaped and manicured greens.

Styles such as art deco angular or curvy modern baroque have been used to furnish the rooms. The rooms in the painstakingly restored cottage are equipped with modern amenities and generally reserved for families. The rooms somewhat resemble doll houses with narrow, wooden stairs and loft-like bedrooms.

There is a plethora of excursion options available in this area within a radius of 75 km. This includes Dharamshala (60 km), Mcleodganj, official residence of the Dalai Lama (68 km), Palampur (95 km) with a vista of green tea estates, Haripur (30 km), and Kangra Fort (40 km). For those wanting to take a peek within and feel closer to God have substantial options in form of religious destinations, namely Sidh Channo Temple at Dangra (2 Km), Chinour Temple with water mills (15 Km), Kaleshwar Temple on river Beas (16 Km), Jwalamukhi Temple (21 Km), Chintpurni Temple (20 Km) , and Chamunda Temple (75 Km).

The closest well-connected airports are Chandigarh (domestic) and Delhi (International). The Judge's Court also provides pick-up and drop to Chandigarh.

The hotel offers ample opportunities for cycling, trekking, nature walks, fishing or simple relaxation.

So friends!! It's time to pick up your ruck sack, pair of Binoculars along with your DSLR camera and head for this destination during the weekend…..and yes don't forget to take your story book!