Judge’s Court , Pragpur | The Heritage Village!
After an eventful trip to Manali, I was super excited now to celebrate my sister’s birthday. As, we wanted to do something special, we decided to celebrate it at a place called Judge’s Court.
Located in a little hamlet of Himachal Pradesh called Pragpur, Judge’s Court is one of the finest Country Hotels in India. Built in the year 1918, this heritage property was designed with a mix of Indo-European aesthetics, for Justice Sir Jai Lal.
As, we didn’t’ want to take any chances, we booked a table in advance and placed our order for food as well. After a 3 hours long drive, as soon as we reached the hotel, I was particular impressed to see mango, orange, lychee, and plum orchards all over the property.
The old architecture and the wide spaces and the quaint little dining hall looked straight out of early 19th century. Even though the dining hall was built later, it had all the elements reminiscent of the vintage feel of the place. Tiny, but beautifully done up, using Grandma Cupboards, vintage style furniture, antique clock and mud walls, this dining hall was cozy and comfortable.
The staff was cordial and made great efforts in looking after the service and food. We had placed an order for Madra and Mutton Kheema with rotis. As soon as we settled down, we were served the food. We couldn’t be happier, as the unexpectedly long drive had made us quite hungry.
I was mighty impressed with their portions of food. The lavish helpings of Keema and Madra could give any foodie an assurance that there are people in the world who love making people eat.
Madra, a rich yoghurt based curry made traditionally with chickpea is one of the main dishes served during Dham (Himachali feast served during holy/auspicious ceremonies). It’s a delicious curry made with sour yoghurt, tamarind, garlic and onions. At Judges Court, Madra was prepared with Matar (peas) and rest of the recipe remained the same. With each bite of Rice and Madra, I was having the same feeling, as one would have while falling in love for the first time. It was amazing, to say the least!
The rich mutton kheema was delicious as well and had a great seasoning of flavours. The minced meat, thick onion and tomato based seasoning with pepper were so luscious, that the rotis kept disappearing without a count. It truly felt like going back in time. The food, the ambience and the service, all felt like a royal fable from the bygone era.
Although it was July, but, after eating such a delicious main course, we couldn’t resist ordering Gajar Ka Halwa. Much to our surprise, the halwa was equally delectable. We could taste desi ghee with a subtle hint of sugar and roasted dry fruits, which made the gajar halwa, a foodie’s dream!
After finishing the meal, we were so happy, especially because we didn’t feel stuffed at all. The food was simple, hearty and truly homelike.
After we paid the bill all of Rs 1000, we decided to go out for a stroll.
We couldn’t miss taking a look at the beautiful property and headed out to do some heritage exploration. The hotel has 10 luxurious rooms (double rooms) resplendent with old world charm. Each room has a fireplace and a petite study/changing room. It was evident, that this house was built with a lot of passion. And it’s been looked after brilliantly by the current generation of Lal family.
Besides the hotel, there are some other heritage houses nearby. We also visited some houses in the nearby Garli village. The residents were very friendly and welcoming. My siblings and I felt so much gratitude for the residents of this village, as they graciously helped us with directions, always with a warm smile. Both my sister and I felt safe roaming around in skirts, which I sadly never feel even in my own village in Punjab.
I love going to Himachal Pradesh, not only because you get to see so many fascinating places just about few distance away from one another, but also because people out here are fairly simple and friendly. People who mind their own business, people who are welcoming and people who make you feel that you belong.
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