The village of Pragpur nestles in the Shivalik Hills of Himachal Pradesh – one of a constellation of pretty settlements benefitting from a climate that suffers neither the extreme cold of the valleys further north, nor the sweltering heat of the Punjabi plains to the south. What makes this one special is the presence in its midst of a stately manor house, built by a local judge in 1918 but now run as a charming heritage hotel.
Once within the walls of the Judge’s House you enter a parallel world reminiscent of a bygone era, where breakfast is served under a mango tree in the garden by liveried staff, and supper is preceded by a leisurely“cocktail hour” on the lawn. The rooms are huge and furnished in period, with dark wood beds and chintzy touches that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Kipling’s time.
Once you’ve looked around the temples and antique houses of the village, there’s precious little to do beyond lazing in a wicker chair on the pillared veranda, or lounging under a lychee tree in the adjacent orchard. Made with produce from the manor’s organic farm, meals are a delight.
Whether as a way stage on a long journey north across the Himalayas, or as a last taste of the hills before returning to the plains, Judge’s House and Pragpur offer an elegant, relaxing retreat.