My visit to Garli, Himachal Pradesh (4 km from Pragpur) started on an interesting note. Our driver (and taxi owner) Amit pointed out to a huge home and said this too was being converted in a hotel. When we asked if we could enter, he nodded yes. We checked with a man coming out of the house and he too said yes, we could go. Pooja and I went clicking for a while and then out walked the owner of the house Mr. Atul Lal! He greeted us and welcomed us to his home! When we asked if he had plans of converting it into a hotel, he said no, where we were standing was his private home! His wife also came out to say hello. Now if everyone welcomed trespassers like this.
I felt a little red faced, after all people assured that we could walk in but I would never dream of walking in to someone’s private home. Atul soon put us at ease and started telling us about Garli. He pulled out a map of Garli which lists all the heritage buildings in the area. He advised that the best way to see the places was to walk, alas we just didn’t had time, we still had to go to Chamba Pattan and the day was racing to an end.
Atul told us about his move back to Garli, leaving the corporate world behind. He has recently opened a property- Naurang Yatri Niwas. Due to lack of time I could not go inside but I ever ventured that way again, I would like to stay there. He wrote to me about its history.
Naurang Yatri Niwas was originally built in 1922 by my Grandfather, Rai Bahadur Mohan Lal to facilitate the stay for the Lt Governor of Punjab to attend the wedding of his eldest daughter, Hema. A mettaled road was built from Bani to Garli for this purpose. Later the building was used as a sarai for travellers, and the general use of the public. Around 50 years ago, it fell into neglect, and was ransacked by various elements over the years.
We decided to renovate / restore the building in 2013 and after one year of effort we have tried to bring back her former glory and also put in modern amenities like electricity, water and toilets and re christened it Naurang Yatri Niwas.
If you wish to book the place you can write to [email protected], or call Mr Ravinder Singh at 01970-245096 / 09418602132. The tariff is in the range of 1500 Indian rupees as of now but do check again. Then there was another coincidence. I looked at another property which was being converted into a hotel at Garli.
We were walking around the place as it was so picturesque, the caretakers were quite courteous to us. They mentioned that the other property the owners have is Chalets Naldhera, a place I have been invited to before! Now Chalets is a very beautiful place and I am sure Mr Yatish and Minu Sood would make this place equally remarkable.
I would have loved to walk around the place and discover the heritage buildings but then what all can you do when you just have two half days to spend at a place!
Like Pragpur, Garli also has a taal. Like Pragpur, Garli has also been declared a heritage village by the Himachal Pradesh government. I just got a fleeting glimpse of Garli on this trip. I hope my travels would take me that way once again. I would also say if you are in the vicinity do go, before it gets properly discovered!