Pragpur – A Heritage village in District Kangra Himachal Pradesh

By | July 24, 2020

Kangra district derives its name from Kangra town which was called Nagarkot in the ancient times Kangra proper originally was a part of the ancient Trigartha (Jullundur) which comprises of the area lying between the river “Shatadroo” (probably Sutlej) and Ravi. A tract of land to the east of Sutlej which probably is the area of Sirhind in Punjab also formed a part of Trigratha. Trigratha had two provinces. One in the plains with headquarters at Jullundur and other in the hills with headquarters at Nagarkot (the present Kangra).

In the time of Harsha, the famous Chinese pilgrim Huien Tsang visited Jullundur some time in March 635 A.D, and in his writings, he has referred to the principality of Jullundur situated towards the northeast of China-Po-ti (China Bhakti) and towards the southeast of Kiulo-to (Kullu). From the history of Kashmir given in the Rajtirangini, Raja Shanker Verma (883 to 903) of Kashmir held suzerainty over Prithi Chand of Trigartha. In ancient times a number of petty chiefs ruled in the hills within their respected domains owning allegiance to the powerful Raja at the center. However, Katoch princes ruled over Kangra from the earliest times.

At the time of the invasion of Punjab by Alexander in 326 BC, Trigartha was ruled by a Katoch prince. The area of Garli -Pragpur came within the Jaswan kingdom whose rulers were the cadets of Katoch of the Kangra lineage. Around the 16th” -17th century, bands of marauders started lying waste the pretty and peaceful foothills of the Kangra Valley. Prag Dei, a princess of the royal house of Jaswan, successfully organized resistance to these marauding bands. To commemorate this princess, an area was selected using ancient Indian shastras (texts) which, it was believed, received the good astral influences of prayers said for thousands of years at nearby shsikti (primordial energy) temples of which three” Brajeshwari (Kangra), Chintpurni and Jwalamukhi are famous. Here, Pragpur was founded and its layout carefully planned.

Various clans and communities were allotted distinctive living spaces and by and large, this continues to date. One of the important communities that settled at Garli-Pragpur and nearby hamlets such as Rakkar, Fir Salui, etc. were some of the 52 clans of the hill Soods. Being enterprising, many made their fortunes at other destinations, especially Shimla. They, however, did not forget their root. At Pragpur and Garli, they built elegant Havelis, mansions, and Italianate buildings that are interspersed amongst lovely mud-plastered and slate-roofed houses that lie alongside streets paved with dressed cobbled stone. They also invested in schools, Dharamshala, and water systems. In the course of time, they settled where their economic interests lay (Thakur 1997).

In December 1997 the Government of Himachal Pradesh notified Pragpur as a Heritage Village and followed this up by making Garli – Pragpur Heritage Zone in 2002. This Heritage Zone has now been brought under a Special Area Development Authority (SADA) and is integrated with the national wetland -Maharana Pratap Sagar (Pong Dam) Tourism Development Project. Located at an elevation of 2000 feet above sea level. Heritage Village Pragpur is ideally suited to explore the Kangra Valley.

Read also: Jan Manch Model of Himachal Pradesh – How effective it is?

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