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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Stay at Judge’s Court, a country manor in the Himalayan foothills

Our family manor was built by and named after my grandfather Jai Lal, who was a judge in Shimla during the British raj era…

By Vijai Lal
Owner of Judge's Court Hotel, Pragpur

Judge’s Court is one of India’s best country hotels, set in the foothills of the sub-Himalayas. My family has been here, in the village of Pragpur, for 11 generations and this manor was built by and named after my grandfather Jai Lal, who was a successful judge in Shimla. It was our private home for many years and I have wonderful memories of holidaying here as a child. When I inherited the property, I decided to convert it into a heritage hotel so guests could come and enjoy this amazing part of India.

My grandfather built the house between 1914 and 1918 using a mix of Hindu, Islamic and European architecture. There’s a ceramic façade and arches that you’d find in the British raj era – the rooms are named after famous figures from the time such as Kipling and Lord Mountbatten. Our rooms and suites are unique and feature ornate wooden beds and original fireplaces – we’ve tried to match new furniture with the existing décor, so it’s like stepping back in time. You’ll spot heirlooms, including a crest signed by Lord Harding, who was a friend of the family.

Guests love the blend of history and culture at Judge’s Court, as well as the nature on our doorstep. We’re set on 12 acres of land with exotic trees like lychee, mango and fig. You can sit for hours and admire the views of rolling countryside and the outline of the Dhauladhar Mountains, which are snow-capped in winter. We practise organic farming and a lot of the vegetables and spices served in our restaurant come directly from the earth – we even keep cows.

There’s plenty to do in the area when you stay with us, from hiking to fishing, birding and visiting historical sites like Kangra Fort or riding the Kangra Valley Train. Pragpur has been designated as a heritage village, with mud-plastered houses that stand cheek to jowl with magnificent mansions, set in the foothills of the mountains. You see children in their uniforms going to schools and the morning newspaper man – it’s a real slice of Indian culture, just like Judge’s Court.

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Alfred & Vijai Lal

Mr Vijai Lal travelled extensively and lived all over India before returning to his ancestral home in Pragpur. Together with his wife Rani, Vijai restored Judge’s Court and opened its doors to visitors. The couple love to welcome guests and give them a unique glimpse into Kipling’s India and a history that dates back to the time of the Mahabharat.
Vijai and Rani Lal, Judge's Court