Nestled in the picturesque Kangra Valley and not far from the Dhauladhar range, the quaint hamlet of Garli is a treasure trove of heritage buildings. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Delhi over a long weekend or simply to explore the serene countryside of Himachal Pradesh, Garli offers a perfect retreat. Once a thriving bastion of the Sud clan—prosperous timber merchants who built grand homes here in the early 20th century—Garli, along with nearby Pragpur, has been designated a heritage zone by the Ministry of Tourism, Himachal Pradesh.

A Village of Visionaries

Garli’s pioneering spirit dates back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, a period highlighted by its participative collaboration in community development. Atul Lal, owner of the Naurang Yatri Niwas, recounts how the village’s founding fathers established educational institutions for boys and girls, a women’s hospital, a veterinary hospital, and essential infrastructure for sanitation and waterworks. This visionary approach set Garli apart as a model village.

Stepping Back in Time

Exploring Garli is like stepping back in time. Armed with a handy map that details the sights of interest, wander through cool alleys and lanes flanked by thick foliage to discover two-storied mansions that, even in their state of disrepair, hint at their former glory. The Suds traveled extensively during the British Raj, absorbing various cultural influences. The result is an eclectic mix of architectural styles, from Portuguese and Italian to Islamic and Rajasthani, that adorn these heritage homes.

Architectural Marvels

Every house in Garli tells a story. The gabled roofs with slate shingles are a common feature, but each builder added unique elements to outdo the others. Look out for distinctive features such as sentries standing guard on rooftops, rose and jharokha windows, and elegant brick jaali work. Despite many of these homes being abandoned or locked up, there is a slow but steady revival as descendants return to restore their ancestral properties.

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