The beautiful Nawanpind Sardaran village, located in Gurdaspur, Punjab, was recently awarded the title of “Best Tourism Village of India 2023” by the Union Ministry of Tourism. This recognition was a testament to the remarkable efforts of the Sangha sisters, who have passionately dedicated themselves to preserving their ancestral homes, Kothi and Pipal Haveli, and promoting sustainable tourism in their village.
Nawanpind Sardaran: A Perfect Gateway to Northern India’s Treasures
Nawanpind Sardaran, located just five kilometers south of National Highway-54, offers an ideal stopover for travelers heading to the Mata Vaishno Devi temple, Kangra, Dharamsala, Dalhousie, and other popular tourist destinations.
Historical Significance of Nawanpind Sardaran
The history of Nawanpind Sardaran dates back to the late 19th century when it was founded by Narain Singh. In 1886, his son Beant Singh built the ‘Kothi,’ a stately mansion that served as a residence and a hub for agricultural activities. This historical connection has bound the Sangha family to their village, and it became the catalyst for their journey into heritage preservation and sustainable development.
The Sangha Sisters and Their Dedication
Nawanpind Sardaran’s success story is intrinsically tied to the dedication of the Sangha sisters: Gursimran Kaur Sangha, Gurmeet Rai Sangha, Manpreet Kaur Sangha, Gita Sangha, and Noor Sangha. Despite their busy professional lives, these sisters have prioritized the preservation of their ancestral heritage.
Transformation of Kothi and Pipal Haveli
The Sangha sisters took it upon themselves to restore and renovate Kothi and Pipal Haveli, which were nearly 140 years old. These architectural gems were converted into homestays, attracting domestic and international tourists. The blend of rich history and modern amenities in these heritage homes has provided visitors with a unique and culturally immersive experience.
Community Involvement and Employment Opportunities
The Sangha family’s efforts extended beyond just promoting tourism. With the support of the Gurdaspur district administration, they involved the local community and created employment opportunities. Gursimran, who runs a goat farming business in the village, has actively engaged local youths, and there are plans to expand this initiative.
Empowering Women Through ‘Bari Collective’ and Economic Opportunities
Gita Sangha, on the other hand, has been pivotal in establishing women’s self-help groups for craft production, creating the brand ‘Bari collective.’ This initiative has empowered around 60 village women through craft production. Additionally, women from the village have found employment opportunities at Kothi and Pipal Haveli, contributing to their economic empowerment.
Global Contributions of Manpreet and Noor Sangha
Manpreet Kaur Sangha, residing in the USA, manages the online booking of homestays, while also providing yoga training to village schoolchildren during her visits. The youngest sister, Noor Sangha, who is based in Mumbai, practices law and adds her professional expertise to the family’s endeavors.
Cultural Heritage and Tourism Potential
Conservation architect Gurmeet Rai Sangha believes that Nawanpind Sardaran holds enormous potential for promoting cultural heritage. Gurdaspur boasts numerous cultural heritage sites, making it a promising tourist destination. Positioned strategically on the route from Amritsar to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, Gurdaspur is a gateway to these beautiful regions.