In the heart of Gurdaspur, Punjab, lies the enchanting village of Nawanpind Sardaran. This hidden gem has been granted the prestigious accolade of “Best Tourism Village of India 2023” by the Union Ministry of Tourism, a testament to the remarkable endeavors of the Sangha sisters. These dedicated siblings have wholeheartedly committed themselves to the preservation of their ancestral heritage, Kothi and Pipal Haveli, and the promotion of sustainable tourism in their cherished village.
Situated a mere five kilometers south of National Highway-54, Nawanpind Sardaran serves as an idyllic stopover for travelers en route to revered destinations like the Mata Vaishno Devi temple, Kangra, Dharamsala, Dalhousie, and other popular tourist hotspots.
The rich history of Nawanpind Sardaran traces its roots back to the late 19th century when Narain Singh founded the village. In 1886, his son Beant Singh erected the grand ‘Kothi,’ an opulent mansion that doubled as a residence and the epicenter of agricultural activities. This historical connection has forged an unbreakable bond between the Sangha family and their village, propelling their journey into heritage preservation and sustainable development.
The triumph of Nawanpind Sardaran is inseparable from the dedication of the Sangha sisters: Gursimran Kaur Sangha, Gurmeet Rai Sangha, Manpreet Kaur Sangha, Gita Sangha, and Noor Sangha. Despite their bustling professional lives, these sisters have made the preservation of their ancestral legacy a top priority.
The Sangha sisters undertook the arduous task of restoring and refurbishing Kothi and Pipal Haveli, both nearly 140 years old. These architectural gems were lovingly transformed into homestays, attracting a diverse array of domestic and international tourists. The fusion of a rich historical tapestry with modern amenities in these heritage homes has offered visitors a truly unique and culturally immersive experience.
The Sangha family’s efforts transcended the realm of tourism promotion. With the active support of the Gurdaspur district administration, they engaged the local community and opened up avenues for employment. Gursimran, who manages a goat farming business in the village, has actively involved local youths, with expansion plans on the horizon.
Gita Sangha, in another pivotal role, established women’s self-help groups for craft production, birthing the brand ‘Bari collective.’ This initiative empowered approximately 60 village women through craft production. Moreover, women from the village found job opportunities at Kothi and Pipal Haveli, thus bolstering their economic empowerment.
Manpreet Kaur Sangha, based in the USA, oversees online bookings for the homestays while providing yoga training to village schoolchildren during her visits. The youngest sister, Noor Sangha, a Mumbai resident, practices law and lends her professional expertise to the family’s endeavors.
Conservation architect Gurmeet Rai Sangha envisions Nawanpind Sardaran as a treasure trove for promoting cultural heritage. Gurdaspur boasts a plethora of cultural heritage sites, positioning it as a promising tourist destination. Situated strategically on the route from Amritsar to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, Gurdaspur serves as a gateway to these picturesque regions.