How to Book HP PWD Rest Houses or FRHs

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6.1 OK to Stay & VFM

In general HP PWD Rest Houses in Himachal are quite good to stay if you are not too much into Service and rely on tasty food. If you can get the booking or on the spot booking, they are real good VFM options to stay in Himachal

  • Value for Money Spent 8.5
  • Cleanliness / Hygiene 6.5
  • Comfort & Spacious 7
  • Service & Hospitality 4
  • Food Quality & Taste 4
  • Location 6.5
  • User Ratings (24 Votes) 6

Progressing on my efforts for DoW’s vision on economic BUT effective traveling in Himalayas, this time I will write down and share below everything I have learned about booking a room or set at PWD Rest Houses and Circuit Houses in Himachal Pradesh as well as Forest Rest Houses (FRH) in Himachal Pradesh To be very frank, these PWD Rest Houses or FRH, are located at very sublime locations with some great views on offer. These PWD Rest Houses are built to provide convenience to the GOVT. officials traveling for work purpose mostly and can get benefit even for their vacations. However, in Himachal Pradesh, even a private individual is allowed to take a booking for PWD Rest House or Circuit house or any FRH, if there is any availability. The individual can be Himachali or non-Himachali or even foreigner but Himachal natives have to pay less as compared to non-Himachalis including domestic as well as foreign tourists.

Apart from the prime locations, these Rest Houses are real value for money considering the comfort and facilities on offer. The interiors are really fine considering the prices they charge and you look like to be in a good hotel. Though the conditions and facilities are purely dependent upon place and caretaker. Regarding the quality of services and food, they are also by and large dependent upon the caretaker/chowkidar of the rest house. If he cooks good food and good helping chap, then you are in real value for money or else ask him for self service and get some raw food like Maggie, eggs to be cooked yourself. Having said that, most of these rest houses are very much fine to stay and you shall consider unlucky if you do not find good conditions and services of these rest houses 😉 …

Sagnam PWD Rest House, Pin Valley… Our night stay…
Sagnam PWD Rest House in Pin Valley
Sagnam PWD Rest House, Pin Valley… View From it…
Early morning views at Sagnam Village PWD Rest House in Pin Valley

Find below the links to download the list of these PWD Rest Houses in Himachal Pradesh, list of FRH in Himachal Pradesh and their updated charges as per the year 2011.

  1. List PWD Rest Houses – Himachal Pradesh
  2. Tariff Rates HP PWD Rest Houses 2011
  3. List of Forest Rest Houses – Himachal Pradesh
Booking Process – HP PWD Rest Houses OR FRH

These PWD Rest Houses or Circuit Houses can be booked by getting in touch with the respective Booking office mentioned in the list above. You can either get in touch with them over phone or if you are traveling then you can directly go to the office and book there. After checking the availability, the PWD office will issue you back a parchi/slip which you will need to handover to the caretaker/chowkidaar at the rest house. Of course, being an independent individual (not PWD employee or Govt. employee), you will be given last priority.

Getting the booking in PWD Rest Houses over phone is a bit tricky and time consuming at times, so make it about 10-15 days in time before you are going for the trip. If you try to make it early then most likely you will be requested or asked on the phone to come back before a week or so 🙂 … Also, worth noting is that fact that, the circuit houses in particular are not given the booking easily, so better not rely on them but if nothing is available then try your luck for asking about the availability.

Below I have tried to describe a rough outline on how to make bookings in these PWD Rest Houses, which you can refer as a guide to make a booking for yourself:

  1. You can call up the respective booking office and try to confirm the availability from the concerned person. It is always better to note the name of the person so as to minimize communication gap in future and you talk to same person for future correspondences.
  2. Two things can happen, either he will tell you the availability and ask you to fax/email the booking request on the email ID or Fax Number OR he will not even tell the availability and ask you to send booking request over email/Fax only. In any case, you need to send the booking request over email/fax, so better confirm the fax number of the booking office from the person.
  3. After sending the request over fax or email, in a day or so, call the booking office again and ask if they has received your email or fax and what is the status. DO NOT forget to write your fax number where you want to receive in the letter and request letter shall be addressed to the executive engineer. Continue the follow-up based on the conversation until there is any result: Approval or Rejection So, it is always better to note the name of the person whom you first had the conversation about your booking, so as to minimize communication gap in every call.
  4. In case if the booking is available, then authorized person (mainly Executive Engineer) of booking office will approve or already have approved your booking and a slip/parchi will be issued for you.
  5. A copy of slip/parchi will be send to the caretaker/chowkidar of the respective Rest House, so that he knows about that you will be coming. Ideally, one copy of this slip/parchi should also be shared with you but you can ask it from the concerned person you are in talks with at the booking office. Either he will be happy to email/fax it back to you OR he will say not needed.
  6. If he says, not needed, well you should be in doubt 😉 … Don’t worry politely ask for the contact number of Caretaker/Chowkidar and few days before the trip just call him up to confirm that if he has got the slip/parchi for your booking. Do call him well in advance so that you can effectively communicate with the concerned office regarding any trouble. If Caretaker/chowkidar says YES, then you are almost in for a party !! 🙂 🙂
Some Caveats & Tips – HP PWD Rest House & FRH

You will be surprised but if there are so many positives for getting the booking for HP PWD Rest House or FRH, some caveats are also attached to it. I have  tried to outline below some of the caveats along with some tips which you should be aware about before booking these rest houses.

  1. You shall not rely on food & service at these rest houses. So, it is always better to carry your own raw food like Maggie, eggs, precooked vegetables, breads etc. If some dhabha is available nearby, then no issues at all. With some tip, caretaker most likely will allow you to do self service and cook for yourself. It is quite a fun though and I like it this way only 🙂 … So, just consider it as good, comfortable, beautifully located option of stay or sleep only.
  2. Most of the local village get-togethers/parties does happen in these rest houses mainly, being the only available and value for money option. Also, being locals they do have priority for it. So, in case you do not have the slip and even if you have confirmed with caretaker, you might end up in a surprise. So, better to have that slip/parchi with you as much feasible as it can be.
  3. In case, there is some VIP or GOVT. Official arrives, you might end up loosing the booking. However, this rarely happens with confirmed bookings (with slips) because most of these rest houses, I stayed in Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley had rooms reserved for VIPs and are not offered to tourists/individual in any case. So, in case it is some remote guest house, chances of finding alternative at the last moment are very slim.
Can I stay at PWD Rest House without bookings?

Well, on the contrary, you can of course land up there directly (which I mostly do with my dynamic plans ;)) and talk to Chowkidar/Caretaker there who might allow you to check-in with some tip or even with slip. This will be the most economical way, a tip won’t cost you much. Sometimes, there is Executive Engineer who is in charge of that rest house present there and has authority to let you in. But, this is only true for night stay types or shorter stay. On a longer stay, you should go prepared with official bookings.

Of course, if someone else lands up there with bookings (slips/parchi) or some VIP comes in, then you will have to vacate the room even in the middle of the night. Many times the caretaker/chowkidar will be reluctant too, to give you rooms because he will be afraid of doing work or providing you with food and all. The bigger the group, the bigger his fear of work 😉 … Key is to keep persuading until he agrees or otherwise move to other location.

Having said all that, you can take a chance or risk BUT DO NOT rely on it completely as it might work and might not work too. I slept in car with my family once in Kinnaur relying on this funda but I did not have much daylight left to move around in search of others.

Conclusion

HP PWD Rest Houses or Circuit Houses or FRH are great to stay with fantastic locations, good facilities and comfort considering the value for money etc. However, they do have a little risk associated with them and one must be prepared for Plan B too. The risk can be mitigated through bookings to quite an extent.

Special thanks to all the courteous officials of PWD and locals in Spiti Valley who were more than happy to help providing this information and a reference thread on IndiaMike too linked here (indracal especially).

If you ever happened to be at some of the PWD Rest Houses or Circuit Houses or FRH and have any experience with them or pictures of them, please try and share with us here in the blog comments or in DoW – Himalayan Community & Forums thread linked here.

If you found above article useful, then PLEASE stay connected with us on Facebook or Twitter or Email Subscription for any himalayan travel queries or travel updates / tips / news / guides on Traveling to Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir and other parts of Himalayas. Travel, off the road with us...


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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

117 Comments

  1. Thanks Mr. Dheeraj for sharing this information and it help us to plan our trip better.
    As I am planning to visit Losar in the month of October this year, regarding booking of New Rest House at Lossar, I called to number 01906222252, but not able to connect. Pls let me know how can i connect with them to get my booking confirm for my Losar stay.

    Thanks

    • AK, you do not need any prebooking in October. You can land up there and book the room there. If you are doing it from Manali side, Battal makes more sense to stay being lower in altitude than losar where chances of falling sick are less.

  2. Projesh Basu on

    Do You have any phone number for stay location in Battal (near Chandratal)? I have read about the PWD Rest House in Battal and a nearby Dhaba , but couldn’t get to a contact number for those!!

  3. Really informative article…could you give an idea about how probable is it that we can get a room at kasol with a prior booking of about 5 days? What are the chances of availability?
    Thanks in advance.

  4. Shuvro Bhattacharjee on

    Dear Dheeraj

    Can you please provide me the telephone nos of Khoksar PWD rest house ???

  5. Hi could you give information on following-
    1 Buses for Rekong Peo start from delhi in the evening, so do they travel whole night in mountains also ?? what time it reaches Rekong peo?
    2 Are there buses from Chandigarh also for Kalpa or Rekong ?
    3 How risky is driving on way to sangla ?

  6. we are visiting dalhousie on 29th may to 31 may for two night stay, would u plz guide staying in pwd guest house of dalhousie and khajjar? and can i visit to local sight seeing of dalhousie ,khajjar and dharmashala as we shall reah dalhousie by 5 pm on 29 th mayor which places should i visit, we train at 10.00pm on 31 may from pathankot, how we should get to pathankot?

    • I am not sure in season time you will be able to get hold of PWD Guest House or even FRH at Kalatop. You can try booking FRH at Kalatop in advance. You do not have much time on hand, instead of visiting everything around Dalhousie and Khajjiar, it will be better that you focus on just relaxing in Khajjiar and Kalatop and enjoy the relaxing time and vistas.

      • Jatin Shah on

        hi Dheeraj. am planning to visit Kinnaur Kailash in 2nd week of May via Kullu. we are 4 families. can u suggest a decent PWD accommodation. do we need to book in advance or can we just walk in?

  7. Amit Verma on

    Extremely informative… have stayed many a times at the forest guest house at kasauli following the same procedure..its a lovely place… plus the food generally at FRH is good , like home cooked….

  8. ABHIJIT CHAKRABARTTY on

    CAN NE1 TELL ME HOW CAN I GET A MOTORCYCLE IN PATHANKOTE OR DALHOUSIE FOR A TRIP WITH MY 11 YR. OLD SON 4M PATHANKOTE TO DALHOUSIE , DHARAMSHALA AND BACK TO PATHANKOTE IN 7 DAYS. RENTAL.

  9. ravija verma on

    Mr. Dheeraj Sharma, the details you have provided are very good n helpful. 🙂
    i am gonna travel to Dharamsala and Palampur with my family on 10th July by Bus from Delhi.
    So could you please tell me the exact address of PWD Guest House in dharamshala n palampur, so tat we can ask the taxi driver to drop us their.
    And also i have an doubt that if we reach directly at the guest house for stay without booking … we will have to talk with the booking office or the Chowkidar only ??
    Thanks.

    • Rajiv, I do not have the exact address but everyone will know about PW Guest House once you will reach there and ask. If you directly land up there, then ask the chowkidar only but do read the caveats too.

  10. VJ Sharma on

    Brilliant details. I have stayed in HPPWD rest houses many times and have varied experiences. This article talks about most of the important facts about bookings with HPPWD rest houses in Himachal.

  11. shubham malhotra on

    suggest me some budget hotels in mcleodgang plz? i m travelling vid my family and wants a budget hotel near some tourist place like any dal lake or BHAGSUNAG ?

  12. Rahul Mehra on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    Plz send me a contact number for booking Forest Guest/Rest House at Kala Top as i have not received any reply mail from them.

  13. SANJAY SANYAL on

    Mr Dheeraj Sharma,
    Can you please send me your contact number.
    We want to visit Sarahan, sangla and kalpa shortly and want to stay at PWD guest house.
    Regards.
    Sanjay Sanyal

  14. Priya Aurora on

    Hi, need some information about the rest house in Chindi. Whom do i need to contact to get a booking done?

  15. sandeep goswami on

    Going to shimla first wk of april 15.want to stay sarahan. Chitkul. Narkanda. Souja pwd accomodation. Need u r suggession.

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  20. sunil balani on

    Great effort friend , in putting all the info at one place . Planning to go to Dalhaussi khajiar in mid October , let me try based on info given by you here , if I can get some accommodation in guest houses.
    Regards

    • Best wishes for the trip Sunil, a lot of people are able to see through PWD Guest Houses. I will check and see if someone in the community have a number of caretaker or not.

      • sunil balani on

        Dear Dheeraj,
        It does not quite work, too difficult to cut through the red tape. Called the EE office, they asked me to send a mail that I did . As there was no reply to it, I called after a week and the officer told me that booking is not done in advance these days as some VIPs come in the end and there are problems then .
        He however said on last day if no one comes the allocation is done if accommodation is available . As I am traveling with family booked with a hotel.
        never the less the information given by you is mighty useful for individuals traveling to explore the country side rather than visitors who like it well planned .
        Regards and thanks for wishes.

        • Sunil, yeah, it does not quite work all times but that’s just the process. Unfortunately. However, it does work at times, so never mind giving it a shot. Else walkin to these offices and get the slip done yourself while going on to destination.

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  22. Hi ,I plan to travel to Manali during 1’st week of November with my family.is it advisable to take a trip to Spiti with a 11 yr old boy and 4 yr old child.How will the weather be during that time?

    • Tina, this is HIGHLY NOT recommended to travel to Spiti Valley at that time of the year. It will be quite cold conditions, rough/dry cold with most of the hotels as closed. Also, very very high danger if you follow Manali to Spiti route at that time of the year. Please stick to your normal plan to Manali and around areas.

  23. s c pandey on

    very use full guidance .I plan to visit in the last week of sept.14 for 6-7days .can I apply now any way. how will be weather condition. how I can travel by bus. pl guide
    regards

  24. Dear Dheeraj,
    Your information are very useful and handy. Thanks for all these and others on other bolgs as well.
    regards,

  25. Kanchan Bhattacharya on

    Dear Dheeraj,

    Thanks a lot for all the detailed description of Manali Circuit House, and I must say that it is really helpful. As per your instruction, I have tried to call the the given number, however no one responded even after several attempts. Finally I have shared the travel dates and guest details with them in the given email address. Do you have any idea, will they respond to my email really?

    Regards,
    Kanchan

  26. i want to book rest house @khajjiar, but the server says contact number provided here is not correct.
    i will be trekking alone from kalatop to khajjiar, and most probably i vl reach there @night
    if i don’t get my room confirmed is there any possibility of getting the rest house on tip basis(only for night stay)

    • Avish, if the FRH is not booked at Kalatop, you will be able to get the room there. But, if it is occupied then you will end up in soup there 🙁 … It is better to confirm the booking. Did you try to email them?

      • No I din’t tried the email coz am pretty sure that they won’t reply to it
        and pls tell if there’s any other place their which is economical like FRH

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  28. Hi Dheeraj,
    Good that you have provided so much info on rest houses, which we rarely find at any of the sites. I, along with my wife have booked Chail PWD Rest house for the coming weekend . Any idea if this is better or the circuit house? Do you have any photos for the Chail PWD rest house by any chance. Sometimes these properties are not well kept up so in double mind regarding staying there. Thanks & Regards, Gaurav

    • Sorry Gaurav, I do not have any photo of that rest house. May be if you can once you back, will help others for sure. Yes, you are right that some times these are not well maintained and that’s the risk that you have to take it.

  29. thanks dheeraj ji for your quick response. we will be having a three day stay in himanchal and we will travel by our own car straight from allahabad. thanks again for your effort nd i think its better to choose one or two destinations and explore them fully rather than visiting lots of places in a short time trip. after my visit i will come up to this blog and would like to share my experiences.

    have a good time ahead mr. dheeraj

  30. thanks a lot Mr. Dheeraj 🙂 yoour blog made us to choose himanchal over uttarakhand. but have some querries and will be thankfull to u for helping us.
    we r four frnds nd we will be on a three day trip to himanchal by our car from allahabad. we all are 25 age group ppl nd bachelors so we want to explore our life with some adventures and youth life styles. so pls guide us over following points…
    1. as we are bachelors nd not very high on budgets( though we accept that we are fools and spending more on fuel than our visit but it has its own fun too 😉 ). and we want to leave all famous sightseeing of himanchal for our married life nd currently we want a trip for someoffbeat places and want to have some thrill in life.like theerthan valley…so plz suggest some.
    2. dont want to stay in hotels nd rest houses so will the tents we are carrying help in nights nd is there any problem regarding authority from forest or govt.
    3. are the roads safer in himanchal?
    4 . any recommendations and advice from your side .

    sorry ….m very silly with writing so please excuse for that..hope u got our point..

    looking forward for your valuable reply. by the way we r leaving on 12 march .

    • Srajan, please find my replies below:

      1. There is Tirthan Valley, Kasol, Manikaran, Pabbar Valley, Kinnaur Valley, Dharamshala/Mcleod Ganj, Dalhousie, Chamb, Khajjiar, Barot, Parashar Lake, etc.. You can opt for any one of the following. Not sure how many days you have in hand.
      2. Better stay in some basic guest houses, for tents you need to find a spot, could be private land where you can pay for your stay for a while.
      3. Not sure about this but they are just like other mountain roads all over except Kinnaur Valley above which are a bit more treacherous.

      How are you planning? Public Transport?

    • Ankur, glad to know that the info. present in the article helped you in planning trip to Himachal in some sense. Feel free to ask any queries you have 🙂

    • Yes, they are very effective in making budget travel trips to Himachal. Yet, they offer very good comfort + views. Majority of time when I travel, I stay with PWD Guest Houses only in Himachal, with or without bookings, doesn’t matter but they always comes the first choice 😀

      • At outset kudos to you for taking pains in preparing such info and sharing it with everyone ……
        Could you also give your advice on few of nicely located guesthouses . Basically I travel quite often and prefer absolutely secluded places with nice view ….. Will request you to advice couple of such places ( should be around 10 hour driving distance from Delhi )

        • Deepak, within 10 Hrs from Delhi, there is Narkanda, Chakrata, Rajgarh, Chail as few options in Himachal Pradesh. Rest of them are about 12-14 Hrs of drive from Delhi.

  31. Hey Dheeraj, do you have any idea of PWD rest houses in the Allahabad-Patna stretch? Require help as I will be traveling solo by bike from Delhi-Assam, so more economical the night stay the better !!
    PS: I have my tent too; can I pitch tent in these stretches?

    • Suraj, I have never traversed that route, so not sure about it. Also, I am not aware if any other state has opened PWD Rest Houses for stay for tourists. Himachal is just one exception I know. Regardin pitching tents, I feel you can pitch them as long as the place is safe enough. My best bet is to put camps near by some villager farm or open land close the civilization so that you have sense of protection always. They charge you to minimal as well.

      • Yes, agreed Dheeraj. Other than HP, only states I know accomodates PWD rest houses are Arunachal Pradesh and certain areas in Assam.
        If your advice is sought as to a new tent budgeting around 3000rs. which would you go with? And any other cautionary for tent stay other then staying away from water bodies, use of insect repellants?

        • Hi Suraj,

          Aah, that ways. I have least knowledge of North East so was not aware of the fact. Bhai, you can go with some tents in Sadar Baazar, Delhi Cantt which are good enough. Also, you can check with pashupati tents at Rajinder Palace. They have some good options. Regarding camping, you should also take care the direction of wind blowing and pitch it where there is less wind presence. Keep your eatables packed so that open food does not attracts stray animals. IN the end, only leave your footprints behind 🙂 … A good sleeping bag is always good thing.

          Regards
          Dheeraj

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  33. B.C.Bhardwaj on

    Tnks Since I had bn travelling very frequently to HP and staying in Govt rest/Circuit / FRH only you shall get B L Dinner pocket and Gala tarrrrr kar do.

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  36. thanks deeraj. it is rather impressive how you have tried really hard to cover the human element, indian work ethics, probability theory and several others things but still being so enthusiastically hopeful..i love it. thanks much.

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  38. Very useful post. The Govt guest houses have best view and are safest to live in remote areas. A post worth bookmarking…

    • Thanks alot Prasad!! Yeah, since there was a lot of confusion over these HP rest houses and booking so I thought better compile the article under one roof. Thanks for the bookmark too 😀

  39. Ravindra Gavali on

    Good one, dheeraj. But my suggestion is to avoid it when hotel options are there. PWD rest houses are more easily accessible than FRHs. However, the FRH at Shongtong is superb but the caretaker is not so, unless well tipped or peer pressurized from some forest official.

    • Ravindra ji, yes very true. This risk about caretaker being good or not is always there. Actually, I see they are afraid of work may be that is why they do not allow. Otherwise, if there isn’t any booking then I feel they should always allow if in any case it has been opened for tourists 🙁 … Next time I visit Spiti, I will surely stay at Shontong.

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