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
Cleanliness / Hygiene
Comfort & Spacious
Service & Hospitality
Food Quality & Taste
Progressing on my efforts for DoW’s vision on economic BUT effective traveling in the Himalayas, this time I will write down and share below everything I have learned about booking a room at PWD Rest Houses and Circuit Houses in Himachal Pradesh as well as Forest Rest Houses (FRH) in Himachal Pradesh.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Can any tourist stay in these PWD Rest Houses in Himachal?
To be very frank, these PWD Rest Houses or FRH, are located at very sublime locations with some great views of Himalayas on offer. These PWD Rest Houses are available to provide convenience to the GOVT. officials traveling for work purposes mostly and can get benefits even for their vacations.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on Prashar Lake and say in the rest house.
However, in Himachal Pradesh, even a private individual is allowed to make 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.
Benefits of staying at HP PWD Rest Houses
Apart from the prime locations, these Rest Houses are real value for money considering the comfort and facilities on offer. The interiors are 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 a good helping chap, then you are in real value for money. Otherwise, ask him for self-service and get some raw food like Maggie, eggs that you can cook for 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 in Himachal 😉 …
You should always carry your water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts, and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on Barot Village and say in the rest house.
List of PWD Rest Houses in Himachal
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.
- List PWD Rest Houses – Himachal Pradesh
- Tariff Rates HP PWD Rest Houses
- 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 get in touch with them over the 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/chowkidar at the rest house. Of course, being an independent individual (not PWD employee or Govt. employee), you will get the last priority.
Getting the booking in PWD Rest Houses over the 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.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on Tirthan Valley and say in the rest house.
Also, worth noting is the 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.
Step by Step Guide
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:
- You can call up the respective booking office and try to confirm the availability of the concerned person. It is always better to note the name of the person to minimize the communication gap in the future, and you talk to the same person for future correspondences.
- 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 requests 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.
- After sending the request over fax or email, in a day or so, call the booking office again. Ask if they have received your email or fax and what the status is. DO NOT forget to write your fax number where you want to receive it in the letter. You should address the request letter 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, to minimize the communication gap in every call.
- In case if the booking is available, then authorized person (mainly Executive Engineer) of the booking office will approve or already have approved your booking, and you will get a slip/parchi for it.
- A copy of slip/parchi will be sent to the caretaker/chowkidar of the respective Rest House so that he knows that you will be coming. Ideally, you should also get one copy of this slip/parchi, 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.
- 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, 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 !! 🙂 🙂
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on Sainj Valley and say in the rest house.
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, there are some caveats also attached to it. I have tried to outline below some of the caveats along with some tips which you should be aware of before booking these places to stay in Himachal.
- You shall not rely on food & service at these rest houses. So, it is always better to carry your raw food like Maggie, eggs, precooked vegetables, bread, etc. If some dhabha is available nearby, then no issues at all. With some tips, the caretaker most likely will allow you to do self-service and cook for yourself. It is quite fun, though, and I like it this way only. So, consider it as a good, comfortable, beautifully located option of stay or sleep only.
- Most of the local village get-togethers/parties do 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.
- In case, there is some VIP or GOVT. Official arrives, you might end up losing 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. So they were not offered to tourists/individuals in any case. So, in case it is some remote guest house, chances of finding an alternative at the last moment are very slim.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on road trip to Narkanda.
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, who might allow you to check-in with some tip or even with slip. This on-the-spot booking will be the most economical way as a tip will not cost you much.
Sometimes, there is an Executive Engineer who is in charge of that rest house present there and has the 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.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on road trip to Tosh Village in Parvati Valley.
What happens to my booking in case a VIP comes to stay?
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. The key is to keep persuading until he agrees or otherwise moves to another 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 the 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.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on road trip to Thanedar.
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. You can mitigate this risk through bookings to quite an extent.
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Special thanks to all the courteous officials of PWD and locals in Spiti Valley who were more than happy to help to provide 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.
Comments section gets closed in 90 days. You can follow my YouTube Channel or follow me on Instagram to ask your travel questions. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there !!
I want to book pwd guest house/circuit house/forest rest house at manali during 03.11.18 to 07.08.18. How to book the said guest house.
Hi , The phone number/s( 01906 – 222252 ) for PWD guest in Spiti seem to be invalid.
Shall anyone provide the latest numbers.
I am planning to book circuit house in Manali. Can you please share your experiences about it.
Sorry Hemant, I have not stayed at Circuit House in Manali. However talking to people who have stayed, it is a decent stay that you expect from any govt. run facility.
Dear Dheeraj Sharma, I am planning to visit shimla & Kinnaur in mid october 2018. Can I book a PWD Rest House or Circuit House There.—- 9007747912
Chinmoy ji, yes, you can surely try to connect with numbers mentioned above and follow the process to book the HP PWD Rest Houses. Early you book, better it will be else you can also book on the spot as well.
I am going to Chitkul on 28th of August. I tried calling on 01786 253 303. But it is no longer valid & I am not getting a response over email. Is there any other way in which I can contact? Or do you have a recent no. for the Chitkul Rest house?
Sorry Shruti, I do not have any other number. Did you try calling Reckong Peo office? They can also approve the booking for Chitkul. Also, Chitkul has a decent number of private options including nice home stays and few basic guest houses at the economic budget.
I’ll try the Reckong Peo Office. Can I get on spot rooms at Chitkul when I’m there? We are 6 people and require 3 rooms.
Yes, less people stay at Chitkul and you should be able to find rooms on the spot as well unless you are not too particular about the stays. For stay options in Kinnaur and Spiti, check the link: Some Good Options of Stays in Spiti Valley / Kinnaur Valley.
I tried the Reckong Peo Office on the no 01902-222227. But that no is now with J&K Bank. No luck there too. Now will have to look for room once I reach there.
Thanks for the update Shruti, I am sure you will get something on the spot for sure without much hassle.
Plz tell me about Dharmshala rest house, what facility of food, how many far from city
Sorry Rajesh, I never stayed at Dharamshala Rest House.
Hi, Dheeraj, what is the procedure to book a PWD Rest House Room.
The procedure I know about is already documented in the article above. Try to follow the mentioned process and you may get lucky.
Dheeraj, your block is quite useful for the persons who are living outside H.P. During the ensuing summer vacation I am planning to visit Dharmasala, Dalhousie, Manali and Rothang pass etc. Please guide me in this matter and also inform about the availability of the PWD guest house. I am a central governement employee working in GPO, Mumbai
(Sree Kumar. N )
Sree, you will need to book the PWD rest houses at these locations well in advance. Start getting connected with them as mentioned in the article above. How many days do you have in hand?
In my previous mail I have inadvertently messaged my mobile no. due to which I am receiving so may calls from all around India for reserving PWD Guest House in Shimla., which is quite disturbing . So, If possible, please delete my mobile number from the site and oblige.
(Sree Kumar. N)
I have removed your phone number from your previous comment.
I really like and appreciate your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…
I am central govt. gazetted officer posted at Ordnance Factory ,Nagpur,Maharashtra which falls under Ministry of Defence,along with my family plan to visit Manali & Dharmashala in last week of December 2016.I want to book Govt. rest houses both at Manali & Dharmashala .is it possible to book them for me? Please guide.
Yes, it is very much possible to book them at the Govt. official rates. However, the places you choose are very popular tourist spots in Himachal and hence, you know getting the booking will be difficult. You can try for sure as almost 2.5 months are there still.
Namaste dheeraj ji.thanks for your early replies.we will reached narkanda 8th oct according to your suggested plan.i want book hotel for that day at narkanda.in your list of hotels narkanda is absent.pls pls give hotel name and no. because after 45/46 hour journey we want rest.we need budget hotel.pls answer
Naresh, most of the hotels in Narkanda are not economic and are in the range from 2000-3000. You should either stay at PWD rest house in Matiana, where less people stay so chances are you might get it available or try Theog first. Narkanda circuit rest house is also present which you can also try but many people would be looking for it. So, start trying from Theog, then Matiana and then Narkanda else book the HPTDC hotel “The Hatu”
Can u please suggest if there is any FRH or PWD in leh or ladakh or near by
Also while going to leh overnight stay is also required, if on the way there is any place
We are planning to go to Leh from 14 th August onwards from Manali
No Mitesh, there are no PWD guest houses open for public in Leh – Ladakh area AFAIK. Above all there are many economic guest houses and home stays in Ladakh so you do not need these guest houses.