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
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:
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.
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 own 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.
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.
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.
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:
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on Sainj Valley and say in the rest house.
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.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my travel guide on road trip to Narkanda.
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.
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.
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.
This post was last modified on Jul 1, 2021 16:56
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