Want to spend a holiday in a village in Himachal Pradesh and get real local experience? Try village Cheog in Shimla district!
For a traveler like me, understanding local culture and getting a feel of the local way of life is just as much a part of the travel experience as visiting new places or meeting new people is. If I didn’t have any local interaction in a journey, the journey feels incomplete. This is perhaps the reason why I prefer homestays over hotels, and that I, every now and then, try volunteering while travelling.
If I talk about my previous motorcycle trip, for example, that took me around places in the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand for about 20 days, the most memorable experiences I had was eating in someone’s house in a small village called Naikana, and not when I camped in the wilderness one of the nights, or when I first saw the Panchachuli peaks in Munisyari.
Similarly, this time as well, as I motorcycled across the Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh, for almost a month, the most amazing two days of my trip reminded when I stayed in a small village called Cheog.
Cheog: An Offbeat Destination In Shimla District
From its appearance, and the kind of placement it offers (tucked away from the real world kind of setting) Cheog was certainly a place where tourists would want to spend a few relaxing nights, unwinding and just being close to nature. For tourists visiting Shimla and Kufri, but wanting to stay away from the crowd, Cheog offers a great escape.
I remember while exploring the village (that comprised of no shops but only about a dozen houses) it felt like I have transported myself at least a few decades back in time where people still shared more green spaces with them than concrete; where the birds could be heard all day long; where people seemed busy growing crops, only to later consume them. Everything and everyone appeared so self-sufficient and harmonious to nature.
Cheog appeared as one of those hidden gems meant for tourists who want to relax, forget their busy life behind, and spend a few nights unwinding and just being in the moment.
What To See And Do In Cheog
To be honest, there’s isn’t much for a regular tourist to see and do in Cheog, except for trekking in mountains (and you will have to find your own trails) exploring the village, and enjoying fresh oxygen and organic food. If, however, you ended up in the months of August, as I happened to be when I visited Cheog, you will find apples everywhere – apples that are free to pluck from anyone’s orchard and eat.
In short, Cheog, for an intrepid, and for those who appreciate the idea of slow travel, is a perfect place for relaxing and soaking in the laidback local Himachali life.
Here one can spend their holidays blissfully, under their own solitude or while interacting with a few happy locals.
There are literally no eating joints and only one homestay ‘Anirudh Homestay’ (that you can also Google map search for) with three rooms in total.
Cheog: From Where To Stay To How To Get There
Located at only 25 km from Kufri, the road to Cheog basically bifurcates from Fagu (you can Google for Fagu). From Fagu, if you’re coming from Kufri (and going towards Narkanda) you will see a small signboard on the right-hand side of the road saying Cheog. Now, you can even Google map search for Cheog, which will take you to the main town but to get to Anirudh homestay, you will have to bifurcate again.
As soon as you take the Cheog road (from Fagu) you drive about 3km before you see another road-sign directing you to ‘Gadharav’ (written in hindi). Take that road all the way to the dead-end (2km only) and that’s it. The first establishment of the village on your left is where you will have to go and stay – Anirudh Homestay, the only homestay in the entire town.
The homestay is run by a local family. You can Google search for LivingStoneStays to find more about the homestay and to book it online.
Travelling To Cheog
Until Fagu, you can also come on a bus. The road until Fagu is National Highway 5 – the one that connects Chandigarh to Shimla, before further leading to other places in Shimla District, so transportation until Fagu is no problem. From Fagu, however, which in reality is about 5 or 6 km all the way to Anirudh Homestay, there is no public transportation.
If you’re driving a car, be assured that you can take it all the way to the destination (though the road is pretty narrow with a few hairpin bends) but remains pretty decent in condition throughout the year. It is also possible to take a taxi from Fagu.
Here’s a Youtube video of my visit to Cheog: