After a tiring road trip and a land slide on the way, we were looking forward to our stay at a decent, cosy guest house run by a local couple - arvind & sangita. On arrival, our first sight was a house of sub-standard architecture - designed by owners with no background in design, uncleaned green moss on the walls, pealing paint and a slippery (green moss) leading up to the house. Most of the rooms have a separate entrance from outside. This could be an advantage for guests seeking privacy. This was not too attractive for me since i had narrow, slippery, uncovered stairs to climb up to my room during the monsoons. The room was austere, furnished with ordinary furniture & decorations. It gave the feel of a cheap lodge.
Though, the warmth, hospitality, friendliness and local information provided by hosts' running the guest house was exceptional. The serene ambience and view was spectacular. But, this was true of many other Dharamshala hotels we checked out later. Besides, vidya niwas was almost 40 minutes drive from the mall road - center of all activity, the main market and most other sightseeing points. I would give it a single star rating.
The house is built on several levels with uneven steps - quite risky if you are travelling with senior citizens - as was our case. We had our meals in the the hosts' dining room. It was cramped, had dangerous steps leading up to the dining table and we could see the rats running around the kitchen. Enough to kill a hungry man's appetite. The food was local himachal pradesh cuisine - very similar to any home cooked meal in india, nothing out of the ordinary.