Bir-Billing : Asia’s Best Paragliding Spot
Bir is a land of great spiritual and meditative importance, located in the West of Joginder Nagar Valley in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Where in, Bir-billing, is collectively known as “The Paragliding Capital of India“. Bir, also houses a Tibetan Refugee Settlement, Serene Buddhist Monasteries and a Large stupa.
Bir-billing is World’s 2nd Highest Paragliding Spot (after Lake Como in Italy) and Asia’s Best Paragliding spot. A paradise for flyers across the Globe, Bir-billing has witnessed many built as well as broken records, one of them being the world record of 132.5 km for an out-and-return flight has been marked here in 1992.
By Road : 12-14 hours from Delhi by bus. (Overnight as well as the daytime buses are available for Bir road or Baijnath from ISBT and Volvo buses are also available for Dharamshala from Delhi.) And further on everyday Buses are available from Dharamshala, Baijnath and Pathankot. Ask the bus conductor to drop at Chowgan Chowk (1Km, 10 minutes on foot) or Upper Bir to reach Tibetan Colony.
Taxi, convenient and fastest way to reachBir :
From Pathankot to Bir: 4-5 hours, Rs. 3000 approx.
From Dharamshala to Bir: 2-3 hours, Rs. 1800 approx.
From Baijnath to Bir: 30 minutes, Rs. 300-500 approx.
From Bir Road (the closest stop for most long-distance buses) to Chowgan (including the Tibetan Colony or Deer Park): 5 minutes, Rs. 100 approx.
From Bir Road to Upper Bir: 10 minutes, Rs. 100-150.
By Train : Train to Pathankot Station + Taxi/Bus further towards Bir.
By Air : Flight to the Nearest Airport i.e. Gaggal Airport in Kangra (about 30-45 minutes, south of Dharamshala) + Taxi/Bus further towards Bir. (Note: Due to weather and other issues, flights to or from Dharamshala can be canceled at the last minute, so it’s advised to have a maybe Plan B)
Best Time to Visit :
- March to June, before Monsoon.
- September to November.
Being a hill station, it has pleasant and cool climate round the year but Monsoon is otherwise not considered as a good idea due to the heavy rainfalls which result in landslides, even. (Also, the destination’s main pull factor i.e. Paragliding can not happen during thunderstorms or heavy rainfalls.)
Experience the Nation’s Best Paragliding Spot with us to discover the best of it!
Moving towards Bir, Amid brimming Tea-Gardens across the horizons of Chowgan, is a refreshing start.
During an adventurous drive uphill towards Billing (i.e. the take-off point for Paragliding) through the Bir-Forest with the huge Tress of Oak, Pine, Deodar and Rhododendron, mainly and birds like Raven and long-tailed Magpie can be spotted.
Trekking with us in the Bir-forest, onto the trails above Billing for around 4-5 hours is the best to experience for the newbies as well as for the trekking-enthusiasts to discover the views of Snow-capped hilltops Amid clouds and Meadows around.
In evening, a Campsite with peaceful hill-tops around in Billing, waits for your arrival. Maggie and fresh tea are perfect evening snacks. Invest the energy to hike up, till the Billing Sunset-point which leaves one mesmerised as the colours of setting sun in the sky along with the peaks of Dhauladhar Ranges and prayer flags fluttering with the cool breeze around. And as the night falls, City-lights of towns in Hills in the backdrop are one of those best sights.
On returning, Campfire, light music and hot delicious dinner awaits. And the Non-Polluted sky delivers the view of millions of stars along with constellations and satellites like a never-before Star-gazing session. Sleep peacefully under the blanket of Stars and Moonlight.
In morning, Rays of Sun-rise sneak into the camp to wake you up. Paragliding awaits post breakfast. At an altitude of 2,400m, above sea level, green Meadows of Billing offer a natural launch-pad making it the Best Paragliding Spot, across the Globe.
Tandem Paragliding (i.e. 2-seater Joyride) starts as the pilot inflates the glider and takes you off soaring high in the sky. Flying around floating clouds, alongside the Eagles’ flight, above the mountain peaks gives you an adrenaline rush in 15-20 minutes of flight (that too, experiencing without even learning it) to the landing site i.e. Bir.
Once in Bir, Nature-walk to the hidden waterfall by following the river upstream is worth the hike and a visit to Bir tea-factory to view the process that brings us the refreshing aromatic tea, near the market itself.
Deer Park Institute offers programs on Meditation, philosophy, Art and culture. And even Meditation Retreats for Visitors is worth the go.
The Himalayan Film School is worth the appreciation as it conducts unique film festivals and movie-making workshops.
Experience all-fresh idea of pure Tibetan-food as well in Co-Joining Cafes in Monasteries themselves i.e. one in SherabLing Monastery.
Worship in Monasteries may hold a part of you, as serenity resides in the atmosphere here with Natural beauty and divinity as well. Where in the Sherab ling Monastery has a long-spanning philosophy to discover and Dalai lama himself stays here on his visits; the Chokling Monastery has a huge-Statue of ‘Padmasambhava’ and also the Drukpa-kagyu Monastery is known for inscriptions and stone-sculptures with documentation of various sects/ sub-sects of Tibetan culture.
The Dharmaya Institute is just another eco-institute where one can indulge in organic farming and green building.
Leisure walk at local Stalls of traditional clothing and handicrafts as souvenirs at Bir Market are sure to catch one shopping and also observing and interacting with the local people at Refugee Settlement of Tibetan Colony gives a touch of the true essence of the destination.
Hopping onto some scenic and unique food-joints to feed your hunger is obvious. Thenthuk (Tibetan noodle soup with veggies) and Momos are easily available here which gives you an experience of Tibetan food. Also Italian, Chinese and Indian cuisine is available. Some of the places are listed here like : June 16 Cafe, Norling (a.k.a. Garden Cafe), Silver lining, Friends Cafe and Musafir as well. Four tables and Norling can be a point for healthy and vegan options on advance notice.
Bir is also sustainably-aware as Eco-bricks are made by stuffing plastic bottles with plastic wrappers in it and thick mud is used to keep them in place. Few hands of contribution here, around Bir proves to be a move towards eco-tourism.
With us, Riding a Tandem Mountain-bike (i.e. 2-seater mountain bike or say bicycles with gears designed for riding in rough terrains) with your partner-in-ride is an all-new way to experience the adventure through the rough Forest trails around the outskirts of Bir, upto Bhattu and discover it’s scenic landscapes, rather than on mere separate-rides.
Henceforth, discover all possible hues of the Asia’s Best Paragliding destination, with us and experience the best of it.
– By Saumya Gurjar, Team Outlander Treks