Himachal Pradesh is known for its great mountain ranges. It is a state full of charming little towns all stationed on top of wonderful mountains. The most of its quaint towns are the perfect little spots for a nice relaxing vacation. But, Bir is a bit different. Bir is another small town atop a hill in Himachal. It is popularly known for its adventure activities- mainly Paragliding. Bir is the name of the town, and Billing is the name of the jumping point from where the paragliding starts. Adventure lovers have to basically jump from Billing to land in Bir. This beautiful spot has become immensely popular among adventure addicts, who describe this place as magical.
The natural jumping spot, the gigantic mountains
Also Read: Kareri Lake Trek
Via Dharamshala– Bir is a mere 50km drive from Dharamshala. It only takes two to three hours by car to reach Bir via Dharamshala
Via Pathankot– Bir is about four to five hours by car from Pathankot. One can also take a bus from Pathankot and get down at Bir. There is also a toy train that runs between Pathankot and Joginder Nagar, which one can avail. The train stops at Ahuja, which is the nearest railway station to Bir.
From Bir- To reach Billing, one can easily hire a car. It is about 14km to the North of Bir.
One is filling full of energy then one can also trek to Billing from Bir. The route for the trek is easy, but one has to cover a dense forest first and then has to encounter a steep climb, which can be strenuous for many. The trek takes about four to five hours. The trek, even though tiring is highly recommended, as it makes the experience even more real. One can explore more of the town and actually be in the lap of nature. The walk is especially refreshing and gives one a lot of time to just wander and ponder on their inner thoughts. A simple drive to Billing, on the other hand, is not as immersive as the trek.
Recommended: McLeod Ganj – Little Tibet
If one decides to trek to Billing from Bir, then they might have to wait till the next day to actually soar into the air. Paragliding is usually done early in the morning, taking into consideration – the sun, the wind and the weather. The trek takes about four to five hours, so one has to then set up camp at Billing and stay the night to paraglide the next day.
The camping on its own it another pleasurable activity. Billing is a brilliant point to see the sunset. The hues from the sun set cover the sky like a crimson blanket and the view is to die for. It is a photographer’s haven. There are a few locals in and around who can easily help one with food and even the bonfire. What can be better than- dancing along with some beautiful soft tunes while munching on delicious hot food and all of this under a sky full of stars?
The next day, one has to get up early morning and start prepping for the big event. Billing is the second highest paragliding spot in the whole world. The jump point is about 9000ft above sea level and 4500ft from Bir. It generally takes 25 to 30 min to complete the flight.
The process is extremely systematic and the co-pilots double check everything before it starts. The parachutes are checked, safety instructions and types of equipment are given out.
There are two types of Paragliding experiences-
Solo – one can opt for solo paragliding, however that includes proper formal training and a level of professional qualifications before one can undertake this experience. In solo, as the name indicates, there is only one person- the pilot who is in charge of everything.
Tandem Paragliding – In case of Tandem paragliding, there will be a professionally trained plot who will handle everything before, during and after the flight. Both the guest and the pilot hang from the same parachute and the pilot stays at the back, while the guest sits in the front. This is the best way to enjoy paragliding without having to worry about anything. No formal training is required and the guest just has to sit and enjoy the
Also Check: Trek to Triund
There are certain weight and age requirements to paraglide in Bir Billing
Age- 14 years and above
Weight – 45-85 kgs.
Price- 1500 rupees to 2500 rupees (depending on the season)
Bir is famous for its Tibetan settlements during the Indo-China War. Owing to this, many small monasteries have cropped up in every nook and corner of Bir. One famous Monastery is the Chokilng Monastery. It is a surreal little monastery that has a magnificent stupa (gate) that is beautiful crafted and looks magnificent. It is the perfect place to just be silent and meditate.
Bir is also famous for its tea. The wonderfully spread tea plantations are splendid to marvel at. The Bir Co-operative offers a great tour of the plantation. They also explain the subtlety and the process of making a world class tea. The nuances are well explained and extremely informative.
Owing to its heavy influence from the Tibetan culture, there are several serene meditation courses that occur all through the year. Deer Park Institution and Dharamalaya are not famous organisations that offer a lot of meditation courses, and also hold workshops where one can debate about art, culture, poetry and philosophy. Such an experience is a great way to channel the mind into productive and spiritual activities.
The Tibetan colony located in Chaugan is one of the most fascinating things that one can do when in Bir. The little area seems starry different from any part of India. There are few interesting things that one can find in this colony- namely- prayer flag making shops and the noodle manufacturing factory. Souvenirs shops sell all kinds of authentic and quirky items.
Bir is best during the Summer Months. This is the time when the town as woken up from its long snowy slumber. One can best enjoy it from March to June.