Bir is a tiny hamlet in the west of Joginder Nagar Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Perched at an altitude of 5000 ft, Bir Billing almost touches the clouds. Travellers from all over the world visit Bir Billing to relax, meditate, and experience adventure sports.
It is the Paragliding Capital of India and Asia’s second-best paragliding site. The place offers a perfect adrenaline rush as one can hop from one adventure sports to another. It is also an ideal place for a weekend getaway. Tourists can either trek or take a car from Bir to Billing to cover the 14 km. The paragliding sport launches from Billing and then glides down to the Landing Site at Bir. There is an altitude change of around 800 m and the two places are together called Bir Billing.
The Tibetan settlements in Chowgan, a Himalayan village highly influence the culture of the place. Tibetan refugees are abundant in the Bir Tibetan Colony. The monasteries have beautiful backgrounds. The lush green landscapes and the serenity of the place are fascinating. The sunsets at Bir are exceptionally beautiful. One will be spoilt for choices as there are many amazing cafes to try out the local delicacies. The population consists of Indian agriculturalists, students, travellers, volunteers, international emigrants, and a community of Tibetans.
In case you have missed, check the best treks in Himachal Pradesh: Hampta Pass Trek
Also Check: Rupin Pass Trek
Best time to visit Bir Billing
One can visit Bir Billing throughout the year. But the best time to visit the place depends on the kind of activities you are looking forward to.
Bir Billing in Summers
One can visit Bir Billing throughout the year but the best time to visit the place depends on the kind of activities you are looking forward to. As the first paragliding season begins in March and May, Bir becomes a destination for thrill seekers. The immaculate weather in this season is ideal for paragliding, with temperatures hovering between 11°C to 25°C. In the summer, you may engage in brief paragliding lessons or go on tandem trips. Mountain biking and hiking are two more popular outdoor hobbies. The greatest time to visit Bir with your family and friends is during the summer. Aside from paragliding, trekking to adjacent villages is a great way to learn about Bir's culture. You can also test your fishing abilities, and then relish your catch heartily.
Bir Billing in Monsoons
The monsoon in this region starts from mid-July and stays till mid-September. During this season, paragliding is prohibited. Going outside and trekking is hazardous due to the torrential rains and the pathways become too soggy and slick. The region receives light to heavy rainfall and is prone to landslides. So, it’s better to avoid visiting Bir Billing in the monsoon season.
Bir Billing in Winters
October and November are ideal for paragliding and the weather is comfortable. This is the second season in which paragliding is available in Bir. Seasoned paragliders flock to this idyllic hill station in October and November to soak in the beauty of the enthralling landscapes in these ideal circumstances. As the rains replenish the fields, the view from the summit becomes more exquisite. The pleasant air and warm sunshine will boost your mood and make flying a pleasure. The months of October and November are ideal for trekking since the weather is mild and agreeable). The temperature falls to sub-zero levels during the months of December to February.
How to Reach
The distance between Delhi and Bir is 489 km approximately. You can avail an overnight private bus from Delhi, Kashmere Gate to Bir which will take about 11 to 12 hours to reach.
There is no direct train to Bir. The nearest railway station to Bir is Ahju railway station. It is situated just 4.7 km away from Bir. From Delhi, you can board the Jhelum Express to reach Ahju railway station. It is about a 20 hour long travel.
The closest airport to Bir is the Kangra Airport, which is approximately 68 kilometres away in adjacent Palampur. There are regular flights running between this airport and Delhi.
ATM AND NETWORK SERVICES
There is an ATM in the market area of the Chouban village and is 2 km from Bir. Carry sufficient cash with you as the ATM tends to run out of cash. There are 2-3 ATMs on the Bir Manali Highway.
The network availability is good for all the leading service providers.
Here is a list of things that you can do in Bir Billing
Bir Billing is most famous for aerial sports. The climate is most suitable for paragliding during the months of March to May and October to November. You can also enroll yourself for the training programs to learn the sport better. In the month of October, Bir hosts the Pre-world cup of paragliding. The place is a major attraction for adventure lovers. The glide starts at Billing (2400 m) and ends in the Western Edge of the Tibetan Colony (14 km south). Solo paragliding is available for the experienced. While a novice can paraglide with a trained instructor in a two-seater glider. The paragliding offers spectacular views of the Bir Billing. One can also experience hand gliding here.
Bir is the starting point for the various trek and hike routes. The hike from Bir to Billing offers beautiful views of pine forests, mountain summits, and the Dhauladhar range.
Few of the hiking routes are:
- Billing-Rajgundha-Barot: It is an easy trek. One can camp overnight in Rajgundha or trek further to Barot.
- Chota Bangal and Bada Bangal: It is a moderate, adventurous trek.
- Prashar Lake:It is a mysterious lake in the middle of Himalayas, nestled in the east of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh. An island floats within it and the trek offers amazing views of the Dhauladhar range.
The experience of camping is wonderful at Bir. One can star gaze and absorb the fresh air. The tents also help in promoting eco-tourism.
The camps often organize bonfires with music sessions. Bir has campsites, but one can also book packages that are inclusive of camping and paragliding.
4. Travel by toy train:
One can avail of a toy train from Bir to cover nearby tourist destinations. The toy train of Pathankot is most popular. The journey comes with spectacular views of hills and the valley underneath. There is also a heritage toy train that starts from Joginder Nagar and ends at Pathankot.
The winding routes and highways out of Bir Billing are well maintained. One can try mountain biking around the villages and reach the landing site of the paragliders. The nearby hill-station of Palampur is also accessible by bike. The route to Deol offers amazing views of farms and villages. Various shops rent bikes on an hourly basis.
6.Hike from Bangoru Waterfall:
There are many nearby waterfalls that one can reach by trekking or hiking a bit from Bir. The Bangoru Waterfall is at a distance of 4.5 km from the Tibetan Colony. The route is an easy hike. The waterfall is straight from the Gunehar village. One can turn on the GPS or ask the locals for directions. This spot is less known to tourists and is ideal for picnics. Milky white waters flow through the rocks and enhance the beauty of the waterfall.
7. Visit the Deer Park Institute:
One of the most famous institutes for the study of Indian classical wisdom is the Deer Park Institute. The location of the Institute is Bir Colony in Himachal Pradesh. It organizes sessions related to meditation, healing arts, philosophy, yoga, art, culture, and Buddhism. These teaching lessons can last from days to months. This educational centre has a pagoda-style structure and reflects Tibetan culture. Various paintings and carvings related to Buddhism cover the walls. The visit to Bir remains incomplete without covering this place. Tourists enjoy the retreats as it is a relaxation activity.
8. Explore the Cafe:
The cafes here serve authentic local delicacies. But the one that stands out is the Garden Cafe. As the name suggests, this garden cafe offers splendid views and has an amazing menu. It also has accommodation facilities. Do try out their freshly brewed coffee, pizzas, and sandwiches. There are other cafes like the Friend’s cafe, 99 Not Out, and the Himalayan café that deserve a visit. These cafes and restaurants also offer different cuisines like Chinese, Continental, Indian, Italian, and Mexican.
9.Worship in Chokling Monastery:
The most famous Tibetan monastery in Bir is the Chokling Monastery. It is in the middle of the Tibetan Colony and has white paint. The other vibrant colours add richness to the monastery. It also has a statue of Padmasambhava and a stupa. The monastery is 1 km away from the Bir Landing Site and has clear views of the mountains. One can see the paragliders flying nearby. It is a memorable place to visit with the colourful flags, green lawns, and a serene atmosphere.
10. Visit the Chowgan Tea Garden:
South of Lower Bir is abundant with tea plantations.A variety of teas are grown here. The climate of Bir contributes to the richness of the estates of this region. One can stroll through the tea gardens and enjoy the pristine views of the surroundings. The fresh air will instantly cheer you up. It is a delightful sight to watch the Women labourers pluck fresh tea leaves from these plantations with baskets and kids on their back. Their swift action is no less than an art. Some of these workers are also very tourist friendly.
11. Visit the Himalayan Film School:
The Himalayan Film School is an absolute no-miss if one visits Bir. The Institute has a brilliant infrastructure and is within the premises of the Deer Park Institute. It is one of the most reputed film schools in India. The faculty often partners with Tuning Fork Films and organizes intuitive workshops. Storytelling, film-making, and photography workshops are most common. The timing is from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
12.Bir Landing Site:
The sunset point or the Bir Landing Site is famous for its scintillating sunsets. Locals and tourists crowd the place in the evening. There are many restaurants and cafes to choose from. Paraglider pilots use this site as their landing zone, so one can also view paragliders halting here.
13. Shop at Bir Road:
One will find many small shops in the market known as Bir Bazaar. The shops in this lane sell basic items like clothes and accessories. There are also food joints that sell local food. Many shops here also rent bikes.
14. Visit the Barot Valley:
The trekking route from Billing to Barot valley is easy and is 20-22 km long. Barot valley is at a distance of 53 km from the Bir village and is famous for its Hydel project. It takes approximately 6 hours to reach the valley. Camping and accommodation options are available for the night. The Winch camp offers trout fishing at the Uhl river. There is a wildlife sanctuary, a few artificial lakes and temples to explore.
15. Visit Chamunda Devi Temple:
The temple of Chamunda Devi lies 15km from the Kangra Valley. This holy shrine is popular among pilgrims and tourists. The two Hindu male deities Hanuman and Bhairava guard the Goddess. The temple offers picturesque views of the Dhauladhar range.
16. Check out Sherablling Monastery:
The Monastery covers 3 acres of land within the Bhatu forest. Pine trees and colourful flags flapping in the wind lead the pathway to the Monastery. Sherablling Monastery consists of gompas, stupas, and Buddhist temples. One can receive periodic lessons in meditation and philosophy here.
17. Panoramic view from Raj gundha:
Spend some time in the Raj gundha village to know their culture, livelihood, and traditional homes. This is the last village in this part of the valley. This Himalayan region is known for its breath-taking views and especially for its challenging treks. Much like The Rajgundha 360° view.
18.Experience the Aryamarga Yoga Institute:
AryaMarga Yoga transmits the experience of Integral Yoga of the Ancient Lineage of the 84 Mahasiddhas through short and long term courses, conducted at varying levels of intensity. The teachings are an integrated system of untouched and unchanged practices of the 4 stages of Yoga, handed down over a period of more than 5000 years from ancient Guru-s of the Lineage of the 84 Mahasiddha-s.
19.Stay at Karyashaala:
If you are a traveller who wants to work from any part of the world with a flexible but a proper workplace then Karyashaala is the right choice for you. It’s a perfect destination for freelancers, digital nomads, travelers, writers, designers, entrepreneurs who require resources, guidance, adequate setup, and infrastructure which would be suitable enough for them to work. Karyashaala is a good enough place to tickle your enthusiasm, this place offers the perfect ambiance to live & work, for those nomads and entrepreneurs who are seeking a wandering life in the hills.
Bir Billing offers beautiful views of mountains, monasteries, and valleys. It is a heaven for adventure lovers and people who seek spiritual awakening.