Lying in the green beautiful mountains, Bir Billing is a place for adventure, picnic and relaxation. Famous for its paragliding sport, Bir Billing offers a perfect weekend getaway. When I entered Bir, it was so delightful; the landscape, greenery, peace took my breath away and made me fall hard for Bir. And I honestly feel, many people miss out on how much Bir holds and can offer as a place.
Below, I will cover exactly that. I will talk about the things you can do in Bir along with places you can see. I will also cover some important information related to accommodation and how to reach.
About Bir Billing
Bir lies in the Kangra district, an abode in the Himalayas. The place is really serene and calm with many monasteries to explore on the way. From Bir, tourists either hike up to Billing or take a cab to cover the 14 km of distance between Bir and Billing.
The place is famous for hikes as well as paragliding. This place is also one of the best flying sites and aero sports in India. To be more clear, Bir and Billing are two separate places. Billing is the place from where the takeoff happens and it lies at an elevation of about 2300 meters. On the other hand, Bir is the landing site at an elevation of 1400 meters.
Bir is located in the western side of Joginder Nagar in Kangra district. Bir lies in the Northern side of India amidst the Himalayan mountains. Referred to as the capital of India for paragliding the place offers breathtaking views of Dhauladhar ranges.
Best Time for Flying
While Bir Billing can be visited throughout the year, if you want to experience the best of Bir Billing paragliding should be on your checklist while visiting this beautiful place.
Paragliding comes to a halt during monsoons as the weather becomes really unsafe for flying, hence the gliders take a break from flying. These months are usually from mid-June to September end, hence it would be best to visit this place during the rest of the months.
Although for flying purposes, October and November are considered to be the best months. Spring on the hand can offer some of the best views of the valley when it will be all blooming with flowers and greenery.
How to Reach
The easiest way to reach Bir is by taking a bus from Delhi. Below, I am writing all the routes if you are coming from far off places.
If you are in far east states than Delhi, the best would be to take a flight first and then travel till Bir. The cheaper mode would be to take a flight till Delhi and then catch a bus or a train from Delhi to Bir. However, if you want the transport to be quicker, you can also reach Kangra Airport which is the nearest airport to Bir.
The nearest train station to Bir is Joginder Nagar. Joginder Nagar is the main hub for transportation from where you can find numerous buses and trains. Here, you will be able to find a private taxi or a bus that directly leaves for Bir. The distance from Bir and Joginder Nagar is about 14 KMs.
There are buses that leave from Delhi ISBT Kashmiri Gate. However, they do not drop you off directly to Bir. They will either drop you on the Bir Road, or a little far from it which is at Bajinath. From Bajinath you can find cabs to reach directly to Bir.
Although, I opted for another route. I took a bus to Palampur instead, spent half my day there exploring Palampur and headed to Bir at noon time. These buses leave from Delhi ISBT Kashmiri Gate and will drop you off in Bajinath.
Things to Do in Bir Billing
In Bir, there are numerous things to do than just visit the place and watch the views. Here you can get high on adrenaline and be all adventurous. Below, is exactly what I am listing down –
1. Para Gliding
The most prominent thing for which people go to Bir Billing is this aerial sport – paragliding. The take-off starts from Billing and the landing takes place in Bir. The gliders are really well trained and after the take off you fly in the air for more than 20 minutes seeing the entire valley of Bir.
It is one of the most beautiful sites one can see while flying in the mid-air along with other gliders at a far-off distance. There is no feeling like this, to just open the arms mid-air and feel the fresh air.
There are several trekking and hiking routes that start from Bir. You can either choose a simple hiking trail or a difficult hiking tour depending on the time and will you have.
You can also hike from Bir to Billing which will give some of the best views of pine forests and mountaintops. You can also enjoy the Dhauladhar ranges.
Some of the famous hiking routes are –
- Billing to Rajgundha to Barot – You can camp in this village overnight and return the next day. But if you wish to go further, there is a village called Barot which is increasingly becoming a tourist attraction.
- Chota Bangal and Bada Bangal – This one is a slightly difficult trek, but also adventurous.
- Parashar Lake – This magical lake lying in the middle of the Himalayan ranges is a beauty to behold. The lake is said to be a mysterious one and a small island right within the lake floats. The trek can award some of the best views of Dhauladhar Himalayan Range.
- Mcleodganj – Many tourists who visit Bir also head to Triund as well that starts from Mcleodganj. Triund is a beautiful hill from where you can see the Kangra Valley, along with beautiful sunset and sunrise points.
3. Mountain Biking in Bir
In Bir, you can rent out mountain bikes and visit one place to another on it. Though this, you will pass through tall green trees and even though the trails get difficult and the slopes are uphill but riding amidst them is thrilling, especially while visiting monasteries and mountains.
The best part of renting out a mountain bike is that you can see the view clearly in front of you and can stop and marvel at the valley whenever you feel like. This cannot be obtained if you are driving in your car or have hired a taxi.
If you want to get the true experience of Bir, you can also camp here. The tents are the perfect way to star gaze and promote eco-tourism as well. With this, you can also experience the fresh air and nature up close.
There are campsites in Bir that you can opt for, or book a package that includes both the activities of Paragliding and camping. Imagine sitting near the bonfire and gazing at the stars with fresh air and light music along.
5. Shop at Bir Road
Bir has a small market that looks like a small street market of the city. There are local stalls that have all the ethnic material and local food that one can enjoy. This is one of the things that you should definitely not miss while in Bir.
6. Travel by Toy Train
From Bir, you can also take a toy train to travel around nearby places. The most prominent one to travel to is Pathankot and coming back from there. This ride is so stunning as you will ride through some really stunning views alongside the hills while seeing the valley below. It is one of the most peaceful and serene experience.
Places to See in Bir Billing
Bir Billing is a hub of monasteries despite being a picturesque spot. Here, after trying all the adventurous activities you can take your mountain bike and hop on and off from these places.
1. Paplung Sherabling Monastery in Bhattu
Paplung Sherabling Monastery is the largest monastery of Bir. You can do mountain biking from Bir to this monastery (that is what I did as well). The monastery is located in a village called Bhatu and reaching here through mountain biking is really fun. You can also see the backdrop of Dhauladhar Himalayan ranges from here.
2. Pema Ewam Chögar Gyurme Ling or Chokling Monastery
Pema Ewam Chögar Gyurme Ling or Chokling Monastery was built by Chokling Rinpoche. He was the one who established a Tibetan establishment here. This monastery is located right in the Bir Tibetan colony.
3. Palyul Chökhorling Monastery or Nyingma Monastery
This monastery is on the main road and the monastery is really colourful with colourful parachutes flying right at the top. And when gliders glide right on top of the monastery is such a wonderful thing to see.
4. Deer Park Institute
There is a deer park in Bir that offers meditation, philosophy and art culture. You can also attend retreats that tourists really enjoy and is also a relaxation activity for them.
5. Bir Tea Factory
Bir also has a tea factory which is another famous tourist spot. Bir is brimming with tea gardens so of course there will be a tea factory as well. You can go here to understand how tea plantations are used for tea productions.
Where to Stay in Bir Billing
There are several homestays in this place, that offers a really comfortable vibe and homely feeling. However, if you are on a budget-friendly goal and want to interact with other travellers, Bir now also has a hostel – Zostel, where you can easily stay at a cheap price.
You can book the dorm on their website that costs about INR 400/-. Make sure to make an advance booking during the peak season as many tourists visit the place. However, during offseason getting a hotel/dorm won’t be a problem.
Where to Eat
Despite being a place in the Himalayan region, Bir has quite fancy cafes like those we find in the city. You can explore several cafes here and try different cuisines. Some of the most prominent ones are the Garden café, The 4Tables café and as well as the restaurant inside the Sherabling monastery.
If you are planning to explore Bir during the weekend, do not think twice – just go. This place would not disappoint you, especially having an adventure activity like paragliding here. Plus, how delightful it will be to do mountain biking from one monastery to another and at the end pray for the well-being of your family and peace.