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Bir Billing

4.1 /5 52 votes


Best Time: Throughout the year Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Chandigarh Check Flights

"Paragliding in the land of Tibetan monasteries"

Bir Billing Tourism

Bir is a small town located in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. Bir Billing is a popular destination located in Joginder Nagar valley known for adventures sports such as paragliding, treks and also as the town for meditation. There is an influence of Tibetan culture due to Tibetan community settlement in this town.

Bir is considered as one of the best spots in the world for paragliding. The take-off site is called Billing and the landing site is Bir and the overall altitude change is around 800m.  There are some pretty cafe dotting the town serving some delicious food. People can also go for short hikes, visit the monasteries, take a ride in the nearby Jogindernagar-Pathankot Narrow Gauge train or just spend a day at the tea gardens. The town of Bir is also an important centre of spiritual studies and meditation.

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Paragliding in Bir

This is a major reason why scores of tourists visit Bir. Being an ideal ground of paragliding, the months from March to November are replete with thousands of tourists, especially bold adventurers visiting Bir and the adjacent town of Billing, 14 km. north from Bir, for the paragliding. The takeoff spot is at Billing, whereas the landing spot is at Bir, the altitude change being that of 800 m. Not only do you get a slice of adventure, but it is also quite safe, with the requisite safety standards clearly met. No wonder why Bir and Billing's co-hosted the first official Paragliding World Championship on October 2015, where 150 trained paragliders competed for the ultimate glory, along with 500+ free-flying paragliders enjoying their day. Bir is also called unofficially the 'Paragliding Capital of India'.

History of Bir

The town of Bir was ruled by the Pal dynasty, belonging to the Chandravanshi lineage. They were cheated out of their kingdom with the murder of their king Raizada Prithi Pal, the last of the descendants of the Rajas of Bangahal, by his father in law Raja Sidhi Sen from the Mandi kingdom. Despite repeated efforts over the generations by different Pal rulers, who even received aid from the Mughals, they were unable to annexe the town of Bir back from the Rajas of Mandi. The establishment of the Tibetan monastery marks a new chapter in Bir’s history in the 1960s, with the arrival of Neten Chokling, an incarnate lama of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. His later incarnations, along with Chokling Rinpoche, contributed to the building of the beautiful and famous Tibetan Monastery, which to this day continues to house many refugees.

Tibetan Colony in Bir

The Tibetan Colony of Bir, located in the village of Chowgan, was established in the 1960s by Chokling Rinpoche. After the exile of several refugees, including the Dalai Lama from Tibet, there was an influx of them into Bir. Many of the original refugees came from Kham in south-east Tibet. The population of the colony to this day continues to be predominantly Tibetan, but there are also some Indian families and other expatriates. The colony has several Tibetan monasteries. It also has some tourist attractions like the Deer Park Institute, a branch of the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute (Men-Tsee-Khang), and a Tibetan handicrafts shop.

Restaurants and Local Food in Bir Billing

Bir, being the popular tourist destination that it is, offers a number of choices to its visitors, with delicacies from across cuisines. You can find both Indian and Continental food here, at a price which is light on your pockets. At the same time the area is also a major Tibetan settlement. Hence, the food here is also influenced by Tibetan cuisine and popular items like Momos are almost staple.
Other than these influences, the typical Himachali cuisine is very simple as it mainly centers on Chapati, Dals, Vegetable gravy and Curd. A teasing variety of pickles almost always compliments the meals here. One might also find some local delicacies here, which are more or less exclusive to the state. These include Sidu (a preparation of wheat), Patande (a local version of pancakes), Chouk, Bhagjery, Chutney of 'Til', Aloo palda, Auriya Kadoo (a preparation of pumpkin) and more.
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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Reach Bir, preferably by noon and take some rest. In the evening, you can go to the main market in Bir, also known as Bir Bazaar where you can buy the local souvenirs, curios to take back and marvel at. Not very far from here is Bir Tea Factory, which is a popular shot.
Day 2: If you're in for the adventure, the 2nd day is when you should ideally take off for your trip. Before the trip begins, you should have your safety related documents ready. 14 km from Bir is the town of Billing, which is the takeoff spot for the sport of paragliding.
Day 3: This day should ideally be reserved for a rest. However, if you're active enough, and raring to go, do visit the serene monastery in Chokling, which serves as an important centre of Buddhist studies as well.
Day 4: This is the day when you can either come down to Palampur or go further to Baijnath, an important pilgrimage for Hindu devotees, in the context of Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. Baijnath is 12.7 km. away from Bir, via NH 154.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

One of the best place for paragliding in the world. A charming mix of adventure and spiritualism. Extremely beautiful in summers.

What's Not So Great?

Freezing cold in winters. Paragliding could be risky without proper guidance. Public buses directly to Bir are not that easily available from cities like Delhi. However, it is well connected by road and can be reached by changing buses or taking a cab.

For Whom?

Ideal for adventurers and paragliding enthusiasts from across the country. Suitable for backpackers and travellers from cities like Delhi, Chandigarh and other parts of North India.

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How To Reach Bir Billing

There is no direct flight or rail connectivity to Bir. Ahju railway station is the nearest railway station, which is only 3 km. away from Bir, although the nearest broad gauge railway station is in Pathankot, which is 142.2 km. away from Bir. while Kangra airport in Gaggal, Dharamshala, is the nearest airport, which is 67.6 km. away from Bir. The Pathankot railway station is connected to the major cities of the country and the Dharamshala airport is connected to Delhi and Kullu. One can take a taxi or a bus from Pathankot to Bir. Regular bus services ply to and fro Bir, through a well-connected roadway network. Other airports close to Bir are in Chandigarh (290 km), Amritsar airport (260 km) and New Delhi (520 km).

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Bir Billing Reviews

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Kumar Kislay 1 year ago
- This quaint little hill town with a Tibetan culture has beautiful monasteries and tea gardens, along with yoga retreats and of course paragliding. This is the best place for paragliding in India and is playing host to the Paragliding World Cup in Oct-2015. The pilots charge Rs 2000 for a half an hour long flight. We stayed in Nyingma Guest House
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