Situated deep in the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain ranges, Bir Billing is one of the gems of Himachal Pradesh. Known for having the second highest jumping spot in the world, Bir is also a perfect weekend destination in this Himalayan state. The place became famous as the Paragliding Capital of India, since year 2013 when Indian Paragliding World Cup was organized here with great success. Each year Bir is visited by thousands of adventure-seekers to take a leap of faith and soar high in clouds. Paragliding is still the prime attraction of this beautiful and quaint little town. But that should not stereotype Bir Billing as solely a paragliding destination. There is so much to do and see around in Bir.
The Buddhist Circuit
Bir exudes an air of Buddhism. Beautiful monasteries and stupas are holy icons that add to the beauty of this place. In the early 1960s, when Dalai Lama was exiled with other Tibetans from their native land in Tibet, many Tibetans led by Chokling Rinpoche decided to make Bir their home. Today, the town has a large Tibetan refugee settlement, which is called Colony by local people. This Colony is near Chowgan village, below Upper Bir. Some monasteries worth visiting would be:
- Drikung Dozin Theckcho Ling Monastery
- Palyul Chökhorling Monastery
- Deer Park Institute
- Tibetan Handicrafts Centre
The Trekking Trail
Bir is gradually becoming popular as a perfect weekend destination amongst trekkers. Small treks and trails emerge out of every corner of Bir Billing. These trails help tourists (both domestic and international) enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Bir. Placed in the Joginder Nagar Valley nestled in Dhauladhar ranges, the trekking trails from Bir go through high passes and narrow snow trails.
- Famous Trails: Bir is the starting point of the treks leading into Bara Bangal, Ghornala and Zanskar valley of Ladakh region. Other small and long treks originating from this region lead to Hanumangarh, Chamba Valley, Barot Valley and beautiful village of Raj Gunda.
- Short Hikes: Short hikes place you in the middle of tea gardens in Chowgan or take you on a small excursion to beautiful, small hamlets in adjoining areas.
- Tatani Trek: Another great trek in this valley is to Tatani. It is a bit more demanding as compared to others (except Bara Bangal) as the gradient is steeper and the length of the trek in total is no less than 6 km. The trek starts at the hydro project and lands you at the hot water springs of Tatani.
A beautiful pair of villages, namely Raj Gunda and Kular Gunda, is far away from the daily hustle and bustle of city life. Both these villages are placed in the middle of thick Gunda forest, some 16-17 km from Bir. Enthusiasts can trek to these magnificent villages within 2-3 days’ time. The villages boast of pure and clean environment, thanks to no road connectivity. As the twin villages are far from invasion of modernization, the valley is full of beautiful views and wildlife. In the summer months, tourists can enjoy witnessing farmlands full of crops and flowers.
Camping under the Stars
Green slopes of Bir are a perfect heaven for people who love to camp under star studded night. Smooth decent with a layer of green grass requires no longer than 5 minutes to setup a camp. If organizing a jam session around bonfire is another thing you have been fantasizing for years, then it is going to be fulfilled here.
Sunset Spot has left many tourists mesmerized with its views. Situated at an altitude of 2400 m, the popular paragliding site rises many thousands feet above the low lands to make it one of the perfect sunset point in Kangra Valley. If you are here for an overnight camping, then you have a lovely chance to see the rising sun from behind mountain crests in the early morning.
Whenever you plan to visit this small paragliding paradise in Kangra Valley, try and make sure to enjoy all activities listed above and take home best memories of your life to share with your family and friends.
How to Reach Bir?
- Railways: Nearest railway station is at Ahju (on the narrow-gauge line running between Pathankot and Jogindernagar via Kangra) some 5 km from Bir.
- Roadways: To reach Bir by road take a turnoff on NH20 via Bir Road. It will fall approximately midway between Baijnath and Jogindernagar.