The big Tibetan settlement of Bir Billing is located in the lower parts of this valley. Farmers who operate a paragliding operation live in Upper Bir village. This environment makes Bir Billing the home of some beautiful monasteries, meditation centers, and mouthwatering Tibetan cuisine.
When the Paragliding World Cup was held in the picturesque village of Bir in the Kangra Valley in 2015, it quickly gained popularity. It is the best paragliding location in Asia and the second best in the entire world.
The paragliding start point is Billing (alt-7800 ft), which is located 14 kilometers from Bir. Bir and Billing are connected by a beautiful, unexplored, and peaceful journey that takes you through Himalayan pine forests.
Reasons for visiting Bir Billing
Visit there if you want to try paragliding. If you’re not the very daring type, take advantage of the wonderful treks nearby, stop by the soothing monasteries, savor Tibetan cuisine, or rent a mountain bike to explore the unexplored trails.
Because of its topography, weather conditions, and wind patterns, this location is perfect for paragliding. In comparison to other sites in India, the take-off and landing locations are at the perfect elevations, and the wind’s direction and speed guarantee smooth sailing for longer periods.
Tibetan culture can be experienced, and there are several treks nearby.
Visiting Monasteries near Bir
The largest monastery in the region, Paplung Sherabling, is located in the town of Bhattu, 7 kilometers from Bir, and is surrounded by pine forests. Another place to find peace is at the Chokling monastery. One of Kangra’s most beautiful monasteries is also this one.
Nearly 4 miles from Bir, the Deer Park Institute is a lovely location, especially if you’re interested in Indian philosophy, science, or art. The institute seeks to resurrect the spirit of Nalanda, an illustrious university and center of learning in ancient India.
Additionally well-known in Bir are ecotourism and volunteerism. One location that offers you the ability to do both is Dharmalaya Institute. It provides lessons in a variety of subjects (short-term and long-term), including ecology, mindfulness, organic farming, green building, and many others.
Treks around Bir Billing
If you want to extend your trip and explore the neighborhood, there are a few treks near Bir.
Longer treks to the semi-nomadic villages of Raj Gundha and Kukkar Gundha offer stunning views of the Kangra Valley and Raj Gundha Valley, respectively. You can do that. It takes 4-5 hours to travel to Raj-Gundha; you can stop here, camp, and then either return or carry on to Kukkar Gundha.
The route is picturesque and dotted with Buransh (Rhododendron), Deodar, and Oak trees, which are found in the Dhauladhar wildlife sanctuary’s forested region.
You can visit the historic site of pilgrimage on the Hanumangarh Trek. It takes roughly 5–6 hours to get from Billing to Hanumangarh. Although the walk is short and simple, beginners may find it exhausting. Nevertheless, the view of the Dhauladhar Mountains from the trek’s vantage point makes it worthwhile.
The hike to the hot spring in TattaPani is different from the one at Shimla. If you begin the walk early enough, you can finish it in a single day (2-3 hours uphill). However, the upper reaches can become a little rocky. The only respite is a hot spring where you can take a dip because the journey is not particularly picturesque.
How to reach Bir Billing?
Taxis are the most practical mode of transportation from Dharamshala to Bir Billing. A four-seater cab will cost INR 1300 and the travel time to Bir will be just over two hours.
If you’re coming from Delhi, the journeys to Palampur and Bir-Billing by air, train, and road are almost identical.
The distance from Bir to the closest airport, Gaggal, is about 65 kilometers and takes about 2 hours to go. You can take a bus or a taxi to get there from here. In comparison to a taxi, there are direct buses from Dharamshala to Bir, however, they are substantially slower to arrive.
The distance from Bir to the closest train station, Pathankot, is 144 kilometers, or roughly 4 hours of driving. Either a bus or a cab can be used to accomplish the remaining distance.
Alternatively, those who have the extra time might take the Kangra toy railway from Pathankot to Bir. Bir is 3 km distant from Ahju, where the Kangra valley small gauge train, popularly known as the Pathankot-Jogindernagar toy train, makes a stop. It takes roughly 7 hours to travel by toy train.
From Majnu ka Tila, the Tibetan establishment in Delhi, to Tibetan Colony, buses are available on both private and public routes (lower Bir). Tickets range in price from $900 to $1300, and the journey takes 12 to 14 hours depending on the weather, traffic, and road conditions.
Bir Billing is among some of those places which will never make you feel dull and will leave no regret in your mind so this is a must-do visit if you plan to visit Himachal Pradesh during your vacation or holidays.