Scenic landscapes, towering mountains, and panoramic views are just some reasons to visit Nort India. Himachal Pradesh in North India is one of the most beautiful, diverse and tourist-friendly states. While you can always just have a laidback holiday and soak in the marvelous views, Himachal Pradesh also has some major adventure offerings for the sports-loving tourist. Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh is at the center of it all.
How did it get its name?
Originally known as Bir, the village is now often referred to as ‘Bir Billing’ because Billing is the takeoff site for the paragliders while Bir is the landing site.
Ruled by Indian kings and emperors, Bir was later taken over by Tibetan Buddhist settlers. They purchased land and eventually moved to Bir. A monastery was soon built and monks were educated there to help support Tibetans and spread the Buddhist faith in the region. The monastery still thrives today with 120 monks studying, praying and practicing their faith peacefully. The Pema Ewam Chogar Gyurme Ling Monastery welcomes tourists and locals alike.
There are many other monasteries in the region too practicing under different monks and keeping the faith alive.
The best time to visit Bir Billing is between March-May and October-November thanks to its warm and wonderful climate during those months.
Bir Billing is fairly accessible thanks to the numerous sports activities for tourists. Travelers and tourists can catch a bus from Dharamshala to Bir Road. Tourists can also find buses running to Bir Colony from Delhi ISBT (Inter-State Bus Terminal).
If you prefer trains, you will have to travel from Delhi to Pathankot and then Pathankot to Ajhu. Bir Billing is situated around 3 kilometers away from Ajhu. The Pathankot to Ahju part of the train journey is on a toy train, a smaller version of the train and travelers can avail picturesque views and wonderful weather.
Things to Do-
Paragliding- It would be remiss to come to Bir Billing, a village famed for paragliding and not do paragliding!
Popular all over the country as the ‘paragliding capital’ of India, you will find different companies and stores offering packages for paragliding. Pick one based on your convenience and budget.
Camping- Tourists and backpackers swear that camping in Bir Billing is an unforgettable experience. Set tent out in the mountains while the stars and streaming lakes provide you company. It’s an added benefit that all camping in Bir Billing is sustainable and leaves no environmental damage to the local fauna and flora.
Hang gliding- A different take on gliding, hang (or hand) gliding is equally popular in Bir Billing. It requires more precision and focus than paragliding so practice as much as you can before actually trying the sport. You will also find experienced and patient instructors here. Tourists of all ages can practice and take part in this fun activity.
Hiking-Bir Billing has access to leafy, thick forests and lovely streams with mountains securing the view. Hikers and trekkers often find the small yet challenging hikes and trails a fresh breath of air compared to the many crowded treks in North India overrun by tourists.
Shop, eat and relax- Shop for local knick-knacks and souvenirs in the Chauntra market. Savor local and regional delicacies in the restaurants located in monasteries or sold by street vendors. You can walk around, visit all the monasteries. Eager tourists can even teach for free to students in Bir Billing. Environment-friendly people can always learn more about the sustainable methods used by residents and locals here.
Featured Photo by fredibach