Last Updated on March 16, 2021 by Editorial Staff
For years, paragliding in India had not been a popular choice. However, recent years have seen a tremendous surge in paragliding opportunities. Bir billing paragliding is a famous adventure sports activity.
People are looking for this beautiful adventure sport that allows humans to live their most longing fantasy of flying in Bir Billing Paragliding.
Bir Billing is a small village in Himachal Pradesh – famed worldwide – for hosting the first-ever world cup of paragliding.
What exactly is paragliding and why choose paragliding in Bir billing?
If you are acquainted with the term gliding, paragliding is just about adding wings to your jump. It is a glide that uses an inflated side (nylon canopy) of an aerofoil shape–just like any other pair of wings.
Paragliders use highly portable aircraft which can be folded enough to be carried in a rucksack.
Paragliding is a thrilling sport and gives adrenaline rush like nothing else. One of the cheapest and most convenient flying styles, paragliding relies upon the pressure difference created by air currents to stay aloft.
Usually, a flier takes off from the top of a hill. However, winch is used to tow a flier into the air– as sailplanes do.
The flight is supremely controlled, extraordinarily adventurous, and completely safe provided one follows the safety guidelines.
Three primary contributing factors have made Bir Billing of Himachal Pradesh one of the best-known Paragliding sites of the world.
Best takeoff and landing sites
To take off, you need incredibly smooth winds. The takeoff site here has got incredibly stable and favorable winds for a perfect and smooth takeoff.
Landing requires a zone with minimum threats of accidents and maximum possibilities of quick help. The landing sites in Bir Billing have all such amenities.
Suitable air currents
Bir Billing is blessed with the best of the climatic conditions for paragliding. At 6 to 12 m per second of thermals in May-June, a flyer gets perfect uplift to fly up to 5000 m.
Even the springs get thermals of 4-8 meters per second. Bir Billing gets an average thermal of 5 m per second – no doubt it is one of the best places for paragliding in the world.
Ideal cloud base
Cloud base means the bottom of the cloud and is measured in meters/feet above sea level. If the valleys have a higher cloud base, one can gain more heights.
Billing has 4000-6000 meters of cloud base, and one can guess why paragliding here is one of the best and comfortable adventures.
Location of Bir Billing
It is one of the most beautiful sites of paragliding in the world. Located in the foothills of the Himalayan chain, having the potential sailing for hundreds of kilometers with a backdrop of snowy peaks rising to nearly 6000 meters!
Bir is located 530 KM North of Delhi, in the region of Himachal Pradesh.
Taking off from Billing located 14 KM away from the village is accessed by trail and offers a beautiful panorama. From the Bir Valley, most popular mountain chain is Dhauladhar ranges which will lead to Palampur (30 KM) and Dharamshala (60 KM).
Dharamshala is a place where leader and Guru of Tibetans, The Dalai Lama lives. To the East, it is a distance about 65km which will take you to Mandi. Assuming northward through deserted valleys in Manali (110 KM) that awaits you.
Types of Paragliding options available in Bir Billing
Based on your knowledge and experience, you can choose to go for either of the two kinds of Paragliding options available.
In Solo Paragliding, only one man can fly the para-glider in the air. First, he needs to go to the edge of a high sloppy hill and gear himself with all the required equipment for flying.
He needs to check the wind conditions. If the conditions are favorable, he needs to run towards the end of the sloppy hill.
For Solo Paragliding, one needs to be fully trained in Paragliding. A well-experienced pilot can be able to fly the Para-glider.
This Paragliding for those who are inexperienced and do not know how to fly with a para-glider.
It is for those who come to Bir Billing for a short time and want to enjoy the thrills of flying without needing to learn the sport. There are various types of paragliding packages available for bir billing.
In, two persons are operating with single Para-glider. For, one must be a well-trained pilot among them.
Solo Paragliding and Tandem Paragliding in Bir Billing are divided into three subtypes based on how long you want to opt to fly. These three options are
- SHORT FLYING
A visitor who has a short time and wants to make paragliding in Bir-Billing can do short flying from the valley.
Duration of Flight: 10 to 20 minutes.
- MEDIUM FLYING
It takes you to an another level of thrill and excitement.
Duration of Flight: 25 to 35 minutes.
- LONG FLYING
Long flying is the Ultimate paragliding at Billing. Long flights are recommended for people looking for ultimate in-flight and adventure. It depends upon weather condition.
Duration of Flight: 35 to One Hour.
The paragliding take-off site is located at 2500 meters above sea level. It is a beautiful grassy dome, accessible to anyone without any problem (a single road for two-wheeler and four-wheeler motor vehicles), which allows you to take off without much effort.
The landing site is located in village Keori and on the edge of Tibetan Colony. The landing site lies alongside with Chougan-Kaori Road. It’s a quite bright and wide open ground with green grass and lots of fields around it with very few trees.
Cost of Paragliding in Bir Billing
Rates vary on the duration of the flying. The flying itinerary is subject to change on weather condition or exceptional circumstances.
The average price for paragliding in Bir Billing is INR 2500 for approx 15 to 30 Min Flight. But this price is different paragliding service provider.
Best time for paragliding in Bir Billing
Although, it can be visited all through the year, March to May and October – November are best season for paragliding due to better thermal conditions.
Summer is the best time to visit Bir billing for paragliding with your family and friends.
How to reach Bir Billing
The closest airport to Bir is Dharamshala airport, which is actually in Gaggal, about 30-45 minutes south of Dharamshala.
Flights between Delhi and Dharamshala (Gaggal Airport in Kangra) have been suspended, but may be resumed at some point so check with your travel agent or travel websites.
If your flight does manage to reach Dharamshala airport, you can make the onward journey from there to Bir by bus or taxi.
Option 1 – Train to Pathankot + bus/taxi onward to Bir: The most common way to travel to Bir by train is to take a train from Delhi (or wherever your origin maybe) to Pathankot/Chakki Bank) and then make the rest of the journey to Bir by bus (6-8 hours) or taxi (4-5 hours).
Option 2 – Train to Pathankot + toy train onward to Bir. There is a charming little toy train that leaves every morning from Pathankot to Anju, 3km from Bir (below the Bir Road intersection).
Most overnight trains from Delhi (when running on time) reach Pathankot approximately an hour before the toy train leaves, so the connection is doable unless your train from Delhi is quite late.
The toy train is an excellent for some but not for everyone. The toy train ride is long (around seven hours), as slow as a glacier, and often crowded.
Bir is about 12-14 hours from Delhi by bus. From the Inter-state Bus Terminal (ISBT), take a bus to either Baijnath or Bir. There are two overnight buses from Delhi to Baijnath, both of which depart mid-evening and arrive early morning.
From Pathankot/Chakki Bank:
Jump on any bus heading for Dharamshala, Kangra, Palampur, Baijnath, Mandi, Manali, or Shimla, and then refer to the notes for Dharamshala and Baijnath below.
Bir is about four or five hours from Dharamshala by bus, depending on the timing of coaches and the number of connections. There are three ways to travel from Dharamshala to Bir by bus, listed here starting with the most convenient:
There are two daily direct buses to Bir Road/Upper Bir leaving at 6:00 am & 2:00 pm from the bus station in (lower) Dharamshala. Alternatively, you can take a direct bus from Dharamshala to Baijnath, and from there continue onward to Bir either by local bus or by taxi.
If your bus terminates at Baijnath, you then have the option of traveling the last leg to Bir (20-30 minutes) either by bus or by taxi (about Rs 250).
Taxi is the fastest and most convenient way of getting to Bir from Pathankot or Dharamshala, but it is also by far the most expensive and the least eco-friendly, so if you come by car, please consider sharing the ride with others.
Places to stay in and around Bir Billing
- Bir Camps – Bunhla Marhola, village gunner p.o. by the baijnath,distt, Bir, Himachal Pradesh 176077
- Monkey Mud Hostel & Adventure Camps
- Siddhartha Greens, Bir Billing Rd,
- The Hosteller, Bir Colony, Chogan
- Shivirama, Plot No – 505, Village Gharnala, Post Office Bir, The Baijnath
- The Sky Village, Bir-Billing Rd, Billing
- Tatva Bir Resorts, Village & PO – Bir, Tehsil – Baijnath, Kangra
Things to do and places to visit in Bir Billing
Explore the art of film making at the Himalayan Film School
Are you a movie buff? Well, even if you aren’t we are sure you will appreciate the different and unique film festivals and movie-making workshops that are conducted by the Himalayan Film School and qualifies as one of the must-have experiences in Bir Billing.
See the lifestyle of a monk at Drukpa Kagyu Monastery
Another great place to visit is the Drugkpa Kagyu Monastery in Tashijong which is also a resident for the Buddhist monks. It was established by the 8thKhamtrul Rinpoche and houses approximately 140 monks.
Take an idle walkthrough Tashijong
There is more than one Tibetan settlement in Bir. While the Tibetan colony is one, the other one is Tashijong. It holds an extensive Tibetan community of about 400 people in total.
Stroll through the Chowgan Tea Garden
Once you reach Bir, you will observe an endless number of tea gardens spanning across the horizons of the village. Take an appreciative stroll on the Chowgan tea gardens and inhale the freshness of Bir.
Click a few pictures as you leisure walk along the Bir River
Make time to take a leisure walk by the Bir River as well. There are beautiful waterfalls and river pools that you will surely enjoy spending time.
Take a short hike to Gunehar
Gunehar is a quaint village tucked away in the hills of the Kangra Valley. A short day hike will lead you to a waterfall, which is at a height of 100ft. I couldn’t visit the waterfall but went up to the bridge below which there is a stream.
Walking amidst the lush terraced fields and getting a glimpse of the village life are the best parts of this hike, apart from the gorgeous waterfalls itself.
Trek through the forest trails of Dharmalaya
Be sure to take a guide with you especially with this one cause you may actually get lost while exploring the beauty of nature at Birr’s nearby Dharmalaya forest area.
Try learning a bit more about Philosophy at The Dzongar institute
Dzongsar institute is located near Chauntra. You will not find much difficulty locating this place. You can enroll for short term courses in philosophical studies. The Dzongar institute inhabits almost 600 monks.
Take a long-distance hike to Gornala
You may actually want to consider going on a long trek which starts in Bir and goes all the way to Ghornala and Manali. It will be an experience of your lifetime, to say the least.
Shop at the Bir Road
The market area of Bir is famous for its numerous and varied range of stuff that you can shop from.
It is supposedly the busiest place of the town which sprawls with several shops during the morning and early evening hours. Locals of the area run these shops, and it serves as a mean of income for them.
Try Hand Gliding
Before paragliding was introduced, Bir Billing was known for the sport of hang gliding. It is equally exciting and adventurous as paragliding. Every year the locals of the place and adventure enthusiasts organize an event of hand gliding at Bir.
Ride the Toy Train of Bir Billing
Traveling around the small and beautiful town in a toy train is one of the best parts to be in Bir Billing. A 30 minutes ride on a toy train allows you to witness the breathtaking beauty of the town, which is collaged by the Himalayas.
Instead of a hotel, stay at a camping site
If you want to enjoy the untouched beauty of the place, go camping. It is a spiritual experience that is beautiful way beyond words can express it.
Camp Oak view in Bir helps you to enjoy an explicit knowledge of camping. It is situated at a distance of 3 km from the town of Bir.
Drop by at the Deer Park Institute
The institute located at Kangra offers various programs and courses on meditation, philosophy, art, and culture. It is rich in displaying the cultural enthusiasm of the place which is filled with Buddhist culture.
Every corner of the site with the big painted stones oozes out the rich heritage of the Buddhist cultural history.
Check out the Chokling Monastery
The Chokling Monastery is situated in Bir and is the epitome of beauty and cultural abundance.
A short visit inside the premises of this monastery is sure to leave you to be spellbound and will enhance your yearning to go to the city and reside here amidst the peaceful ambiance.
See a new world at Dharmalaya Institute
This is a charitable organization which is devoted to education and empowerment for compassionate and peaceful living.
It is an eco-campus which offers numerous environmental programs which teaches about the conservation of the environment and how to safeguard it from any disaster. It is located at a distance of 4kms from Bir Bazar.
Visit the Serab Ling Monastery
Sherab Ling Monastery is highly famous because of the meditation courses that it offers to the tourists as well as to the local people. The monastery is surrounded by beautiful clusters of colorful flowers and lush greenery, which adds to the flamboyance of the place.
Try Tea tasting at Bir Tea Factory
The slopes and the hilly region is perfectly apt for tea manufacture. Varied kinds of tea are grown and are processed under particular conditions in the Bir Tea factory. It is famous for organic tea plantation.
It is also a visual treat to the tourists visiting Bir to look at the slopes nurturing the tea plantations and women and young girls in rows plucking them with the enormous baskets tied to their heads.
Take a walk through the Tibetan Colony of Bir
Established in the early 1960s It is a Tibetan refugee settlement in the Himalayan village of Chowgan. It is situated on the outskirts of the town of Bir. It was established after the exile of Dalai Lama and other refugees from the land of Tibet.
See the ancient inscriptions of the walls of Bajinath Temple
Located in Bajinath at a distance of 50 KM from Kangra, this temple is a sheer spectacle. History says the temple was constructed in the prehistoric era of 1204 AD and has been continually taken care of by several different devotees since then.
There are long inscriptions on the walls of the temple which are now almost ineligible but bear testimony to the historical glory of the temple.
Last but not the least try Acupuncture
If you experiencing back pains or sprains due to those long adventurous journeys, Dr. Norbu is the man for you.
He will make the pain disappear within minutes using traditional methods of acupuncture and moxabustion. He is located right around the corner of the Tibetan Colony market.
Some Travel and Safety Tips to follow while paragliding in Bir Billing
- Don’t forget to sign the Risk Certificate.
- You should be mentally and physically fit for Paragliding. You have to face the forces up-to 5Gs (Gravitational Forces) during flight.
- Wear proper clothes, shoes and wear the helmet all the time during the flight till Landing.
- Everything before take-off.
- Check your harness and helmet.
- If anything loose or broken.
- Don’t take an any expensive thing or other stuff (which is not necessary) with you during flight.
- Put your electronics, wallet, or any other expensive thing in a zipped pocket.
- Check for safety parachute, also known as “Reserve.“ Each Tandem para-glider carry one “Reserve” with it under the seat of pilot.
- Always fly with well-experienced paragliding pilot. Ask your pilot or paragliding service provider for paragliding License.
- Watch out for weather condition. Do what your instructor or pilot says. Never force your pilot to fly on bad weather condition.
- During any emergency, keep calm and do not panic. What your pilot or instructor says. If you do not feel good during the flight, ask your pilot to land you as soon as possible.
Paragliding Courses Available in Bir Billing
In Bir Billing, apart from the Tandem Flying, you can take the Paragliding Courses (P1, P2, and P3) to learn how to fly solo.
Usually, the entire duration of the three courses is 15-20 days. And once you have completed it, you get a Course Completion Certification which you can use for Solo Flying.
This certification is valid in a few countries but if you want to paraglide in some other country, you will need to apply for a license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the Paragliding Courses that you would need to complete to be eligible for Solo flying.
P1+P2 Paragliding Pilot Course
This is the basic course that you need to complete to be eligible for your first solo flight. In this course, first you will perform ground training. Once you have mastered it then you will move to flight training.
This course will cover basics like canopy handling, inflation, stabilization of the wing, take-off practice, how to make turns, how to land, and so on.
Duration: 6-8 days (Depending on the weather conditions)
Cost: 20,000 INR – 25,000 INR
P3 Paragliding Advanced Course
Once you have completed your P1 and P2 paragliding courses then you are eligible for the P3 Advanced Course. In this course, you will learn Advanced Flying techniques.
This course will cover advanced launch techniques, Soaring Flights, 360-degree turns, top landings, planned approaches, and so on. Once you have completed your P3 Certification, you can start Solo Flying anywhere in India.
Duration: 5-7 days (Depending on the Weather Conditions)
Cost: 15,000 INR – 20,000 INR