“There’s so much wonder in the world. If only we’d look.”
Bir-Billing was my little wonder. Ever since I returned from my Bir trip, I have been incessantly praising hymns for this place. Situated amidst the Dhauladhar ranges in Himachal Pradesh, Bir is worldwide famous for its paragliding experience and its astounding greenery. A weekend at this eco-village and I already have inexhaustible memories with unique things to do in Bir.
I have had my share of fun and adrenaline pump in Bir. Here is how you can soak all the experience and adventure in Bir-Billing:
“Once you have tasted a flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Touche. A paragliding world cup is organised every year in Bir.
How to: Sign-up with any of the adventure clubs for paragliding in Bir, who will take the whole responsibility, from taking you to Billing where the flight begins to the landing site.
Price: INR 2,500 per person.
Session: 20-30 mins
Experience: Phenomenal when you glide at an elevation of 2,430 metres.
Tip: Follow as your tandem instructs you. Also, you will be filmed on GoPro, so act cheerful and thrilled to make your video memorable.
“A bad, tiring day on a mountain bike always beats a good day in the office.” If this isn’t encouraging enough for you to leave your cubicle and drift into the mountains, then I don’t know what is.
How to: Hire the bicycles from the rental shop in Tibetan Colony.
Price: INR 500 per bike + refundable security
Session: 4 hours.
Experience: I was panting, but it was worth every breath.
Tip: If you are a rookie, ask the guy to adjust the gears of your bike to basics. Wear a proper helmet to avoid injuries.
#trekking and #camping
“It is impossible to walk in the woods and be in a bad mood at the same time.” No denying! Trekking is a nature therapy. It not only increases your endurance but also makes you a minimalist.
How to: There are various short and long trekking options available from Bir that you can opt for through the adventure clubs. You can have village walks soaking in the authentic mountain life experience. The Raj Gundha trek is a famous one.
Price: According to the length of the trek.
Session: Different treks can range from 2 days to a week.
Tip: Carry a comfortable backpack and pack light. In case you are a beginner, you can try these other trekking trails for the first timers.
“We have to acknowledge sometimes that this moment is enough. This place is enough. I am enough.” The only way you can realize that is when you spend some time in a Buddhist monastery.
How to: Monasteries in Bir are open for anyone and everyone to submerge in the spiritual experience. Sherab Ling Monastery, Chokling monastery, etc. are to name a few. Chant with monks, spend some time with them or play cricket with the little monk.
Price: Free of cost.
Session: As long as you want.
Experience: Lessons learnt in life are much more than just accomplishing some materialistic goals.
Tip: Be nice and humane with them.
Where to eat
If having pancakes on a laid back afternoon is how you want to spend the time, this is where you should be. A hearty meal in the sunshine and garden and the reggae music in the backdrop. What else can you ask for?
This German Cafe in Bir is famous so much so that you need reservations for dining here. Unfortunately, it was closed during our visit. But let me know if you happen to be in Bir and stumble upon the cafe.
Located in the upper Bir region are many cafes that serve local Tibetan food. Thukpa, Momos, Thenthuk are what you should have at the local Tibetan delis. Also have Laping, a local dish that you can find in the streets of Tibetan Colony. This local delicacy is worth a try if trying a new cuisine interests you.
How to reach
You can take a direct bus from Delhi to Baijnath that runs overnight. Bir is half an hour away from Baijnath. The private bus service from Baijnath will take you to Bir.
You can also take the route from Delhi to Mandi. There are buses running from Mandi to Bir at a good frequency.
Where to stay
In case you are going solo or with friends, you can check into backpacking hostels at Chaugan (lower Bir). The experience at a backpacking hostel is one of its kinds where you can connect with other backpackers.
If you are visiting with your family, there are a variety of good resorts and hotels in Bir that provide you a comfortable stay and astounding views of the Dhauladhar hills.
With so many things to do in Bir, it will help you check off many things from your bucket list just as it did for mine. Also, if you plan to extend the trip, you can visit Dharamshala-Mcleodganj for a hippie holiday. Do not ignore the Bir calling!