Bir Billing Paragliding in India. We trekked and paraglided.

posted in: Travel, Trek | 49
View of Paragliding from Bir ground
View of Paragliding at BIR BILLING

Bir Billing Paragliding in Himachal Pradesh India:

Bir Billing here I come to fly…

I believe I can fly

I believe I can touch the sky

I think about it every night and day

Spread my wings and fly away. I believe I can fly.

-R Kelly.

I am still humming this as I remember my paragliding experience in Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh, India. Taking you back to memories….

 Bir Billing

…… Holi a celebration of Color, also means holidays. Specially for the business community, it’s a long holiday in Amritsar. So in March 2014  we planned a trip to Bir Billing valley for paragliding and trek.
It began with exploring options of Trek in Himachal Pradesh, India, was the obvious choice. But somewhere it seemed banal, so to add spice to the trip, we wanted to add some tadka ( implies adding extra spice, as add-on Indian Lentils) of adventure to the entire plan. We decided to go to Bir in Himachal Pradesh , from there trek to Billing the jumping point for para gliders. Yessss we have to climb to 9000 ft and jump back to 5500 Ft. It’s a easy trek, but adding Paragliding, was a call for action for First timer friend of mine.The group said what the hell… how would we do it??? To make it simpler, I said, “One way of your route is taken care of, So you have to climb only one way and come back doing base flying”. Somehow with trembling feet (not shown to me though) and murmuring hearts all agreed to take the plunge.
Excitement began……. woo..hoo ! Here we go…Bir Billing paragliding trip had begun.
View of landing at Bir village at the end of Paragliding
Landing at Bir Ground

INTRODUCTION:

Bir Billing: Bir is a small town amid mountains of Dhauladhar range of Himalayas, India and Billing is the jumping point at altitude of 9000 Ft. Para Glider jumps from Billing to land at Bir. Bir- Billing have become quite popular among adventure sports enthusiast as it offers a beautiful natural paragliding spot, favorable weather and wind along with green meadows. The place offer natural jump point at Billing and a plain landing spot at Bir and Chaughan village.

Bir was inhabited by Tibetan refugee  in the year 1960 following the exile of Dalai lama from Tibet. The area offers two beautiful monasteries and tea gardens to explore.

view of Bir billing valley Himachal pradesh India
View from Bir

ORIENTATION:

Bir is situated in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh India in Baijnath region. Bir can be reached by road or train. It is 50 km drive from Dharamshala and is the next stop to Baijnath.Two to three hours drive from Dharmashala and Four to five hours drive from Pathankot via Gagal, Palampur and Baijnath. One can take Bus from Pathankot towards Jogindernagar or Mandi and get down at Bir. Taxi can also be booked from Pathankot.

It can also be reached by toy train that runs between Pathankot & Joginder Nagar. The nearest railway station is Ahju.
On the north of Bir is Billing, a 14 km drive. It has Dharamshala towards the west and towards its North east is Manali. Billing lies on the way to the Thamsar Pass leading to Bara Bhangal.

Map of Bir Billing :

 Directions to reach Bir from Pathankot:

(Note: Direction from Delhi to Bir can be found by clicking the map below.)

CLIMATE & CLOTHING:

Bir being in plains enjoys a moderate climate. In summer it can be comfortable without woolen cloths but in winter it gets cold.

Where as Billing is very windy round the year and wind cheater and warm cloths are must.

TREK TO BILLING:

I and my friends started the trek from Bir village.I prefer to start early in the morning as sun can be seen in varied shades.  It was festival of Holi so the day began with some color splash at the village of Bir.

The trek route is toward the north-east side of the village. Billing is easily reachable by motor but we all decided to enjoy the nature and trek to the top where we all were suppose to take a flight back. The trek starts through rough forest and cross rather direct the main road four times. The route is clean and easy. The route can be covered in 4-5 hours and terrain is not difficult. Though there is section where climb is steep and strenuous.

trek to Billing for paragliding
Enroute to Billing

 

View at Billing top after trek. Bir Billing paragliding.
trekking to the top:Billing.

The trek traverse through beautiful trees and flowers. On reaching the top its a satisfying feeling to have reached to see some really spectacular views..

CAMPING AT BILLING:

We reached Billing by afternoon . Setup our camp and managed wood for the fire.( Pl do carry extra garbage bag, not to litter around and leave the place clean)  Soon the sun was going to set and the sky showed some marvelous light pattern welcoming us to the World’s second highest paragliding point, a delight for amateur photographers. I took some pictures of the valley and the sun set. We took help from the local guys for cooking dinner at night.All of us were tired after the trek we rested for a while, and soon lit the Bon Fire. As expected hot food with warm campfire and some soulful songs made a memorable combination.

After sumptuous food we retired in our respective tents preparing our self for the big day for the Paragliding.

Sunset view at Billing.
Sun set from Billing. Bir Billing paragliding Sunset from Billing (Photography while on Bir Billing Paragliding)

Below are some pictures taken by me from Billing camp site during Bir Billing paragliding trip.

View of Bir valley from Billing top
View of Bir Valley from Billing camp site
Shepherd hut at Billing top on our paragliding trip
Shining moon and beneath is the Shepherd hut at Billing summit
Tent camp site at Billing Himachal India before Paragliding
Tent camp site at Billing
View of Take off site for Paragliding at Billing.
Take off point at Billing. Night Shot

THE PARAGLIDING:

The main day for Bir Billing paragliding had come. We got up early in morning. There were no toilets though so it was all in all a Nature walk amid the bushes.

Finally, after a sumptuous breakfast we were good to go.

As shared, Billing is world’s second highest natural Para Gliding spot. The flight takes 25 to 30 mins depending on the wind and weather conditions. The flight starts from meadows of Billing and finish at Bir plains.

The group was nervous as the wind was strong and the height from which the jump was to be taken was quite an elevation ( 9000 Ft from sea level, and approx 4500 Ft from Bir). Though there was apparent excitement besides the fear. Every body was trying to overcome the fear of jump into an unknown deep valley. Some body was making the seemingly last phone call to home and somebody was reading the Hanuman chalisa ( Hindu Hyms for Protection from evil in name of Lord Hanuman) to gain strength. The advertisement of Mountain Dew soft drink was going in many heads saying DARR KE AAGE JEET HAI ( victory lies beyond fear)

The preferred weight for the gliding person should be between 45 – 85 Kgs and minimum age is 14 years officially. We had arranged co pilots prior to jump.The person weighing the most was asked to take the first jump. We all were made wear helmets to our size and a briefing was done by the instructor.

There are few good pilots and adventure companies available to hire the equipment from Bir village.But one must be careful in selecting. Do talk to them in length to ascertain their capabilities. The average cost per person for a single assisted flight is approximately Rs 1500/- to Rs.2500/-(depending on season and instructor). the booking can be done on the spot at Bir village and the advisory from government asks to check the operator license before engaging them. Though there is no formal arrangement available at the sight to verify the details. Being from Army I carried my own check consisting of checking condition of parachute, strings, Harness, helmet and a small interaction with the co pilot and it was I me and vision of sky unlimited.

I was second in queue. The take off has series of action. The parachute has to be played at the back fully spread and strings need to be checked for entanglement. Once done the occupant has run along with parachute at a certain speed raising the parachute to the air and once fully inflated parachute the air takes over the control taking the occupant into flight mode with gaining of altitude initially. I had a missed take off bringing me to ground after an attempt to run . The second attempt took me to sky and a gush of air took the parachute and myself to a reasonably good height. I could see the take off spot below as I was stuck in an air bout which resulted in gaining of height instead of descent. The phenomenon is called thermal. Its a stream of hot air which take the paragliders to a height raising the altitude instead of losing it.The experience was mind-boggling as you are suspended in air with no visual distraction towards the valley below. The moment you see down you realize there is nothing to stop you in case of fall. But the experience was so enthralling that soon you forget your fear and get enchanted to the view below and ahead. After few minutes in flight and getting accustomed to the new environment I took out my mobile and shot a video. I have shared the video below.

The Air journey Billing to Bir while paragliding can be smooth or at times rough depending on wind conditions. One has to  overcome self, fear and just enjoy the breath-taking view of Himalayas while in air suspended with strings to a parachute. Bir Billing paragliding is an experience to be a part of your Bucket List and as things to do before you die.

I had a smooth landing at Bir grounds and en route the Chokling monastery , Chaugham Bir village  and NH 20 can be distinctly seen. I had taken a video with my personal mobile which I am sharing. Also there is a photographer present at the landing point who takes the shots for you and the images can be bought for Rs 150 from him. There is also a facility by the paragliders agent to shoot a video while in flight using their equipment along with a selfie stick for price of Rs 500/-

View of take off from Billing to Bir ground
Take off from Billing
View of Paraglider ready for Jump at Billing
Paraglider ready for Jump at Billing during Bir Billing Paragliing
paraglider landing view at Bir
landing site Bir during our Bir Billing Trip
Paraglider picked up from Bir ground after paragliding
Paraglider picked up from Bir ground

THE FLIGHT:

Below is the video shot by me during Bir Billing Paragliding trip using a  personal mobile.

MID AIR EXPERIENCE- (Bir Billing Paragliding)

LANDING- ((Bir Billing Paragliding)

Paragliding Flight:

There are primary two types of Paragliding flights Solo flight and Tandem flight. Both are done in Bir Billing. In 2015 Bir Billing hosted Paragliding World cup and various Pilots  from the world came to participate and show their  Paragliding skills.

Solo Paragliding:

As the name suggests, It is done solo and the Pilots alone Paraglides with total control in his hands. It is a specialised format and needs a formal training before a Pilot take to solo flights. The knowledge of air dynamics and wind is neccessary. Solo pilots come to Bir Billing to experience the best Paragliding spot in India.

Tandem Paragliding:

Tandem flight is the one in which two people hangs from the Parachutes together. The Trained Pilot is at the back and the second person/guest just sits along with him. The control of the parachute is totally with the trained Pilot at the back and the second person at the front can enjoy the flight and can take pictures. It is most recommended type of flight for guest or untrained people who like to experience Paragliding. Bir Billing has lots of Pilots conducting Tandem flight. The flight is totally safe and requires almost no effort by the guest. The guest just need to help Pilot run during take off along with the parachute nd  Ofcourse he has to win over his fear of height as it says….Darrr Ke Aage Jeet Hai…

PLACES AROUND BIR:

Bir Billing offer good camping and trekking activity besides Paragliding. Apart from trek from Bir to Billing and camping at Billing overnight, followed by the para gliding, we also went around to see few interesting places in and around Bir.

1. Chokling Gompa : Chokling Gompa is the monastery of Neten Chokling Rinpoche, a reincarnate lama in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

2. The Bir Tea factory.

3. The Dear Park Institute.

4.The Dharmalaya Institute 

View of monastery at BIR Billing India
Monastry in Bir we visited during Bir Billing trip
Chokling monastry Bir Billing India
Chokling Monastry Bir billing

 

ITINERARY:

We followed the below mentioned Itinerary for our trip to Bir Billing Paragliding.

Day 1-Bir Billing Paragliding: Amritsar to Bir. Drive time 7-8 hrs.Stay overnight at Bir.

Day 2-Bir Billing Paragliding: Trek to Billing, 5-6 hrs of trek Over night stay in tents at Billing Campsite.

Day 3-Bir Billing Paragliding: paragliding from Billing, (30 min) Landing at Bir, and visit around Bir. Stay Overnight at Bir.

Day  Billing Paragliding: Bir to Amritsar.

The itinerary for Bir Billing Paragliding can be truncated as per individual need.  Bir can be reached by over night bus or Taxi from Delhi.

One can also take taxi from . I would suggest to spend time and explore nature during your trip to Bir Billing paragliding..

FACTS & TIPS  ABOUT BIR BILLING PARAGLIDING:

Bir Billing can be enjoyed if you keep time in your hand. The area can be explored for eco tourism. The village has tea plantation and the morning view can be enjoyed at Bir.
Bir conducts regular World Paragliding championship in month of April.
BEST TIME:  March to May ( Before Monsoon ) and September to November.
HOTELS & STAY at Bir Billing: Bir has lots of small guest house and two reasonable good hotel. The travel agent will allure you to go to a big hotel but I would suggest go for guest house as this way you can know people. I personally recommend Blue Umbrella guest house. The stay is comfortable and rooms are quite clean. A good stay overnight will cost you around Rs 1000/-
PARAGLIDING: Paragliding at Bir Billing can be tied up with various operator available from Bir village. They are reasonable and cost you as per season. Approximately 1500-2000 Rs per flight. If you are not interested in trekking then the operator take you to Billing in their Jeep so need not worry for transport.
Word of Caution : The Pilots and co pilots do have license but it is not possible to differentiate between non holder and holder as there is no formal way by govt to check. You have go with you gut feel only. Engage them in talk to ascertain their proficiency level and you will get some idea.
Important No: Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Himachal Pradesh, Block No.
28, SDA Complex, itinan, Shimla-171009
Phone No: 0177-2625864 (Telefax), 2623959, 2625511 (Telefax)
E. mail: tourismmin-hp@nic.in
Website: http://himachaltourism.nic.in
WIKIPEDIA: Bir Billing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bir,_Himachal_Pradesh#cite_note-5

THE STORY:

What happens……..when you see the bike you bought long ago with so much fervor, has rusted….. The same bike which you used to wash yourself when it was new and even a scratch on it was like bleeding from your heart…. Realization embark upon you that you are no more in your twenties and gradually Salt has started to show in your hair. As a result of this life changing incident ( seeing of the rusted bike), you reincarnate into an adventurous mode, wanting to reclaim your youthful spirit !!!! You start searching all the available sources of info,Lonely planet books, Internet, calling up mountaineering relatives, watching adventurous movies and finally you plan a trip for trekking and allied adventure activities. You go and ask your friends about the idea….and under the influence of intoxication of movie’ Zindagi milegi na doobara’ and couple of pints of beer, all become rearing to go.
 THEY ALL SAY YESSSSS!
 But the scene moves…..
On the top of the hill, harness tied to your body, landing in long distant sight….. your legs tremble! they just don’t lift up! One friend takes out his phone to call up his wife, to tell her how much he loves her ( on all the way up trek, he was calling her by all possible names), other one is chanting the Hanuman Chalisa, yet another one is still jogging around to show what a fitness freak he is ( heart in heart trying to over come the fear).!
And then with only your heartbeat audible, you jump to rise in the air! you feel frightened, but no more…..a vastness takes you over…all around…..
You are born with wings…all You had to do was FLY !
My Other Interesting Post in the area:

FINAL WORDS ON BIR BILLING PARAGLIDING:

Bir billing is best place in  India for paragliding. It offer 25-30 Min of Paragliding flight with good stay at Bir town. It has the laurel of second highest natural para jumping spot in the world. Its overnight weekend destination from New Delhi and other places from North India and must TO DO sport in your lifetime.
NOTE; If you have a query on Bir Billing Paragliding, do contact me or leave a comments. I will be more than happy to help you in all ways.
.
Group of more than 10 person can call me at my mobile and I can arrange things for them and if required I can accompany you for the trip as Adventure Travelling is my Soul Searcher and I can go beyond the lines for it.
Contact Me at Veren +91 9915677660

Follow Veren Mitter:

A relentless Traveler and a Landscape photographer, has many interest in ambit of Exploration and finding Happiness: A Short Walk down the trail, A night lying on the barren Helipad and counting stars, A car drive with friends down the Muddy road, Coal Burnt hot corn in rain under a thatched hut, A paraglide from the world’s second highest jumping spot, or finding his own Cleopatra while walking through the mummies, are only some of the recreational activities, I indulge in. A keen explorer, with tadka of Adventure, I am a foodie at heart and passionate about Photography. I live in Amritsar. I hail from Army family and have gone through the rigours of Army Officer training myself. Travelling and meeting people have been always a part of life, which I thoroughly enjoy. A keen adventurer myself, I have been organizing adventure tours for friends. As I always say its a long road and exploration should never stop.

49 Responses

  1. This is the aventure one must experience in life once……the way this experience has ben worded makes me feel like planning an adventure trip soon…..

  2. Hey Veren, it’s good to know you had a great experience. Would you suggest a solo female travel to bir for para gliding? Thanks

    • Hello Monica. Yes indeed you can make a solo plan to Bir. It is safe for female and you can plan paragliding trip in season so as to avoid unreasonable cost. Stay at Bir and ask a operator to manage your paragliding at Billing with all logistics included.Let me know if I can be of any help.

  3. nice bir billing guide

  4. dr arunesh arora

    nice blog viren,quite helpful and colourful picture by picture explanation.!!
    thanx for clearing many of my doubts about bir billing, ..!!! got ur text about the guest house also,,!! thanx for the response dude!!
    take care

    • Thanks Dr Arunesh. I am sure Bir Billing paragliding experience would be fun. Do share your experience of Bir here. Regards

  5. Sweta Patel

    Hi Veren. It was an informative read and got me inspired to go for Paragliding 🙂
    Need your suggestion on following
    1. Can it be done between 24th to 28th June?
    2. Suggest me convenient way to reach bir-billing frm New Delhi. How long it takes and cost.
    3. Can you suggest specific paragliding company which is professional. Or tour package with accommodation.

    Looking forward to hear frm you.

    Thank you
    Sweta Patel

    • Hi Sweta, Thanks for the encouraging words.
      1 Yes Paragliding in Bir Billing can be done on 24 to 28 June. The only thing that stop paragliding is weather and wind. If it rains or cloudy the paragliding will not be conducted and its not at all safe. so go ahead and leave it to weather god.
      2. Best way to reach Bir Billing is take a overnight train/bus from Delhi to Pathankot and hire a taxi/ Bus To Bir via Palampur. If coming by car from Delhi refer the this google map link. https://goo.gl/maps/71Caq
      3. Their are couple of operators in the Bir and can be booked on the spot. I recomend Mr Jyoti Thakur for a good and safe paragliding.You can refer my name to him and he will ensure good experience and safety. If you want me to book a package for you do let me know on my mobile no. mentioned at the bottom of the site.
      Have a great adventure at Bir Billing and do share your experience here with us. Do let me know for any assistance if required.
      regards
      Veren

  6. great information about bir billing place.Thanks for sharing

  7. Hi Veren, It was so interesting to read out and getting the ideas from you
    Please tell me, Is their any places that i can visit in BIR?
    Istead of trek what should i do
    I think 3 days trip is more than enough.

    Regards
    Aarzoo

    • Hi. Good to hear like the post. Bir has interesting monasteries around. I have mentioned in my post. you can visit the two monasteries and can also visit Baijnath mandir enroute. Palampur is in proximity you can visit tea gardens and estate in palampur. Have a leisure and enthralling holidays.
      Regards
      Veren

  8. Hello
    For the campsite, did you take up your own tents or could you rent equipment over there itself? Or did you go with a tour package?

    • Hi. We carried our own tent. Only do it if you have previous camping experience. You can get local guys to setup tent camp for you from bit. Billing does not have anything.

    • we cary our own camping equipment. bir billing do offer operators you can fetch one from bir. thanks

  9. Bir Billing is certainly a nice place for paragliding throughout the year except for rainy season. Along with paragliding there are many other adventure activities held here such as camping, trekking, river crossing, fishing etc..

  10. great information

  11. sandeep sharma

    Hey, we 4 in a group are planning to go to do paragliding. As i am from kangra only, so everything else is not a concern for me. Just need to know the paragliding cost and everything regarding it.

    • Bir Billing has various operators for paragliding. It varies from seasons to operator. starting from 1500/- to 3000?- for a flight.
      Go Profesional trained pilot and good parachute. Happy Paragliding in Bir Billing to you.

  12. Hi Veren, glad to hear your story. Planning one soon. However, can i also to dharamshala for a 2 day trip to Bir?

    • Thanks, bir billing can be easily clubbed with dharamshala visit. Prefer reaching bir billing early do the paragliding and move ahead. For two days itinerary I have mentioned places to see around bir. Check that. Regards Veren

  13. Hi Veren Mitter,
    you have provided nice information over here. There are many sites in Himachal for paragliding but Bir Billing is certainly the best among them due to its geographical nature. Also the weather remain awesome throughout the year. Wish you will visit Bir Billing again with your friends and family.
    All the very best. keep writing.

  14. The heart where want to fly ,come to billing sky…..
    we do welcome in India ,that has fallen in South Asia

  15. Hi Veren,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your wonderful experience with us. I am in Amritsar ,planning for the same trip.I have learnt too many things from your experience and hope it will come worthy when I would reach at Bir.

    Best Regards
    Ajay Anand
    http://www.ctgsecuritysolutions.com

  16. Hi Veren, I’m planning to go to Bir Billing this Nov. As you mentioned in your post, the bookings can be done on the spot. Can you let me know where can it be done once we are there? We are coming by car from Chandigarh. Do you have anyone’s contact no from the Paragliding team. Would be really helpful.

    • You can talk to operators available in bir. Do check the professional experience of operator’s. Bir Billing has lot of uncertified authorised pilot functional in the region. Have a safe paragliding.

  17. Hie veren..as u mentioned, your friend was trying to call his wife. Is call connectivity there at the camping site in billing? Plzz reply asap

    • Lol… Billing has network but not reliable. It keep fluctuating as per wind n climate. Bir has stable network. Have a safe paragliding.

  18. Hi veren … I am planning to go to Bir Billing this December on 26 .. with my friends and I want to know

    Can we do paragliding in bir during December
    Please reply asap …..

    • Thanks and my apologies for replying late as i was travelling and could check your comment.So how was your experience of paragliding in bir billing?

  19. Hi Veren,

    Great post! I’m planning the trip in Feb 2017. I’m hoping the weather sides us. Please do comment.

    Also, I will have to leave all my bags and belongings in Bir, when I goto paraglide from Billing right? Which means I carry bare necessities to Billing and camp there.

    • Thanks. yes you need to put your bags at Bir. you can always keep it with the operator or the paragliding agent office while starting for billing.The weather is subject to wind and other climatic conditions. its too early to comment right now. you can check for paragliding in February.

  20. Hi,

    We are a group of 3 people (2 male and 1 female) and are planning a trip for 25 and 26 Mar. Is it possible to get camping equipment from the camping and trekking operators we get the package from over there? What about morning sanitary requirements at the Billing summit? Is there any setup for that?

    • Thanks for Comment and I apologies for not reply on time. Bir Billing has enough of tour operators offering tents and equipment. But if you are not experienced in camping I would not suggest you to camp here. The place doe not offer any sanitation and toilets for morning call. You have to find a place in open to relieve your self.Bir Billing is best for paragliding and unorganised camping at Billing. Regards Veren

  21. Bir Himachal

    thanks Veren for sharing information to all over the world. Bir Billing have much potential but less discovered and promoted. Thanks for your valuable effort.

    • Thanks for the comment. Bir Billing will always be my favourite place in Himachal Pradesh for weekend destinations and getaways.

  22. it was a great experience , paragliding initial moments were scary but after that thrill there is a great feeling of falling from sky.
    The pilots are cooperative and pleasant. The only thing I experienced that the flight takes about 20 mins to land, some times due to more number of customers the landing is done with in 10 mins. So this part of business must be taken cared of.
    Its a great site to fly and memorable experience.
    @veeren : thanks for helping me aligning with the pilots

  23. Vinay Thakur

    I guess Bir to Billing should take just max 2 hours, usually one hour is enough for a physically fit person. You must have gone through the road instead for short Cut path. Anyways it’s good to go by foot instead of using the car if you really want to feel the nature.

    Thanks
    Vinay Thakur

  24. Avijit Paul

    I have few question
    1.Can i visit in the first week of December ?
    2.How will be the scenic beauty at that time for paragliding ?
    3.I am in a shortage of time so is it possible to do paragliding ,the day i reach Bajinath from Delhi ?
    4.Normally i carry my own tent ,so can camp somewhere and leave for bhunter the next day from Bir ?

    Please suggest

    Thanks & Regards
    Avijit

    • 1. Yes you can provided it should not snow or rain in that period. The wind should be favourable.
      2. The area will be snow clad. The area will give a white feel. The base at Bir will be green and the jumping point Billing will have snow in patches.
      3. You can do the paragliding the same day provided you reach during day time say before 3.30pm. Delhi Baijnath is connected via night Bus so you can plan accordingly.
      4. Yes you can pitch a tent in Billing. Though you would not get any shops around to eat in Billing. You have to carry your stuff from Bir.

  25. Hi Viren! I loved your blog for its clear information. Thank you very much for making it easy for other travellers 🙂 Best, Shefali

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