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.
I am still humming this as I remember my paragliding experience in Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh, India. Taking you back to memories….
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.
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.
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.
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.
Below are some pictures taken by me from Billing camp site during Bir Billing paragliding trip.
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/-
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)
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.
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 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.
2. The Bir Tea factory.
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:
28, SDA Complex, itinan, Shimla-171009
Phone No: 0177-2625864 (Telefax), 2623959, 2625511 (Telefax)
E. mail: firstname.lastname@example.org