Want to enjoy your holidays in a peaceful location packed with thrill and adventure, then Bir Billing is the right destination for you. Nested in the beautiful Dhauladhar range, Bir Billing is a beautiful quaint village famous among paragliding enthusiasts. The whole Bir valley holds enormous opportunities for adventure junkies.
Bir is the right spot for ecotourism, spiritual studies, and meditation activities as it is home to many Tibetans with several Buddhist monasteries. Bir is a quaint village located in the west of Joginder Nagar Valley in the Himachal Pradesh on the northern side of India and is close to many other amazing destinations like Palampur, Mcleodganj, Barot, Baijnath, etc.
The valley offers a wide range of adventure activities such as trekking, paragliding, bungee-jumping, hiking, hand gliding and many more. Apart from these, Bir Valley has much more to offer than the adventure activities. Bir is also home to Tibetan Refugee Settlement, and is a great destination to experience Tibetan Culture.
Bir Billing is perfect for those who seeking to meditate in a peaceful environment. There are a number of Buddhist monasteries and shrines here which you can explore walking down in the narrow lanes. At Bir, you can enjoy an amazing tour of beautiful mountains and monasteries, a number of peaceful places, watch beautiful sunsets, or trek and camp at some beautiful locations.
After spending a couple of days at Bir Billing you can feel the difference in your mind. The one thing for which the Bir Billing is internationally recognized is its Paragliding activities.
Bir Billing is termed as the Paragliding Capital of India and ranked as second best site within the world. If you wants to overcome the fear of height, then paragliding here with experienced pilots provide you an opportunity. Bir Billing is said to be one of the best paragliding spots in Asia and ranked as second best in the World.
Glimpse of the valley
Bir and Billing are two different places pronounced together. Basically, Bir is huge collection of many smaller villages. There are several villages that are referred to collectively as Bir. For a first time visitor, the word ‘Bir’ seems to be bit confusing since there are number of village people which use the name ‘Bir’ referring to different villages within Bir.
Bir is primarily divided into two main parts: Lower Bir and Upper Bir. Bir is located in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas. It is a quaint type of hill station located in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is near about 65 km from Dharamshala and a spot of attraction to many tourists interested in adventure sports activities.
The village of the main Bir itself is reffered to as “Bir Proper”. The “Bir Proper” is a village comprising most of houses, shops and building along the road. The heart of the village is the Bir main market, a market place with a few shops. The proper Bir village consists of houses, shops, schools, bus stand and a tea processing factory.
At Bir Proper, anually a Holi Mela(fair) at the months of March-April is organized. A huge crowd visits the fair during this time of year. The small hamlets and villages above the Bir village are collectively referred to as the “Upper Bir” whereas the downwards ones combined are referred as “Lower Bir”.
Billing is a small hamlet in the Upper Bir which is regarded as the paragliding launch site. Billing hamlet is the main cause of the tourists’ attraction to Bir. Billing is located 15km at the upper side of Bir. Billing is the main take-off site from where the paragliders take-off.
A narrow road leads to Billing from the main Bir. The road is surrounded by a huge dense forest of oak and deodar trees. The Billing has a total of 2-3 shops that provide tea, snacks, and other eating stuff. Within the 15km road distance from Bir to the Billing hamlet, there is not a single shop between.
Billing provides an amazing view of the Bir valley, and nearby mountain ranges. Billing is at an altitude of 2430 meters above sea level whereas Bir is about 1350 meters above sea level. Billing is the main highlight of the Bir Valley. At Billing, you can discover the clear and pleasant air currents moving in a flow that produces next-level vibes.
Population & Livelihood
Many elders here believed that it was around 1600 CE, the first settlements in Bir were established. These settlements were established by the immigrants from Bengal. Most of their families settled in the Upper Bir(at Bir Proper). While others settled in the nearby or lower areas further down the hill.
The main historical center of Bir is located in the Upper Bir. Most of the people settled in Upper Bir are Bhangalia (A Rajput clan belonging to the Chandravanshi Kshatriya lineage) and local Pahadi people.
The other inhabitant here is a Tibetan Refugee settlement founded in 1962 after China occupied Tibet and after this incident, several Tibetans came to India. Tibetan settlements reside in the lower area of Bir known as ‘Tibetan Colony’ having Buddhist Stupas and Monasteries.
Things to do in Bir Billing
The Bir Billing is a great paradise for paragliding lovers. The valley is only limited to paragliding, but there is a lot more that it offers. After visiting Bir Billing, you are not going to just take back with you only a little bit of this place sand in shoes. But rather you will collect a lot of interesting memories.
This valley has almost everything for everyone. The whole Bir Valley is enriched with positive vibes that will upbeat you as you explore the valley more deeply. Some of the amazing things you can do here are described below:
Paragliding is the main reason why people visit Bir Billing. Bir Billing is known all over the world for this aerial sport. It is the best paragliding destination in India and is referred to as the “Paragliding Capital of India”. The air thermal conditions it provides is one of the best factors suited for Paragliding.
Known as the “Paragliding hub of India”, Bir Billing provides mesmerizing views of the Dhauladhar ranges. Bir Billing hosted India’s first Paragliding World Cup in October 2015, after which this destination has gained a huge attraction from tourists. There is a range of paragliding courses available here for those who want to learn the art of paragliding.
If you came here for the purpose of paragliding, then the paragliding options available here are Solo and Tandem paragliding. A basic Tandem flight will last somehow about 15-25 minutes depending on the thermals and will cost around 1800-2500INR depending on the paragliding season.
If you are visiting Bir Billing, then camping will be the best option for accommodation. Camping in Bir Billing is one of the most exciting activities that you can enjoy here. Bir Billing has a number of things to offer whether that’s the spectacular natural beauty here or else the calmness of the valley. Rather than staying in a hotel, it will be best to enjoy night camping here.
Camping at Bir Billing helps you connect with the nature around you. There are a number of beautiful campsites located here, that will provide an amazing experience of staying within the lap of mother nature. Camping in Bir Billing can be accompanied by other adventure activities such as paragliding, trekking, bungee-jumping, biking, and many more.
Trek & Hike:
Trekking is another activity that you can pursue at Bir Billing. Aside from being a paragliding destination, Bir Billing is also a great destination for trek lovers. Trekking in Bir Billing is a rewarding experience as it provides an alluring view of the natural beauty the place holds within it. It is one of the best options to explore the valley more closely.
The trekking routes at Bir Billing offer beautiful views of the pine and oak forests, mountains along with a pleasant environment. Bir Billing is the starting point for the various trek routes. There is a various range of trekking packages available here for a beginner to advanced ones.
A beginner one can trek to the nearby waterfall, water stream, and other nearby destinations. When it comes to the most exciting and popular trekking packages, some of them are Billing to Rajgundha Trek, Billing to Hanumangarh Trek, Billing to Bada Bhangal Trek.
Mountain biking is another great option at Bir Billing. Mountain Biking is an adventure sport that involves riding bicycles over off-road rough terrain. Mountain biking at Bir gives a sense of freedom, a sense of charm, and an upbeat experience. Just imagine how it’s like cycling amidst the forest traveling at your own preferred speed with no need to worry about the fuel, just you and nature.
There are several mountain biking routes at Bir for both intermediate and advanced ones. A variety of people visit Bir Billing, some with the purpose of spending some time far away from their daily stressful life and others may want to experience the thrill and adrenaline rush. Some of the people like off-road cycling while some prefer cycling on road.
The best option is to visit the Palpung Sherabling Monastery, cycling through the middle of beautiful forests. A road leads to the monastery, and believe this is the best route if you want to have a deep attachment with nature.
There are several local shops that have a bike rental system. The mountain bikes can be rented here with a price range starting from 50-120 INR/hour, depending on the type of mountain bike selected. You can even rent a mountain bike for an entire day charging around 800-1000INR.
As described above Bir is a huge collection of many beautiful small hamlets and villages. Bir is the right spot for adventure junkies and meditators. When it comes to exploring Bir, there are a number of other exciting nearby places you can visit. The most famous nearby spot is Bir Tibetan Colony.
The Bir Tibetan Colony is also known locally as “Colony” and is located at the western end of the Chowgan village. It is about 3-4 km from the Upper Bir and can be reached by taxi within 10-15 minutes. There are several hotels, homestays, and monasteries in Tibetan Colony.
Another famous nearby destination is Palpung Sherabling Monastery. It is locally known as “Bhattu Monastery”, known for its Tibetan heritage, and is about 7 km from the Upper Bir(Bir Proper). Bhattu Monastery is the largest monastery in Bir and is nested in the middle of a beautiful green forest.
There are a number of other places you can explore such as Dharmalaya Institute, Deer Park Institute, Baijnath Shiv Temple, Take-off and landing sites, Tibetan Monasteries, Bangoru Waterfall, Bir Bazaar, and many more.
Best time to visit Bir Billing
Like many other hill stations, Bir is a perfect destination to visit throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Bir Billing depends upon the type of activities you are willing to do here. At Bir Billing, every season comes in its natural form. The various seasons to discover the glimpses of Bir Billing are described below:
The summer season at Bir starts from the month of March and ends till June. The weather during this season is pleasant and the temperature here may rise up to 32℃ or drop up to 10℃ at night. This season is best for those who want to escape the scorching heat of cities during Summer.
You can experience pleasant air thermals during this season and wander between the green fields and forests. Several crops are grown during this season and is the time time to experience nature in its purest form.
During Summer, you can enjoy a range of activities such as paragliding, trekking, camping, bungee jumping, and many more. Summer season is the peak season here and during this season Bir gets a huge rush of tourists.
Due to better air thermals, the summer season is suitable for long flights and providing a better paragliding experience. This season is also best for trekking activities as all of the trekking trails here look gorgeous during this season.
Monsoon season begins here from the mid of July up to September. Monsoon here comes with heavy rain and storms. The valley looks fresh and grassy during this time. The ground becomes wet and slippery, and there is a danger of landslides too. So, this season is regarded as the off-season in Bir Billing.
During this time period, gliding activities shut down in Bir Billing. Paragliding is prohibited during this season due to heavy rains and it becomes extremely dangerous as paragliding depends upon the wind conditions.
Due to heavy rains, trekking at some routes here can be dangerous during the monsoon. Many of the famous trek routes here close such as Rajgundha Trek, Hanumangarh Trek, Bada Bhangal Trek. These treks can be risky because of the landslides.
This does not mean that the whole trekking activity gets closed. Rather you can go for short day hikes to the nearby waterfalls, river pools, and other charming destinations.
The Winter season here marks its presence from the month of October to the end of February. In all honesty, wintertime is the best season to enjoy the beauty of this valley. You have clear skies, good air currents, and a pleasant and chilling environment.
December to February are the coldest months of the winter season. Bir Billing gets frequent snowfalls between these months. The Billing top looks white covered with snow. The Rajgundha, Hanumangarh, and Chota Bhangal regions get completely covered by snow with a thickness up to 8-13 inches.
If you want to enjoy paragliding along with snowfall, this is the perfect season. Sometimes, you even have to trek for 3-5 km to reach the take-off site. But the experience after is completely worth it.
The view here during peak winter months is fantastic, with snow-covered mountains and beautiful sceneries. Some popular snow treks can also be pursued during this season but it is better if you are a pro in trekking.
How to reach Bir Billing
Bir Billing is a popular tourist destination among tourists. Bir Billing is close to many other tourist destinations such as Barot, Dharamshala, Mcleodganj, Barot, Palampur, Manali, and many more. It is easily accessible from Delhi, Chandigarh, Pathankot, Dehradun.
Bir and Bir Billing are two different locations. To actually reach Bir-Billing(take-off site), you have to reach Bir first from where you can hire a taxi to Billing. Billing is 15 km from Bir, and no private and government buses operate at Billing.
You can visit Billing only by your private vehicle or taxi. You can even directly hire a taxi up to Bir Billing(take-off site). But if you are visiting by bus, then you could only travel up to Bir or else Tibetan Colony, from where you have to hire a taxi.
Remember, if you have booked a paragliding package, then you should only need to visit the office address of the merchant. Once you reached the office, he will arrange your transportation to Billing from the office, but it depends on the type of package booked.
Bir Billing provides a range of transportation options to reach from which are described below:
For Delhi and Chandigarh travelers, private-owned several deluxe buses are there which will drop you right up to Tibetan Colony, from where you can further hire a taxi. Tibetan Colony is the last station and nearest to the Bir.
Only private-owned deluxe buses drop you at Tibetan Colony, whereas the HRTC Volvo buses will drop you at Proper Bir. Maximum of the tourist buses drop-out at the Tibetan Colony as there are a number of homestays and hotels nearby.
Private Vehicle: If you are traveling by your own private car or touring bike, then the above-described routes will be helpful to you. If you don’t have a personal vehicle, then you can rent a car for your trip. Traveling in a private vehicle is a flexible way and could be a lot more fun. You can enjoy meals at several Dhabas along the way and fantastic views of the road trip.
The nearest airport terminal to Bir is Gaggal Airport, near Dharamshala. You can book several domestic and economic flights here. The frequency of flights here is limited and will cost you a lot more. After reaching the Gaggal Airport, there are two further options you can choose from:
Bus: Check-out at the airport, and then head up to interstate Dharamshala Bus Terminal(approx. 13 km from Airport), from where you can directly travel by bus up to Baijnath.
There is no direct railway connectivity to Bir, the nearest local narrow gauge railway station is Ahju Railway Station. The Ahju station is only 5 km from Bir and has a limited frequency of trains coming here. Ahju station does not have connectivity to major cities such as Delhi, Chandigarh.
Another broad gauge railway station nearest to Bir is Pathankot railway station. The Pathankot station is about 140 km from Bir. This interstate railway terminal is linked to other top cities within India and frequent trains visit here from all major routes. After reaching Pathankot, there are some options you can choose from:
Car: You can even book a cab directly from Pathankot to Bir which will nearly cost you about 2500-3500INR. This 140 km road distance will take about 5-6 hours by car.
Bus: Check-out at the railway station, and then head up to the nearby Interstate Bus Terminal, from where you can directly travel by bus up to Baijnath.
Bir Billing from Delhi
Bir Billing is about 520-540 km from Bir Billing depending upon the routes. We have described both the routes to Delhi above. The best option is to travel by a Volvo bus from the ISBT Kashmiri Gate or from Majnu Ka Tila. There are several Volvo buses to the Tibetan Colony that will cost near about 800-1600 INR.
Otherwise, you can rent a car from Delhi to Bir Billing which will be even more convenient. The road journey to Bir will take around 10-14 hours to complete. For traveling by train, travel till the Pathankot railway station and then getting ahead to Bir. However, if you are traveling by air, then the Gaggal Airport is the nearest one.
Bir Billing from Manali
Manali, another beautiful hill station in Himachal. is about 165 km far from Bir. To visit Bir Billing from Manali, you can either travel by bus or taxi to Bir Road. To find out buses to reach Bir Road from Manali, you should first search for buses heading towards Jogindernagar.
After reaching Jogindernagar, you should look for Baijnath route buses. After you found the bus, enter the bus and buy a bus ticket till Bir-Road. After reaching Bir-Road you can hire a taxi to Bir Billing. From Manali, a taxi can be hired till Bir Billing which will take about 5 hours to reach.
Bir Billing from Dharamshala
Alike Manali, Dharamshala is another popular destination in Himachal. This hill station is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the state. Dharamshala is about 65 km from Bir valley. At Dharamshala bus station there are several buses operating frequently at Baijnath Route.
You can travel by bus till Baijanth and after reaching Baijnath directly head towards Bir by bus. This whole bus journey will cost around 150 INR. You can rather book a taxi directly from Dharamshala to Bir Billing which will take around 3 hrs hours to reach.
ATM and cash availability
Most of the shops here accept cash only. Only a few shops provide an online mode of transaction. Discussing the ATM facility, Billing(take-off site) has not a single ATM. The nearest ATM to Billing is 18-20km away in Chougan(Bir Colony). In case of insufficient cash in the ATM, you have to visit Bir-Road(Manali highway link) to access other ATMs. Therefore, it is advisable to keep some sort of cash with you.
Mobile Network in Bir Billing
Since Bir Billing is a famous tourist destination, so there is superior network coverage in Bir Billing. At Rajgundha, the ISP’s Jio, Airtel, VI, and BSNL work fine. However, the network coverage gets disrupted temporarily while trekking to an offbeat location.