Up in the air

Pooja Kalangutkar
Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Paragliding at Bir Billing is one of the best adventure activities that one can enjoy apart from trekking, camping and mountain biking

Imagine jumping off a 4,230 metre high cliff. You are scared and at the same time waiting for that adrenaline rush... and there you go... run and just jump. The very next moment you find yourself floating in air, all the fear and anxiety you experienced minutes before take-off just disappears. Airborne, you fly like a bird amidst the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, feeling the cold breeze. Up there, it feels magical. 

Looking down, you see the microscopic world below. All the stress that adds to your intangible weight suddenly disappears and you feel weightless. This is what you experience at one of the world’s best paragliding sites — Bir Billing.

BIR BILLING
Bir (locally called Beed) is a village in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Apart from paragliding, one can also enjoy other activities like trekking and camping. Bir is basically the landing site and Billing, about 15 km uphill, is the take-off site for paragliding, hence together it is known as Bir Billing.

HOW TO REACH?
There are several routes to reach Bir Billing. You can either reach Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar or Pathankot and from there take a Himachal Pradesh State Transport bus or a cab to Palampur, Dharamshala or Bir Billing directly. You can also take a train from Pathankot to Palampur or Dharamsala.

PARAGLIDING
This experience will cost you around Rs 3,000 to 4,000 (approximately). However, be ready to negotiate the price. Price of video recording (GoPro) is around Rs 500, for still photographs it is around Rs 300. The cost of videography might or might not be included in paragliding fees.
You don’t have to worry about the safety as you take off in safety gear and with a trained instructor. You are not allowed to paraglide solo unless you are certified.

BEST TIME FOR PARAGLIDING
Except for the monsoon season, paragliding is possible through the year. However, October-November and March-June are the best seasons as in the winters the weather becomes too cold and long flights are not possible.

WHAT ELSE IN BIR BILLING?
You can visit the various monasteries in and around Bir. One of the biggest is the Bhattu Mmonastery. You can also visit the Tibetan village, which gives you a feel of Tibet. Baijnath Shiv Temple, which is said to be over 1,000 years old, is also a place of interest. This temple, however, is not in Bir, but about a 30-minute drive from Bir.

Neighbouring places like Mcleodganj, Dharamshala, Dharamkot and others also offer picturesque locales.

Apart from this you can indulge in a variety of adventure activities including trekking and mountain biking.

Now don’t just imagine, get going on this amazing adventurous trip to overcome fears and discover new strengths.

- Pooja Kalangutkar

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