If you are also bored of your lethargic routine and really wanna go somewhere not cliched, then Bir Billing is your place to be. For a person like me who is repulsed with a mundane existence, staying adventure-less for a long time could be fatal. Not literally though. Therefore, to fill me with the thrill of adventure I set off to Bir Billing and it worked like a charm.
Bir Billing is a twin village to the west of Joginder Nagar Valley in Himachal Pradesh and is also known as the Paragliding Capital of India. The unsullied village of Bir Billing had many exciting experiences to offer and I took advantage of everything that I could try here.
Now that I have been there – I can very safely say that Bir Billing is that one destination that HAS TO be on your travel bucket list in 2020. Why, do you ask?
Just keep reading.
Birds Eye View
Have you ever wondered what it is like to see the world from the top? It feels amazing, you can take my word for it. Paragliding is a hair-raising adventure you can do in the mountains and Bir is a perfect place for it. You can drift through the clouds, sail with the winds as you float between the giant snow capped Dhauladhar range.
It is one helluva experience. I went paragliding in the evening and what I saw almost made me tear up. I had to write a poem about it as soon as I got back, which maybe I will share with you guys one day. Watching the sun lowering down to kiss the mountains and sky turning pink to blush was a moment I can never forget.
Paragliding starts in the morning and can be availed till early evening from Billing, so whatever time suits your fancy is totally fine.
What’s your poison for adventure?
Beer, whiskey or wine? Nay! Trekking, hiking, camping, and mountain biking – now that is my poison. Bir has got all this and many more thrilling adventures for you to take on.
There are some gripping treks from Bir which will stir the adventure junkie in you. Rajgundha Valley is one of the most popular treks from Bir which offers you a complete and spectacular view of snow-capped mountains and Uhl river.
Hiking is another thrilling activity you can do in Bir to quench your nomadic thirst. You can take a hike to Ghodnala village which is a few kilometres away from Bir to watch a perfect sunset amidst the boughs of nature.
And for all you Tour de France addicts, Bir is the perfect destination to rent out a mountain bike and experience the hell out of the nearby areas. Bike along the dirt roads and forest covered trails of Bir and you are bound to discover something new.
It is like a dream to spend a night inside a camp while watching thousands of stars dancing in the open sky. In Bir, you really can live this dream. Camp in any of the ethereal camping sites near Bir Billing and check off another thing from your 2020 travel list!
Charming Tibetan Culture
The Tibetan refugee settlement of Bir is what brings it most of the charm and peaceful aura. In the early 1960s, after Dalai Lama was exiled from Tibet, Chokling Rinpoche and his devotees came to Bir and settled here. Now the Tibetan Colony of Chowgan is a bustling and busy area which contains residencies, several cafes and stores, monasteries like Nyingma and Kagyu, handicrafts centre, astrological institute and many things else.
One of the best thing about coming to Bir Billing is being able to experience this culture and tradition first hand. You get to see the monks giving prayer, the local shopkeepers setting up and selling local produce, little Tibetan cuties milling about playing with the dogs and of course, several beautiful artisans selling their products. This is something that will be with you long after you leave.
Eat, Travel and Repeat
Being a big time foodie and an adventure junkie this is my little mantra of life that I am sure you can relate to. Bir Billing is not just a place where you will get your adventure dreams realized but it is also a place where you will find yourself going ‘Jeez this is so delicious!’
There are many cafes and eateries where you can taste some insanely delicious Tibetan cuisines. Cafes like Garden Cafe, Silver Linings, Avva Cafe, Nyingma Kitchen, Vairagi Cafe, Glider’s Pizzeria, and Ticksy Food Corner offers mouthwatering cuisines. You should definitely try thukpa, momos, Tsampa, and some traditionally made ‘laphing’.
Perfect Place for Backpackers
Another great thing about Bir Billing is it’s backpacking culture. Since it is a gorgeous mountain location with exciting possibilities of paragliding, camping, trekking etc. – it is a preferred destination for backpackers from all around the world.
Wherever you go in Bir; whether it is the landing site, the markets or cafes, you will definitely see travellers and wanderers from all corners of the world. When I was in the Silver Linings Cafe, I made friends with a travelling couple (Elijah and Ella I miss you dearly) from Israel who were backpacking all around the country. They were heading to McleodGanj after their trip in Bir.
This culture of travel keeps the place alive and makes you come across friendly faces and great conversations in every nook and corner.
There is something I want to say:
Since we all are connected to each other either with our nomadic stories or with the thirst of exploring off beat paths, I want to give you a little personal recommendation. When you are visiting Bir Billing, instead of staying in a guest house or a hotel, choose a backpacker hostel.
Hostels are budget friendly to the max and help you meet so many wonderful travellers like yourself from around the globe. There was never a dull moment in the hostel that I stayed at. And who knows? Maybe one day we even bump into one another.
Till then, happy travels 🙂