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Bir is known as the paragliding capital in India. There are plenty of places to travel in India for adventure. Some are famous for bungee jumping, river rafting. Some are famous for scuba diving. And then there is Bir, famous in India for paragliding. People from all over the world come to India to enjoy these adventures. Paragliding in India has become one of the leading adventure activities in the world in several years. The best and safest destination for paragliding in India is the Bir Town in Himachal Pradesh.

Also, read Bir Is Hidden Ecotourism Village Of Himachal Pradesh

Best Paragliding site in India- Bir & Billing

Bir and Billing are small villages located about 14km apart in Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh. Bir is always famous for natural beauty and Tibetan culture. Billing is popular for its adventure sports. Billing is a paragliding take-off point, which offers panoramic views of the world’s second-highest, 8,000 feet high, valley below. The landing place is in the field west of Bir Chaugan. In the backdrop of the blue sky of the Bir these paragliders fly all the time with colorful wings. There is another name of Bir “Parindo Ke Nagari” ( City Of Birds). In 2015 the paragliding World cup held in Himachal Pradesh at Bir Billing villages for the first time.

Also, Read 5 India’s Most Ancient City

Bir landing ground
Bir landing ground

How To Go Bir Billing

There are many ways to go to Bir Billing village. I go from Kolkata to Delhi and plan the rest to go from Delhi to Himachal mainly Bir. From Delhi and Chandigarh, you can reach Bir by Volvo bus or by car.

Delhi to Bir 489 kilometers. Time Take 11 to 12 hrs. There are various overnight buses ( Private and Government) operating from Delhi to Bir. Manju ka Tilla and Kashmeri gate from these two bus stand you will get a bus to Bir. Bus ranging from 1200 to 1400 depending upon the luxury and season.

Chandigarh to Bir 289 kilometers. You can get a direct bus to Chandigarh ISBT to Bir. Time takes 7hrs by Car or bus. Bus cost around 1000 Rs.

The nearest airport Kangra Airport is 68 kilometers away from Bir town. Time takes 2 to 3 hours by car or bus. But to reach Kangra Airport, you need to go via Delhi Airport.

From Dharamsala and Mecloadganj you can easily reach Bir colony by hiring a car or taking a local bus. It will take 6 to 7 hrs.

Please Note Bir to Billing is 15Km & the time takes 40 minutes by car.

Bir Paragliding Information

Bir and Billing is the safest paragliding site in India. This is the place where India gets the opportunity of the International Paragliding World Cup. All amenities here meet international standards. You will always have a license holder paraglider with you whenever you paraglide. So don’t worry about your smooth landing. Some risks involved with adventure sports. To deal with this, experience rescue teams trained on-site to deal with any unforeseen accidents. The Bir Billing Paragliding adventure starts at Billing where you’ll be at approximately 7,600 feet above the ground. Expect to be in the air for 15 to 30 minutes after which you’ll land at Bir which is 4,300 feet above sea level.

Timing

You cannot paraglide when the region receives rainfall, usually from July to September. Otherwise, paragliding is done here all the time for the rest of the year. The best month is October till mid-December. This time you will see a gorgeous view of the Dhuladhar ranges with clear skies.

You can go paragliding anytime from 7 am in the morning to 6 pm. But people prefer paragliding at sunset. There is only one reason, the sky and the surrounding environment look so beautiful at this time. Many times while paragliding, you have to wait a long time at the take-off point for clear weather.

Also, Read KOLKATA IS AN EMOTION

Booking

Don’t need to book online. When you get in Bir, you will find lots of operators in the Tibetian colony bazaar area, who book paragliding and other activities all day long. There are also lots of paragliding instructor information in the hotel or hostel where you will be staying. Call them to book your time and enjoy.

Price

The cost of paragliding in Bir is INR 1800 to 2500. The flight journey time is 15 to 25 minutes. This price including

Bir to Billing transportation (15Km) and video photography. Some people can do 45 minutes of paragliding if they want, in which case the charges become INR 4000.

Please Note There is another still photographer on the landing site. When someone is landing the photographer clicks a lot of your landing pictures. And then sells them 200 Rs for all pictures. But it’s up to you whether you want to buy those pictures or not.

Age & Weight

There is a certain weight limit for paragliding, which is that you have to weigh between 15 kg and 95 kg. If your weight is between 95 kg and 115 kg, then you too can fly, but you have to pay a fee of 500 rupees. Children under the age of 18 will also need parental consent to fly.

Safety Precaution

Always Choo’s license holder and experienced paragliding instructor.

Wear something warm when you go paragliding.

You need sports shoes that fit properly. During takeoff and landing time you need to be running so good shoes will help you.

Avoid carrying too many things. You will be dropped off at another point after you land, so carry just what you need.

Don’t eat heavy food before paragliding.

Don’t panic in the air. Be a team player do as your instructor say and enjoy the thrill in the air.

Also, Read The Land Of Festivals -Nagaland

Fly Solo

You can have your solo paragliding experience here. But for that, you have to do a month course from paragliding institute here. And only if they give you a certificate after taking the exam then you can fly solo. Lots of tourists from India go there for about a month only learning paragliding. The government operates a national paragliding institute with training facilities for domestic and international pilots. So fly solo in the paragliding capital in India.

Please NoteThe local police can take a fine of up to 1000 RS for not wearing musk. So wear your mask.

Childhood is one of the good time in our life. Whatever you do as child that come direct from your heart. What does travel mean, I did not know that time. For official reasons, my father used to travel a lot. I used to listen his travel stories. My general questions were, what did you see, what were the items you eat. He used to laugh and say it was official not an outing. Hearing him made me believe that travel meant only serious works, no fun at all. Contradictory, when I used to hear others travel stories, it seemed like full of fun, adventure, excitement. Then I got to know those people were on vacation unlike my father. So I was clear in my head that vacation is fun and trip means office work.
One day one of my friend and his family were going for a vacation in Goa. And when my friend came back to school he told his fun travel stories. Where he been, where and what he ate, fun rides, sunrise to sunset, music and many more. He gifted me little bag tag written Goa. And immediately he became my best friend. That time I realised fun means travel. And my fun travel would start with Goa.

Also Read Nagaland Is NOT What You Think

My First Travel Planning

1997 at the age of 13 I planned to go Goa for my first fun travel. I was not courageous to tell my parents about my travel plan to Goa. So I broke my piggy bank and found some 550 rupees. But I needed 450 rupees more. At that age, thousand rupees was a big amount to me. It was enough to cover my vacation, in my head obviously. So I made my mission impossible plan. In coming few days I asked my father to give me some money for my new piggy bank and I did the same with my mother and elder sister as well without letting them know. I collected some 350 rupees more. And I needed 100 rupees more.
So now, the question was how to go to Goa from Kolkata. My friend told me that they travelled to Goa by train. He said from Howrah rail station to Goa by train it would take 50 hours. And my house to Howrah station I planned to go by a local minibus. So my goa vacation plan was ready. After 53-54 hours, I would reach Goa. I was feeling excited like never before. I was so excited.

Also Read The Dreamer Of Ghoom

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My Travel Packing

I had a grey colour school bag. I removed all my books and took out the pencil box and packed my Binocular, walkman, red sunglass. And my most favourite colourful t-shirts and shorts, pair of jeans, some chocolates and most importantly my school identity card. Because I heard that without an identity card, hotels do not accept booking. So my goa plan was so on.

Also Read Pondicherry I Felt Dreadfully Happy

The Day

I did not fix a date to go. I was ready to go but needed a perfect time. One fine morning my parents were out for work. My elder sister was in school. I did not go as I faked my illness. I thought this is my day. So I wrote a letter to my family, I am going to Goa for my first vacation. Don’t worry about me I will come back in a week.

Also Read The Perfect Detour – Goa

My Way To Goa

I didn’t had any knowledge of the road. But I knew somehow the bus route to Howrah station. I took a local bus and reached Howrah rail station. My plan was very simple. I thought I would go and buy a Goa ticket from ticket counter and board my train. After 50 hour I will be at Goa beach. I was excited as I asked for a ticket in the counter. When my turn came, I asked for a Goa ticket.The man looked at me shockingly and told me that I was at wrong counter. I was ready to move and looked for the right counter. But the man called me and asked me to fill a form first. I learned a new information that I need a form. But from where that was still not clear. Somehow I managed a form and again joined a long queue. But I was hungry by the time. When finally my turn came I handed over the form to the man. He asked me my age. I told him 13. He smiled and told me to come again when I am 18. People started noticing me curiously. Someone asked me, where is your father? I did not reply and moved away. I felt bad for not executing my Goa trip.

Also Read The Holiday

When Digha Plan Is On

I had decided, firstly finished my lunch and after that, I will think about what can I do. I found a clean restaurant beside the rail station. And Suddenly I heard the sound, a bus conductor’s call for new passenger Digha, within 30 minutes the bus will start. Immediately I changed my plan. Digha is one of the famous beaches in West Bengal. So instead Goa, Digha will be the same fun. And I surely believe Digha exactly feels like Goa. So at least my Digha plan was on.

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The Digha Day I Never Forgot

When my bus started, I was very happy. I almost forgot I didn’t inform my parents. What would happen when they would found my letter,? I was enjoying my journey, beside a window seat. And enjoying Ricky martin song, “Maria” in my walkman. What a day! After 2 hours our bus stopped for 15 minutes that time I bought a coca-cola and enjoyed every sip.
When I reached Digha, I was excited to see the seashore. But first I needed a hotel. Some people at the bus stop were grabbing my bag and asked me to come to their hotel. I thought Wow what an entry, so much importance. Now I chose a man and went to his hotel. Hotel named New Sagarika. At the reception, the man asked me “where are you coming from? What is your age?”. I gave my school identity card and told him that I needed a room for 5 days. Hotel receptionist asked me to wait and called the hotel manager. The hotel manager asked me a lot of questions. Why are you here alone? Where are your parents? What is your plan in Digha? I told him that I am here for a vacation. I wanted to go Goa but my age did not allow me to go, that’s why I came here. Hotel Manager called the local police. And then I was a little nervous and hungry again.

Also Read Stay Healthy While You Travel

One Good Man

Within 10-minutes the police came and asked me the same questions as the hotel manager did. But this time one officer asked me a unique question “did you come to Digha to commit suicide? “. I told him, why would I spend money and come to come to Digha for suicide! I could have done this in Kolkata. Police searched my bag very rudely. I was disturbed. Outside of the hotel, many people gathered and were watching me. At that moment, one young gentleman came forward within the crowd and asked me very politely “Are you hungry”.
After a few minutes, one hotel boy came with egg roll and coca-cola. The man started talking separately with the police and the manager and kept an eye on me. Later that man introduced himself to me. He was Sanjay Sen, and he had a hotel too. He asked me if I want to stay in his hotel instead. I nodded yes. Then Mr Sen suggested me to call my Parent first to inform them about my safety. I was in dilemma. If I made that call my travel would have ended there. Mr Sen made me understand the intensity of the situation. If I did not call them, then Police would do whatever they feel right. I was scared of the police as they were treating me like a criminal.

Also Read Travelling-Explore the World From Your Home

The Call Ruined My Travel Plan

So I had to call home and informed my father that I am in Digha. They were already searching for me and filed a missing complaint at the local police station. Mr Sanjay Sen spoke to my father and told him not to worry about me. Next day, he will personally drop me home safely. Again My brain worked. I requested Mr Sen to call again my parents to inform them that tomorrow he won’t be able to come but the day after tomorrow he will. He was surprised until I gave him the logic. I came for a vacation which I did not want to destroy. It already got spoiled because of the fiasco. at least I could have 2 days to explore the place. He laughed and took me to his hotel.

End Of The Day

I realized tomorrow afternoon I would be at my home. So I had very little time to enjoy my vacation. I asked Mr. Sen, would you like to come for an evening stroll or I shall continue. He agreed as he had no other option because I was his responsibility. That was my first and last visit to Digha. But that night I enjoyed it a lot. We walked through the beach. Sat somewhere near the beach. I saw every people were happy and roaming around enjoying the beach. Mr Sen offered me a horse ride. I told him that I don’t like to ride animals. Then he bought me some fresh fish fry and coconut water. I bought a black hat and a new sunglasses for myself. After that, he took me to a nice restaurant for dinner. I was going to stay with him in his hotel for that night, the next day he would take me back to Kolkata. So I requested him again to sit beside the beach for some more time post-dinner. That time he laughed again but agreed.

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than trees.” -Henry David Thoreau

No plan is the best plan. Connect to the primitive. We have heard these kinds of phrases so much that it became generic statements for us. It starts losing impact on us. Until that one-day comes in our life, when we understand the real meaning of these phases, and we adsorb the thoughts. The excess greenery does soothe the eyes and mind. When you can hear your breathing sound, the sense of alive overpowers your mind, then you can understand yes, sometimes the obvious works wonder.

Also Read The Perfect Detour – Goa

Walk in the woods lamahata
Walk in the woods PC-Neel Malakar

Why The Realisation:

In Darjeeling I got bored. Next day the plan was to move to Sikkim. So in between, I got an unwanted spare day, which I did not know how to utilise. Post breakfast, I started walking on random roads. It was 8:30 am and cold. I thought I would spend my day doing Dandi march. In a few minutes, I saw a little crowd. Few car and drivers were waiting and calling for the passenger and few people were getting on the car. “Lamahatta for 100 rupees”. I moved towards it. I asked them about the place and hopped in the car when they said Lamahatta is 45 minutes away from here. New place, about an hour’s journey, I could not think of much except one thing: No Plan is the best plan. The car started in 15 minutes.

Also Read Travel Precautions During Covid-19

Time spent among trees is never time wasted
Time spent among trees is never time wasted PC- Neel Malakar

The Moment Of My Existence:

I reached Lamahatta. It was 10:15 am when i checked my watch. Before I moved away, the driver said, it might be difficult to get a car in return. But they could wait for me if paid 1000 bucks for up and down. I smiled and moved away. I did not know at that time, whether to keep the car, or not. One thing that I could feel is that I did not want to think. It’s okay to go with the flow. Let the time come, I would figure out. That’s all I could think that time.

Also Read Doorless Indian Village

walk solo lamahata eco village
walk solo

Walk In The Woods:

That moment waited for me. Sometimes we wait for some moments and sometimes the moments waiting for us. Those tall green trees were everywhere. Big rocks and hills peaks were peaking behind them. I never had seen such fresh greenery and such peace. Yes, here you can see peace. It looked calm, pure, mature. I sat on the rocks, stood on them, spread my arms and then again I sat down quietly. It was the moment when you had to do nothing, just exist. We travel abroad, spend a fat amount to get this kind of peace and happiness. Trust me sometimes the unexpected thing fulfil all your expectation. I did not compare my busy city life with that peace. I just let it flow, let it go.

For hours it healed my soul and mind. I was feeling calmer. There was no smell of worry. The place looked so primitive yet so modern. I walked on those woods for hours until the sunset. Walk in the woods is not a journey, but a feeling. You live it once but carry the sense within you until you die. Words won’t be enough to describe but definitely, it is a worth sharing story.

Also Read When I met little God In Shantiniketan

Lastly, when at 5 P.M I started getting off. There it was dark and no conveyance. But strangely I was not worried about my return. As I started walking, I heard a car. It came from behind and stopped near me and asked, “Sir, it is hard to get anything to return. Can I drop you somewhere?” I smiled.