Top Activity to do in Bir Billing: And No it’s Not Just Paragliding!
Bir Billing is the top destination in the world for Paragaliding. The two villages of Bir- Billing are located in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. Bir (Landing site) is 25kms (By Road) down south from Billing (Take off Site). The area hosted India’s first ever Paragliding World Cup in 2015 and has been blooming on the tourism map ever since.
However, nowadays it’s not just paragliding that’s attracting tourists to this small hamlet nestled with the serene views of the mighty Dhauladhars, its Mountain Biking.
Mountain Biking (MTB) is an adventure sport that involves riding a bicycle over rough/ off-road terrain. What it means to one may vary from person to person. For someone like me, It may be about racing on steep narrow Single Tracks filled with rocks and roots with deep gorges on one side, whereas for some it maybe their escape from the busy week that they’ve been having and connect to nature and to their inner self. No matter what’s the reason for you trying it out, mountain biking gives a sense of freedom, a fleeting moment of clarity, a sense of accomplishment when you reach the top of a hill and many other emotions which are hard to describe but easier to experience.
How to Reach Bir
Bir has direct buses from Major Cities like Delhi, Chandigarh. HRTC Volvos as well as private Volvos ply on the route. Other major Bus stations nearby are Kangra & Baijnath, you can get a bus to any one of these places easily.
Ahju Railway station is about 3kms from Bir on the Pathankot- Joginder Nagar Narrow Gauge line. One can reach Pathankot (146kms away) via a broad gauge express train and then change to the toy train for remainder of journey.
Best Time to Visit Bir- Billing
The weather is usually pleasant here all year around but the post monsoon months, August- December provide the clearest views and if you are lucky you might even catch a fresh spell of snow towards the end of the year at Billing.
Bir – Billing Trip Itinerary
- Taking an overnight bus from Delhi/Chandigarh and waking up in the cool mist of mountains.
- Taking a stroll through the Streets and find your rental shop.
- If you have a day to spare, try the Paragliding too, the views from the sky are breathtaking. The cost for flight is around 2000-2500.
- If you have an extra day, you can enjoy both the activities on separate days
- Enjoy the evenings chilling with a delicious cookie at the Northern Café, watching the paragliders glide down in the setting sun.
- Take the overnight bus back.
Mountain Biking in Bir
Like the rest of the country, MTB has grown multifold in Bir in the past couple of years. Many of the local riders have started to show up on the national level races and are striving to prove their mettle. Bir has also become home to some very exciting MTB Races.
Getting a Mountain Bike in Bir
A lot of shops in Bir have a bike rental system available. With prices starting from Rs 50/ hour, you can choose among the Mid- Range Mountain Bikes available on most of the shops.
Check List before Starting on an Adventure of Lifetime
Having a break down during your adventure might be a cause of misery and end your whole trip on a low note. So in order to avoid such a disaster, make sure to follow these steps before you ride away from the rental shop:-
- Make sure the Brakes are working properly.
- Make sure that the gears are shifting smoothly through the entire range of gears.
- Make sure you grab a helmet and wear it for the ride, riding without one might prove fatal. Check the helmet for any Cracks or Dents. The helmet should have a snug fit and should not be moving around.
- Take a small test ride and check if everything is OK, there should be no loose components or sounds you should be worried about.
- The Monastery Route:–
This is the easiest route with most of it on paved road. The route passes through an enchanted pine forest, riding through which is an enthralling experience. There are small climbs which will be a bit challenging and leave you gasping for breath but the descents will definitely put a smile on your face as you feel like flying unchained. The route is about 8 kms one way. One can ride it alone to find solitude or with a group of friends’ and have a jolly good ride.
2.The Bir Billing XCO Track: –
This track was specially made by the local riders for a MTB Race which saw top Indian Riders racing through the forest. The track is about 5 kms in length out of which about 3.5kms is pure singletrack bliss. The track is purely for those who have prior experience of riding on trails. Also it is advisable to not venture alone on this track as it passes through the forest and has sharp edges.
3.Guned Waterfall Ride:-
What could be better than having a splash of water in the hot summer, A Waterfall! This waterfall is about 4-5kms from Bir. As you head towards Billing, on Turn No 2, a road heads towards the Sumer House, You’ll find the Waterfall within 1 km of this route.
4.Bir- Billing- Chaina Pass-Rajgundha route:-
This route is for those with a sense of adventure, a thirst for the views from the top and most importantly high levels of physical and mental fitness. Most of the road is Tarmac climb upto Billing, about 25 kms from Bir, after that starts the real nirvana as you ride on a broken jeep track alongside a cliff enjoying the breathtaking views. Soon after you reach Rajgundha, you realize you are in a different valley altogether in the Dhauladhars. You start at an elevation of 1100m in Bir and reach 2400m in Billing and about 2700m Chaina Pass. This ride may require a whole day so one needs to plan accordingly Hydration and Nutrition accordingly.
So listen to your inner calling, pack up your bags and set foot on another adventure. Just remember, no littering waste in the mountains ;).
-By Shiven AeroHawk