India: Bir Billing: Paragliding in the lap of nature
June 12, 2019
by Abhipsa Dash
“You are the master of your destiny, you are the captain of your soul.” These words from the movie “Invictus” have left an indelible impact on my life. Travelling to explore nature’s gifts had always been a childhood dream. After starting my career, I had the opportunity to travel to numerous places. The interview process for one of the leading brands of agribusiness had started during my stay at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh ( India). The first round went well with hope for the second phase of the interview.
My New Stint and The Beginning of an Exciting Trip
A new opportunity
Meanwhile, I was transferred to Bhubaneswar to handle a new responsibility. I got a call again from the same organization for the second round of interview. Thus followed the interview on Skype with a meeting scheduled with the Director at Noida. It was a great opportunity to plan a trip and the selected destination was Bir – Billing in Himachal Pradesh. Bir Billing is known as the Paragliding Capital of India. I started preparing for the interview with diligence as it served as a gateway to an exciting time. 10th of March’2018, 11:30 a.m, my interview began at Noida Office and it went well. After an hour I headed to Delhi to start the much-awaited trip.
The beginning of the trip
The boarding place for the trip is “Majnu ka Tila”. It is located near the Vidhan Sabha Metro Station of Delhi Metro’s Yellow Line. One can get an E-Rickshaw to go to Majnu Ka Tila. The name sounds intriguing and on our way, we asked the auto driver the reason behind this name. He also laughed and said that the query is yet to be answered by anyone. One can see a lot of Tibetian Influence near that area. The bus stop had a lot of Buddhist Monks waiting to start their journey. After a short period of waiting, we were en route Bir.
About Zostel Bir – Travellers’ Abode
After a journey of 12 hours, we alighted the bus early in the morning to proceed to Zostel. Google Maps helps in finding the exact location to deboard. A cab took us to Zostel. Zostel is a chain of backpackers hostel which has an extremely vibrant ambience. One meets travellers from myriad nations and cultures. Its a microcosm of travel enthusiasts. I would recommend staying in Zostel for all travel lovers who look forward to sharing interesting experiences. On enquiring about the most sought after adventure sports “Paragliding”, we were informed that a vehicle will take us to the flying zone at 10 a.m. The garden outside Zostel is a well-cultivated land. I could see strawberry laden plants. The garden provides an extremely scenic view of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges. One can see colourful paragliders floating like kites in the sky.
The vehicle arrived and we started off to Billing Valley for the eventful moment. On reaching the spot I wore the accessories to start my maiden flight. I was handed over a GoPro device for video recording my flight. I soared high in the sky to feel the fresh and cool air. Up in the air, I could see the Dhauladhar ranges. It is a surreal experience. One feels like living the life of a bird and experiencing the joy of flying in a vast stretch of blue canvas above. Intermittent sound of the breeze blowing past my face made me feel closer to nature. Below I could see the green patches of land and houses which seemed like a painting on a canvas. After a good 20 minutes in the air, I landed. We had lunch afterwards and rested in the afternoon. Gradually the afternoon gave way to evening and we headed towards the landing point for viewing the sunset. But the sun had already set down the horizon when we reached there. Still, we enjoyed the sight there and spent some time in the Silver Spoon Café which hosted guests from multiple nations. Make sure to visit the Cafe when you are in Bir Billing. It was pretty lively over there with strangers sharing experiences with each other. On our way back to Zostel we booked a bike for the next day.
To Barot Valley
Next morning we started off to Barot Valley. If you are visiting Bir Billing, do make sure to include Barot Valley in your itinerary. But one has to be very careful while riding on the roads. The roads that led to Barot Valley are as beautiful as the place. The route from Bir Billing to Barot valley has an awesome view. You will find fields with mustard flowers in full bloom making the landscape bright with yellow. The combination of yellow and the green plantation of garlic was a “Wow” view. I kept marvelling at the beauty of nature.
It takes 3 hours from Bir to reach Barot Valley. We were welcomed by a fresh stream of water flowing atop the hills. The splash of clear water on the pebbles beneath clubbed with the greenery all around presented a magnificent view. We had the famous trout fish in our lunch and then moved back to visit the lake wherein Sachan powerhouse project was commissioned. I was delighted to get an amazing view of the place. There are seating benches and tree covers where you can enjoy nature’s bounty. Then we proceeded to the paraglider’s landing point to see the sunset. Meanwhile, we didn’t miss any chance to click the sun going down. While going through all the pictures, it seems they are some of the best clicks.
Sunset At Bir
In the evening we walked through the streets of Bir and visited the Tsering Jong Monastery. Bir should be explored while walking down the streets lined up with souvenir shops, and stalls with local food.
We started early morning on the next day to Kangra and then boarded the bus to Delhi.
I arrived at Zostel Delhi and I found a solo traveller from Malaysia. She shared her travel experiences. It was pretty interesting. Thus ended the day and next day I boarded my flight to Bhubaneswar.