For years, paragliding in India had not been a popular choice. However, the recent years have seen a tremendous surge in the paragliding opportunities and people looking for this wonderful adventure sport that allows humans to live their most longing fantasy of flying.
Bir Billing, among other paragliding spots in India, is a small village in Himachal Pradesh – famed worldwide – for hosting the first ever world cup of paragliding. After bringing exclusive enchiridions on rafting in Manali and Rishikesh, it becomes only fair to help you with essentials of paragliding in Bir Billing.
So, what exactly is paragliding?
If you are acquainted with the term gliding, paragliding is just about adding wings to your jump. It is a glide that uses an inflated wing (nylon canopy) of an aerofoil shape–just like any other pair of wings. Paragliders use highly portable aircrafts which can be folded enough to be carried in a rucksack.
One of the cheapest and most convenient flying styles, paragliding relies upon the pressure difference created by air currents to stay aloft. Usually, a flier takes off from the top of a hill. However, at times, a winch is used to tow a flier into the air– as sailplanes do. The flight is supremely controlled, extremely adventurous and completely safe provided one follows the safety guidelines.
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Why must you go for paragliding in Bir Billing?
So for starters, Bir Billing has hosted the first ever World Cup of paragliding in world. The heights, along with the climate of Bir Billing are the most suitable for any air borne gliding sport. Here are the top reasons why Bir Billing is among the best paragliding spots in world:
1. Best takeoff and landing sites
To take off you need extremely smooth winds. The takeoff site here has got incredibly smooth and favorable winds for a perfect and easy takeoff. Landing requires a zone with minimum threats of accidents and maximum possibilities of quick help. The landing sites in Bir Billing have all such amenities.
Suitable air currents
Bir Billing is blessed with the best of the climatic conditions for paragliding. At 6 to 12 m per second of thermals in May-June, a flyer gets perfect uplift to fly up to 5000 m. Even the springs get thermals of 4-8 metres per second. Bir Billing gets an average thermal of 5 m per second — no doubt it is one of the best places for paragliding in the world.
Ideal cloud base
Cloud base simply means the base of the cloud, and is measured in metres/feet above sea level. If the valleys have a higher cloud base, one can gain more heights. Billing has 4000-6000 metres of cloud base and one can guess why paragliding here is one of the best and easy adventures.
Best time for paragliding in Bir Billing?
Although it can be visited all through the year, March to May and October – November are best for paragliding due to better thermals.
How to reach Bir Billing?
First, let’s take a look at different routes to Bir Billing:
Chandigarh – Una – Jawalaji – Kangra – Palampur – Bir -Billing (310 km)
Chandigarh – Bilaspur – Mandi – Jogindernagar – Bir-Billing (275 km)
Manali – Mandi – Jogindernagar – Bir-Billing (180 km)
Dharamshala – Palampur – Bir-Billing (70 km)
Pathankot – Palampur – Bir-Billing (140 km)
Baijnath is the nearest bus stand and it is 12 km from Bir. Buses ply daily from Delhi and Chandigarh.
Nearest railhead is at Pathankot, almost 100 km from Bir. There are regular trains from Delhi and other major cities.
Best paragliding operators and other options
Popularity, along with extremely suitable conditions for paragliding, has actually opened up the space for wide range of opportunities. Different forms of paragliding are practised, offered and enjoyed by the locals, visitors and adventure enthusiasts. From tandem (pilot operated and guided) to solo (professional) paraglides to hand gliders and parasailers are available. These operators also run various courses and provide exclusive training that spans over months. Some of the famous operators which run paragliding and other adventure programs are Travel Bir Billing, Bir Billing Paragliding, and Bir Billing.com.
How safe is Bir Billing for paragliding
Adventurous beyond imagination, paragliding is guaranteed thrill. However, it can be a little dangerous at times if things go haywire. Weather conditions, landing and takeoff sites, and extremely experienced pilots ensure that paragliding in Bir Billing is met with all safety and convenience standards. Here are a few pointers, you must take care of:
- Be mentally prepared – stay calm and do not get overwhelmingly excited.
- Do not attempt a flight if you have not learnt it. Go for tandem flights in that case.
- Follow all safety instructions properly, specially the ones instructed by your pilot.
- Do not over eat or drink before your flight; wear light clothes.
- There is no age limit as such but kids below 18 are not allowed to fly without parents. You must be within the weight limit of 120 kg.
Things to do in Bir Billing
Bir Billing is a package — a complete package of adventure and unwinding sojourns. It has got numerous short treks to climb and hike, monasteries to see and places to explore. Here is a list of things to do and places to visit in Bir Billing:
- Trek to Raj Gundha village – semi-tribal living of the villagers is must-see.
- Hanumangarh day hike to the top of valley (11500 feet)
- Mountain biking
- Palpung Sherabling Monastery, Baijnath
- Mukut Nath Temple at Sansal, 8 km from Bir – See the first planted Tulsi here
- 9th century Baijnath Temple (12 km from Bir)
- Tatani hot water spring (28 km of drive and 6 km of trek from Bir)
- Tribal Bara Bhangal valley trek (8 Days to Chamba valley from Bir)
- Trout fishing, trekking, and a leisure stay at Barot Valley
- Palampur, for the tea estates gardens (29 km from Bir)
Where to stay in Bir Billing
Most of the times, paragliding operators arrange for the stay. However, if you are going on your own, here is a list of some good stay options in and around Bir Billing:
- Colonel’s Resort: Spacious, well-maintained, and has rooms and cottages with built-in fireplace to rent
Tariff: INR 1,250 onwards
- Bhawani Guest House: 9 comfortable rooms with attached bathrooms
Tariff: INR 300-700 for double rooms
Phone: 1894268025, 98574-60215, 94180-15525
- Dharmalaya Institute: Family homestays with private rooms and long-term rentals.
- Chokling Guesthouse: Near Chokling Monastery, 16 rooms with attached bathrooms and solar-heated showers
Tariff: INR 250 onwards
Contact: 8894232589, 88941-12325
And just before we wrap up, here is all you need to know about your expenditure for Paragliding in Bir Billing
The price varies according to the type of flying. A normal tandem flying costs INR 1,500 onwards that allows you to fly for some 15 to 20 minutes. The operators often combine paragliding with trekking and camping options and hence the packages start from INR 5,500 onwards. Also, the courses which may last up to 9 days, are priced at INR 9,900 onwards.
That’s it from our side. Go, jump, glide, paraglide and soar through the skies — for the man is meant to fly high. And do let us know if you have any specific queries.
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