A place that makes you want to extend your stay, Bir in Himachal is one such gem. The village remains untouched, its authenticity preserved, unlike the likes of Manali or Dharamshala. A popular spot, Bir is hailed for its veracity, warm hospitality, and welcoming countryside vibe.
Our first stint in paragliding happened at Bir, and we stayed an extra three days to soak in the ethos of Bir. We explored what Bir had to offer and the things touted as must-dos. With that in mind, we compiled a list of Bir’s ten best things to do beyond just paragliding.
10 Things To Do In Bir, Beyond Paragliding
1. Bathe in the Tatwani Hot Spring
Unbeknownst to several tourists, the Tatwani hot water spring is a natural open hot water spring. Imagine a frigid glacier’s water turning warm in the middle of the mountains. Such is the magnificence of nature that we don’t know much about. Visiting this place is a must while you’re at Bir. You can reach Tatwani via your usual commute, but you also have to hike from the point beyond which vehicles won’t suffice. We’ve narrated more on this in a detailed blog; be sure to check that out.
2. Explore the Bangoru Waterfall
Bangoru Waterfall, also known as the Gunehar Hidden Waterfall, must be on your bucket list. The scenic spot is located just 5 Km from Bir and is a refreshing getaway for wanderers who want to soothe their souls. The hike to the place is short and apt for beginners. However, be warned, there are huge slippery boulders that you need to tackle while crossing the water. You can hire a local guide for INR 100-200 per person.
3. Hike to the Tribal Village in Panjoldough
If you continue your hike beyond the Bangoru Waterfall via Bheem Pathar, you will reach the Psakot Mandir. In the Panjoldugh Valley in Billing, there resides a settlement where you can see simple village life nestled in the mountains. This is a sight to soak up. The houses in the village are still run by solar power. In a serene, remote, and peaceful setting, the settlement exudes tranquility like no other place. The locals arrange rooms and food for the guests at INR 1500 per day. Reaching this remote village takes about 1 – 2 hours from Bir, and trust us, it is absolutely worth it.
4. Watch an Epic Sunset
Sunsets at Bir are truly mesmerizing. The entire sky is painted with shades of red. The crimson hues serve as a backdrop to the paragliders. You can see their silhouettes at the landing site during the golden hours. Words cannot express the simple beauty it offers. Paragliders dance in the fading light, their silhouettes soaring and swirling, adding a touch of ethereal beauty to the descending dusk. It turned out to be one of the best things we ever saw. A celebration of the merging of nature’s grandeur with human adventure.
5. Taste Tibetan & Himachal Foods
Siddu and Himachali Thali are sought after among tourists. Siddu is made of wheat flour with nuts on the inside. Over the years, the stuffings have changed to include sweets, veggies, eggs, and meat, offering different flavors. The Himachali Thali is a set of assorted dishes available in veg and non-veg options. This thali differs from region to region within the state of Himachal Pradesh. Laphing is a Tibetan street food that resembles a fat momo. The bigger, the better.
Apart from this, there are several bakeries and wine shops lined up. You can even get South Indian cuisines, momos, pizzas, and a whole lot more.
6. Go Cycling & Camping
Cycling is popular among foreigners visiting Bir Billing for an extended stay. People rent bicycles to explore the nearby valleys in and around Bir Billing. You can rent one for as low as INR 200 per day. Pitch your tent at Billing to view the breathtaking valley of Bir below. One of our suggestions would be to stay in this natural setting, enjoy a campfire, and gaze at the sky.
7. Study at the Deer Park Institute
A spot made for studying classical Indian wisdom traditions, the Deer Park Institute was established in March 2006 on the campus of a former Buddhist monastic institute. It is a project under Siddhartha’s Intent Society that offers short-term courses for 1 week up to 3 months and long-term courses for 3 to 12 months. The students and guests need to follow certain rules and regulations. Refer here for more programs and events.
- Office hours: 9 AM to 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Closed on Sundays
- Official website: deerpark.in
- Contact Details: +911894268508, email@example.com
8. Visit the Monasteries
Discovered as a settlement for the Tibetan refugees, Bir is the home of numerous monasteries. In Buddhism, monasteries are significant cultural and historical places of worship. These are serene spots that you can visit, sit for a while, meditate, listen to the prayers of the monks, and donate.
A few monasteries in Bir are listed below:
- Nyingma Monastery
- Peme Awam Choegar Gyurme Ling Monastery
- Sherabling Monastery
- Tashi Jong Khampagar Monastery
- Tsering Jong Monastery
9. Hop on a Toy Train
The Ahju Railway Station is just 3 Km from the landing site in Bir. A special train (Train no: 04601, 04602) runs between Pathankot in Punjab and Johinder Nagar in Himachal and crosses via Ahju at 11:00 and 19:00 hours. These trains traverse via scenic pine trees, rivers, tunnels, and bridges and run at an average speed of 16.98 kmph. These trains have a record of getting delayed or canceled often. It is better to check the official IRCTC website if you’re planning to hop on one.
10. Rajgunda Valley Trek
Located at 2500 m, Rajgunda Valley is a popular trek in the region. The panoramic views of the snow-clad Dhauladhar mountain range are breathtaking. We didn’t do this trek personally as it takes 2-3 days, and we were short of time. Few trekkers even extend their treks beyond Rajgunda Valley and continue further. Many travel agencies offer guided tours for this one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bir different from Billing?
Bir and Billing are two different villages that are located near each other. Bir is the settlement located at 1500 m, while Billing, also known as the Upper Bir, is located at 2400 m
How many days are required to visit Bir?
A minimum of 3 days is required to get the most out of Bir. As this blog justifies, there is so much more to do in Bir other than just paragliding.
When is the best time to visit Bir Billing?
Bir’s paragliding seasons are April, May, June, November, and October. This is also the best time to visit Bir Billing.
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