Every time I saw a bird flying up high in the sky, I always pondered how amazing would it be if one could fly freely with them. I wanted to experience the joy of gliding across the sky, with an opportunity to enjoy an uninterrupted view of the beautiful earth below. So, when I read about the paragliding site at Bir-Billing, it was too good of an opportunity to ignore during my trip to Himachal Pradesh in Northern India.
Bir and Billing are two quaint villages located in the beautiful Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh. The area is often referred to as the “Paragliding Capital of India” as it is considered to be one of the best paragliding sites India. Over the years, it has been a favorite destination for professional paragliding pilots, adventure enthusiasts and curious souls like me to experience the joys of flying. The twin villages, tucked in the scenic hills of the Dhauladhar Range, hosted the World Paragliding Championship in 2016 and also hosts many National Championships between October and November. While Billing, which is at a height of 2400 meters, is the take-off site, Bir is the landing site, located about 14 km from Billing.
As I was visiting Himachal Pradesh to celebrate my birthday, I decided to kick-start my first day of being older by trying tandem paragliding at one of India’s highest sites. I pre-booked my adventure with Travel Bir Billing for a midday ride, along with my husband and two other friends. We drove from Dharamshala early in the morning to Bir, which is a good 2-hour drive. Our pilot Aravind, met us at the base office in Bir and drove us to the takeoff site in Billing. I must say, along with the pressure of doing the jump, I was scared for my life during the drive to the top, as it was one of the scariest drives I have ever encountered in my life. With every turn, the vehicle swooped across the narrow mud road with barely any space between the tires and the cliff edge. As we looked down our car window, we were excited and scared about what lay ahead of us.
As we reached the top of the hill, we were greeted with the beautiful sight of colorful gliders floating in the sky and people preparing for their rides. We were briefed about safety instructions and also the dos and don’ts during the ride by our pilot before providing us with harnesses. We were quickly brought to the takeoff position as the sky was getting darker, in turn affecting the wind speed. Within a few seconds, my pilot informed me to brace myself for the ride, asking me to start walking along with him towards the edge of the mountain. Sadly for me, the first attempt was not successful, as the glider started moving sideways, making me more anxious.
I braced myself for the second attempt as we walked once more towards the edge and, with a just blink of an eye, I was floating up in the air. I just couldn’t contain my excitement of finally being able to fly like a bird. Once airborne, the pilot quickly adjusted our glider and asked me to enjoy the next 15-20 minutes without any fear. My initial nervousness already forgotten, I happily enjoyed the view from 2500 meters above ground, taking in every minute detail visible from the sky. I was totally enthralled by the beauty of the hills, rolling gorgeously far away. The dense deodar trees from the top looked completely different, with only lush landscape covering the land for several miles.
After a while, we started descending downwards and I could catch a glimpse of the beautiful Bir village as we got closer. The pilot showed me around various spots in the village before preparing me for landing. Within a few minutes, we were flying down closer to the open area and I could spot my husband’s glider just about to touch the land. As I landed, I was disappointed it was all over, mentally considering if I could go back to the top and fly again. Sadly, we were one of the last few fliers that day as the wind direction and speed had changed, making me cancel my plans.
The ride was about 15-30 minutes long, and it was more thrilling than I had expected, as I got an opportunity to fly up high above the beautiful mountains, soaring through the cool wind, making my way freely like a bird. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate my birthday than this amazing adventure. Bir-Billing was the perfect place for me to experience the joys of paragliding, and it is no surprise that it is among the top ten paragliding spots in the world.
I hope you guys enjoyed my paragliding experience at Bir Billing. Do share your thoughts and experiences of paragliding if you have tried the adventure before in the comment box below. Also please do share the post and subscribe for future updates!