It’s an incredible feeling when you get to paraglide from Asia’s highest and World’s 2nd highest paragliding spot – Bir Billing will definitely charm you with more than that
After having savored the sights and sounds of Manali we headed to Bir Billing for a tick off from my bucket list – yes, for paragliding from Asia’s highest site for paragliding.
Just the thought of flying off from a mountain top was enough to shoot off the adrenaline levels but the experience was even more exhilarating. It was definitely worth the effort.
We started from Manali after a second round of shopping and binging at the German Bakery. It took us around 7 hours to reach Bir from Manali and we checked into Tatva Bir Tents and Hotels at Bir for the night.
STAY AT TATVA BIR
These are luxury Swiss tents that are surrounded by hills and splendid green cover on all sides. There are 9 tents that get their names from different colours of the rainbow. We stayed in Indigo and all interiors including the paintings were hinting Indigo. With attached bathrooms and comfortable beds with TVs this was the closest we have come to luxury in tents.
There is a family tent as well that is suitable for large families or groups and there are 6 rooms also that offer the pool view or the Billing view.
Having found the perfect abode for the night we parked our tempo traveller and headed straight for the dining room. Tatva Bir can rightly be called home away from home once you have tasted food at this place. It was a decent spread with dal, chicken, paneer and one more vegetable with some hot rotis and rice. Each dish was cooked with love and even served with love.
The play area is where all the action takes place and there was a bonfire too that kept the kids and adults warm with some peppy music numbers. But keep it within deadlines for you are not allowed to play music outside after 10 pm.
Early mornings are best at Tatva, as soon as you get out of your tent you can hear various species of birds chirping away to glory; that cacophony is more than welcome and sounds like music to ears. You can understand what I am talking about by listening to the audio of this video.
PARAGLIDING FROM BIR TO BILLING
We had to leave for our paragliding slot at 7 in the morning and there was a vehicle all set with pilots and chutes to take us to the mountain top in Billing. In what was a thrilling ride to the top for about 30 to 45 minutes all what we could do was soak in some spectacular views of the Dhauladhar ranges and the bright and blooming Rhododendron flowers that stood in stark contrast to the green and brown colour of the mountain. The road was quite narrow and the turns were sharp but the driver cum pilot was so comfortable with the vehicle on that road that we could sit easy.
Reaching the top we were quickly assigned to one pilot each and we were briefed as to how we should take the run up and sit and land subsequently. All of us were so eager but slightly nervous and everything happened in such a jiffy that I did not get any time to soak in the feeling that I am going to jump off the mountain and fly. But once in air it seemed like I have all the time in the world to see, watch, listen and feel the wind on my face.
My YouTube video of paragliding
The pilot helped with the filming of my video, in hindsight I think I could have done a better job with the selfie stick. I am, anyways; better off behind the camera (I am going to overcome this handicap soon though, promising self.)
As I swayed with the wind I could see white snow covered Dhauladhar Ranges on one side and Bir with its tiny little houses and fields and vast expanse of green cover on the other side. My pilot Ajay asked me if I was ok with some stunts in air and I readily said yes but honestly I liked gilding better than going round in circles in air; made me feel a little giddy.
Cheryl’s video of paragliding
We had been in air for more than 10 minutes and then we started our descent. As the pilot manoeuvred the chute towards the landing site in Bir he told about my leg position at the time of landing and in a few minutes we landed smoothly. It was a wonderful experience and bird’s eye view is definitely a cool way of looking at things.
At times, if we look at life-like that (bird’s eye view) many problems will look so small in the vast expanse of life.
Arshiya’s video of paragliding
Once all of us landed we were eager to look at the videos of the kids and keen to know how they felt like. All three kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly and were already asking when they could be back again.
The pick up from the tent was only one way so we had to manage back to the tents on our own.
Rohit’s video of paragliding
Upon reaching there we had a sumptuous breakfast of hot aaloo paranthas with butter and curd and hot chai. We couldn’t stop discussing our flight from Billing to Bir and were busy munching on. It was time to leave Tatva Bir but frankly we didn’t want to because we hardly spent time at the property.
After breakfast kids played some cricket while we enjoyed on the swings and clicked some pictures at the hotel. It had plenty of blooming flowers with variety of roses dominating the show.
This place deserved another night of stay to enjoy the ambiance but we had plans so we had to leave.
On our way back to Delhi we stopped at Baijnath Temple which is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 12 jyotrlingas.
Tips for Family Travel:
Tatva Bir Tents is definitely worth staying with families and large group of friends.
- You can book yourself for a session of paragliding through the hotel you are staying at Bir.
- Plan more than just paragliding here for this place is a haven for rejuvenating and relaxing.
- Get a good book or just meditate in the greens lawns of the hotel.
- Go out and take long walks in the evening.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes during paragliding.
- Follow the instructions of your pilot while taking off and landing.
- Go on a light stomach condition for the flight.
- Pose nicely while on the flight when shooting because it ain’t happening again soon.
- Bir (at 4300 ft above sea level) is the landing site and Billing (8000ft above sea level) is the take off spot but the place is referred to as Bir Billing.