Bir is a rural village located in the west of Joginder Nagar Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. It's the paragliding capital of India and the location of the Bir Tibetan Colony, founded in the early 1960s as a settlement for Tibetan refugees after the 1959 Tibetan uprising.
Bir is noted for several Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and supportive centres of the Nyingma school, the Karma Kagyu school, and the Sakya school, located either in the town of Bir or nearby. A large stupa is also located in Bir. Ecotourism, spiritual studies, and meditation draws visitors.
The Tibetan Colony Bir
In 1966 the third Neten Chokling (1928-1973),an incarnate lama of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, brought his family and a small entourage to Bir. With the help of foreign aid, Neten Chokling purchased over 200 acres of land and established a Tibetan settlement where 300 Tibetan families were given land to build houses. At this time Chokling Rinpoche also started building a new Neten monastery in Bir and disciples who had followed him to India formed its first sangha. When the third Chokling Rinpoche died in 1973, his eldest son, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche (born 1951),assumed responsibility for completing his father's vision. The fourth Neten Chokling incarnation was born in 1973 in Bhutan and was brought to Bir at a young age where the family of the third Chokling took him under their wings. In 2004 full responsibility for Pema Ewam Chögar Gyurme Ling Monastery in Bir was passed to the fourth Neten Chokling.
The most famous spot in Billing is its paragliding take-off point, which is the world's second highest, towering at 8,000ft, offering panoramic views of the valley below. The landing site is in the western fields of Chowgan in Bir.
Geography Bir Billing
Bir Tibetan Colony is located in the western half of the village of Chowgan, on the southwestern edge of the town of Bir, in the Tehsil (administrative subdivision) of Baijnath, in Kangra district, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Bir Tibetan Colony is located east-southeast of Dharamshala and is three hours by bus from Dharamshala. It is situated 6 km south of the popular paragliding destination of Billing, on the way to the Thamsar Pass leading to Bara Bhangal.
Geologically, Bir is situated in the Dhauladhar Range of the foothills of the Indian Himalayas.
The nearest railway station is Ahju, on the narrow-gauge line running between Pathankot and Jogindernagar via Kangra.
Road access to Bir Tibetan Colony is from the Bir Road turnoff (signposted) on NH20, approximately midway between Baijnath and Jogindernagar.
The population of Bir Tibetan Colony is primarily Tibetan refugees, but there are also a number of Indian families and a small community of international expatriates and long-term visitors. Note that it is only the Bir Tibetan Colony itself that is primarily settled by Tibetan refugees: the population of the town of Bir proper is almost entirely Indian.
The majority of the Tibetan refugees based in Bir originally came from the Kham region of southeastern Tibet, but many of the refugees living in the colony today were born in India, and the population continues to diversify.
The Bir-Billing area is a popular site for paragliding; both Indians and visitors come from all over the world. The flying season is in September and October, with some flying in November. The village hosts international competitions and events.
The paragliding launch site is in the meadow at Billing (14 km north of Bir),at an elevation of 2400 meters, while the landing site and most tourist accommodations are in the village of Chowgan (also spelled Chaugan),on the southern edge of Bir.
How do I get into Bir Billing?
- By Air. Gaggal airport is the nearest airport from Bir BIlling, located at a distance of only 68 km from nearby Palampur
- By Train. Baijnath has its own Railway Station named as Baijnath Paprola Railway Station which is connected to the major cities of Kangra.
- By Road.
Billing Paragliding welcomes all of the visitors to Bir-Billing. We wish you a very happy holidays and hope that this visit to Bir-Billing will make way for many more visit to Bir Billing in future. We are an adventure sports company registered with HP Tourism Dharamshala. With a vision to develop tourism and related activities in Bir-Billing.