Sheltered by the mountains and surrounded by tea gardens, Bir a small village with a Tibetan Colony and monasteries in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh; serves as a landing ground and a base for Hang and Para gliders. Their launching (take-off) destination 'Billing', is a little meadow at 2,400m (8500 ft) on the Dhauladhar ranges, 14-km up from Bir. This meadow one of the wonders of nature, perfectly designed as a launch pad, has become a legend on the international paragliding circuits and a destination for World Champion Paraglider pilots. The meadow directly above the villages of Bir and Chaugan, is one of the best gliding sites in the world.
From Billing, the range runs all the way to Dharamsala, separating the Kangra valley from Chamba. To the north of the meadow is the high peaks and to the south the plains. The fall from the meadow is about one kilometre and an average straight TTB ( top to bottom) flight to the Chaughan landing area lasts for about 25-30 minutes. If the conditions (like weather, wind speed and direction, cloud base of 4000-5000m etc) are right, one can make a 'Cross Country' distance flight from Billing to Manali or Billing to Dharamsala (90km). The flying is generally 'ridge-hopping' ie. getting lift from the ridges or cliff edges running down from the main spine of the range. 'Ridge lifts' caused by wind hitting a hillside and 'Thermals' (columns of hot air) are used by the glider to rise higher. Thermalling is an essential skill for flying in Billing. In Billing, thermals are found on a regular basis over a temple hence called the 'Thermal Devta', halfway down the eastern spur running down to Bir.
The temple can be identified from the air by a red ribbon tied to a tree top. In the Billing - Dharamsala flight route there are 15 or so ridges. You can have the company of the Huge Himalayan Griffin Vultures during flight. Billing is also easily top- landable.
Para Gliding Spot
- Billing, Bir Village, Kangra district (Himchal Pradesh , India)
- Billing height: 8,500 feet
Best time for gliding
- March to May before the monsoon & September to November