Tag Archives: Gliding

Triund-Bir-Billing-Palampur

Palampur Bikers Club organized a one of a kind, Multi-Activity Program (MAP) during month of April 2015. The program started from 2nd April and ended on 6th April. I was one of the participants of MAP and here is a story from a participant’s perspective.
 
We started off our journey to Dharamshala early morning on 2nd April from Delhi, fully excited and eager to participate in the programs scheduled for next 3 days. We covered a journey of about 500 Kms in about 12 hrs with breaks and fun in all way. Rains played spoil sport while we entered Himachal but we reached Dharamshala around 10:00 P.M ; had dinner and slept for the day.
 
Route we followed

 
On 3rd April, at around 7 A.M. we all geared up our shoes and got ready for the trek to Triund. Triund is one of the major tourist attraction situated in McLeodganj, Dharamshala, giving a perfect view of Dhauladhar Mountains. It is a very popular trek attracting people not only from India but all over the world. Trekking to Triund hills can be easily covered by any age group.
 
A group photo after Breakfast at the Mclo Roof top restaurant
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It was a challenge for us as the weather conditions were not favorable, the rain Gods were too happy to see us as it was raining cats and dogs in McLeodganj. There were lot of questions coming in everyone’s mind but nothing could stop us. In the meanwhile, while we were waiting for the rains to stop, the group members decided to visit the nearby Monastery. It turned out to be good decision as the place is so peaceful, Buddhism culture spread in every corner indicating the power of the Almighty Lord.
 
Monestery at McleodGanj
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The monks were offering their regular prayer while all the visiting tourists were mesmerized by the beauty and art of the place. The idols of Lord Buddha were imposing with an exotic fragrance surrounding the environment.
 
At the Mclo Monestery entrance
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After the visit to monastery the members decided to start of the trek, the weather was somewhat clearing and we thought let’s start and will see what happens. I guess the saying- “Where there is a will, there is a way”, suited us best at that moment. There were groups of people heading towards the Triud hill as everybody was on a long weekend.
 
Triund Trek begins
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We started the trek around 11:00 AM and covered the half way mark quickly. Even rain gods encouraged us to carry on as there were no rains since we started. But it was not long before rain gods came to greet us, everybody was enjoying a different experience this time, but hold your breath there is a lot more to come this way this time. By the time we reached Magic Café, the oldest tea stall on our way, heavy rains welcomed us.
 
We also met the other PBC members and Participants who were coming down from the Triund after enjoying their night stay at Triund hill. A quick introduction round with all members and participants followed with photo session.
 
A group photo with all the members and participants
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We also got the first-hand information about the conditions ahead and after a quick tea break our group moved on towards Triund hill while the other group moved down.
 
As we moved on, rain gods came again and this time they were not alone but came with a companion. The companion called,”Hail Storm”; we were in the tricky part of our trek and this was not a good time for Hail storm. You cannot reason with nature and Gods, that’s the way they are, we mortal souls have to adapt to their ways. We adapted, pulled up our socks, covered our self with everything we have got and marched on.
 
Negotiating thru slippery snow surface on the way to Triund
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By the time we reached the top of Triund Hill we were all wet, but the excitement was still there. After such an experience, looking at the snow covered top of Triund finally gave us a feeling that we made it again. But this was not enough that day, lightning and thunderbolts, shocked us. This was truly adventurous experiencing everything in one go. It was all foggy and we could hardly see for few meters. It would have been great if clouds could vanish for few minutes to get us look of mighty Dhauladhars.
 
View from the Triund Hill
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We had our lunch in the small shop at the Triund hill and spent around an hour roaming around on the Trund hill. We atrted our journey back around 4 P.M and rain gods accompanied us all along. The decent down was more challenging then the accent. There were a couple of tricky sections but the groups managed to cross them and were back at the road head by 6:30 P.M.
 
We then moved on to our next destination i.e. Palampur which was our halt for next 2 days. All tired and drenched in rain, the members decided to take rest as tomorrow was an another big day.
 
As per the schedule, around 8:00 AM everybody started off for the next big adventure sport, Paragliding from the world best 2nd highest place, Bir Billing around 30kms from Palampur. We reached there in about an hour but again the ball was not in our court today as the clouds covered the dhauladhar range and this type of weather is not favorable for Paragliding. We were left with no option but we had to wait for the weather to be clear, we used this spare time to visit some monasteries in Bir. I must say the monasteries are the place where one can find peace and can have a deep dive in their own selves.
 
Bir Monestery
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We had amazing lunch in Bir and kept waiting for the Dear God to make some magic and allow us to fly. But our hard luck , the weather did not clear.
 
Another view of the beautiful monastery
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So we decided to go back to Palampur and try again tomorrow, if weather permits. On our way back to Palampur we went to the famous Baijnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is amongst the 12 Jyotirlings in the world.
 
Baijnath Temple
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The temple is magnificent with devotees all around. It is believed that the temple is based there as while taking Lord Shiva along with him, Ravana, the king of Demons, handed over the Shivling to Lord Krishna who was in disguise of the shepherd which he was not actually supposed to do. As blessed by Lord Shiva, Ravana was to carry the shivling in which Lord Shiva based himself and do not put the shivling down anywhere but as a part of game which all the Lords planned out Ravana made that mistake. And that is the shivling which was then merged on the ground and is today preached. The temple has beautiful carving on it. The temple is surrounded by gardens from all 4 sides.
 
With this another day of our trip was passed by visiting all the blessed places and enjoying to the fullest now it was time for some social activities.
 
PBC members and participants installing dust bins
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PBC installed 12 dustbins between Saurabh Van Vihar and Awarna village. PBC strongly believes in preserving Mother Nature and aims at keeping the beautiful place Palampur clean. A clean up drive was taken up too.
 
Contributing towards social initiatives by PBC
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After having a tough schedule, all the gap-shap and dinner everyone decided to take rest as the following day was actually packed. We left the hotel around 8:0 A.M in morning and towards Bir again just with a hope to fly.
 
Members getting ready to fly from take off point at Billing
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Finally the weather was pleasant and sunny. We were taken to Billing,14 kms, the takeoff site for gliders by our pilots who were to accompany us in flying. It is 2400 mtrs above the sea level. And now comes the best part of this tour- CANOPY..HEIGHT..PILOTS..RUN..AND..AND..AND…A FINAL FLY…I must say it is thrilling once you run against the wind flow and within fractions of seconds you find yourself up in the air. It’s the best feeling one could get. One would feel like a bird up there with the beautiful dhauladhar range just parallel to you and all the houses on the ground appearing to be tiny toys. Well each one of us got a chance to share the experience of pilots with us.
 
 ?????????????Members enjoying their time during the flight
 
A member of PBC even did some stunts up there in the air getting his canopy into 360 degree rotation 4 times…..and this was actually stunning and of course PBC is all about adventure and pleasant surprises. We all got a chance to make our videos with GoPro cameras while flying. This flight left everybody lost in their own world of amusement. Finally we landed at different intervals of 30 – 40 mins. It was worth every bit of it. If you have that spirit in you, “Do not miss it , Just go and do it.”
 
With this our wonderful trip to the sky was fully accomplished and we all started back for Delhi and finally a wonderful journey was covered in about 12 hrs and the members reached by 6:00 AM on Monday morning.
 
Magical view of Pir Panjal Range
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So guys just go and do it.
 
“This is the right age..the right time..and the right group that would take you to the best places around. Come and join and be a part of Palampur Bikers Club as – “Some Call it adventure, We call it life” “
 
Travel Story by Aakanksha Sandhu
 

Bir Billing – Kangra (Himachal Pradesh , India)

Bir: Bir is a village located in the west of the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. Bir is a noted center for ecotourism, spiritual studies and meditation. Bir is also home to a Tibetan refugee settlement with several Buddhist monasteries and a large stupa. It is situated approximately 50 km of Dharamshala on Pathankot – Mandi National Highway 20.It would take you approx 3 hrs to reach Bir by road.

Billing: Billing is noted as a popular site for paragliding approx 14 kms from Bir. A narrow but fairly good road can take you to Billing site at approx. 2540 mtrs above sea level in an hour. The paragliding launch site is in the meadow at Billing while the landing site and most tourist accommodations are in the village of Chowgan at Bir.

Location Map

Bir - Billing (Kangra , Himachal)
Bir – Billing (Kangra , Himachal)

What to do?

Meditation: Periodic classes seminars on a variety of topics including philosophy, meditation, health, ecology, spiritual retreats for stress release and holistic living. There are institutes who offer variety of these courses.

Paragliding: This is probably the biggest attraction to adventure seekers. Bir is regarded by international paragliding groups as the second best site in the world for paragliding. The launch site is located at Billing (14 kms) motor-able road. While experienced pilots bring their own gliders and fly solo, beginners can take flights, in which a skilled instructor takes you up in a two-seated glider. This allows the beginner to have the experience with minimal risk.The Paragliding World Cup 2015 will be organized from October 24-31 under the aegis of Para-gliding World Cup Association, France. India bid to host the World Cup and won because of the sound infrastructure that was set up at Bir-Billing for the paragliding pre-World Cup-2013. 2 years after successfully hosting the paragliding pre-World Cup amidst the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, the mega tournament will now be held in the country for the first time. India will host the Paragliding World Cup 2015 in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, which is considered one of the finest aero sports sites in the world.

Monastery: Chokling Monastery , Palyul Chokhorling Monastery , Sherab Ling Monastery.

Weather:

Avg. summer temperature

34 °C (93 °F)
Avg. winter temperature −4 °C (25 °F)

For current weather conditions you can also refer to www.meoweather.com/weather/India/na/32.05/76.7/Bir.html?units=c#

How to get there:

By Air: The closest airport to Bir is Dharamshala airport(known as Gaggal) aprox 30-45 minutes from Dharamshala and there are direct flights from Delhi to Gaggal. Please be advised that due to weather and other issues Delhi – Gaggal flights are often canceled at the last minute. It will be better to have an alternative plan ready just in case this happens.

By Train:
There are 2 options if you prefer trains:
1-Train from Delhi to Pathankot/ Chakki Bank and then bus/taxi to Bir (5-6 hrs)
2-Train from Delhi to Pathankot/ Chakki Bank and then narrow gauge train onwards to Ahju (3 kms from Bir) – Delhi – Pathankot (550 kms , 10 hrs) + Pathankot – Ahju (245 kms , 8-9 hrs)

By Bus: Delhi to Bir is about 12-14 hours journey. Daily Volvo bus service by Himachal Roadways is available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate till Baijnath (15 kms from Bir).Alternatively you can also get a direct bus (Non-Volvo) till Bir Road (3 kms from Bir) , Look for Delhi – Jogindernagar bus.

From Dharamshala: Although regular buses ply on this route but a direct bus will be less frequent. You can hop on to any bus bound for Palampur and continue from Palampur to Bir. Since Dharamshala is not on National Highway 20 route (Pathankot – Mandi) hence long route buses which pass thru Bir are less frequent from Dharamshala.

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