Paragliding across the skies in Bir Billing

Himachal Pradesh is synonymous to adventure sports, in India. The hub of road trippers, trekkers and all other adrenaline junkies. We too had one of the one such experience at Himachal, Paragliding at India’s First and Highest Paragliding Site, Bir Billing. On 22nd June, we boarded a flight to Dharamshala for an experience of a lifetime. Paragliding over the Himalayas and capturing it on Panasonic’s Lumix cameras. After de-boarding the flight at the beautiful hilltop airport in Dharamshala, we headed to the campsite which was our home for the trip. On our way up-hill, we stopped for lunch at Sarovar Portico in Palampur. The revolving restaurant there Cloud 7, was a delight and food was amazing too.

View from Sarovar Portico, Palampur
Lunch at Sarovar Portico, Palampur
 

We quickly covered the rest of the road journey and reached the campsite before the day ended. In the evening we had a leisurely walk up to the take-off point, I was stunned. Literally stunned. A vast open meadow, a nerve chilling slope and clouds swaying across a deep crimson sky. It was more than perfect.
We returned to our luxury tents at the campsite before nightfall to relax, snooze and refresh. It was then that we attended the orientation workshop to guide us with the features of the Panasonic Lumix G7, GH5, GH5S, G85, cameras. The awesomeness of the evening was beautifully complemented by drink, dance, bonfire, barbecue and a  lavish dinner.

We woke up to a breathtaking view the next day, magestic mountains, beautiful sky, greenery all around… As soon as we gobbled down the breakfast provided at the campsite, we were pumped up and headed up to the take-off point. Soon, the gear was set up and the first professional pilot took off towards the horizon. A loud cheer roared and within moments we are airborne. Strong winds fluttered loose ends of our clothes, and I could feel the gust in my hair through the protective helmet. My camera was set up but I lost track and forgot to shoot my take off. Who wouldn’t? 20 minutes of pure bliss and 20 minutes behind the camera, but completely in the moment. The worries of the world escaped me, and the rush of hormonal amines took over everything that I am, I was and I will be. The Himalayas had me swaying in oblivion. It was an experience like no other. 

After I landed, I started shooting each paraglider that followed. The entire scene looked theatrical, and we captured some splendid photos and videos.
We said goodbye to the pilots and hiked to the Land of Waterfalls, Gunehar River Pool & Waterfalls. The place had earned this moniker due to its unique landscape and numerous waterfalls. We had to cover a beautiful and serene trek of about an hour from the landing point. With the great Panasonic Lumix cameras in our hands we captured stunning photographs and awesome 4K, cinemagraph and timelapse videos. It was an amazing learning experience, like no other that I have ever had.

Tsering Jong Monastery, Bir

Post this we were taken to some of the most tranquil monasteries and it was there that our bellies rejoiced over a scintillating hot lunch. We then headed to check out some of the local sightseeing areas. The best part about this was the fact that we explored the area on mountain bikes. We visited some of the most tranquil monasteries and quaint villages. The roads between vast verdant meadows were extremely marvellous. It was a great warming-down experience for all the rush that had us pumped. The places were picture perfect and I got tonnes of display photos for my social media handles. Just saying’ guys!

Nyingma Monastery

With traditional dance and a soul-warming bonfire, we let sleep take us to the past and in the air, under the paraglider, all over again. In the morning that followed, after breakfast, we headed out to check out the fabled city of Dharamshala. The city needs no description, we all know how beautiful it is and most of us have explored its obscure secrets too. Soon, our trip’s itinerary signalled its curtain call and we knew we had to head home.


Here’s my quick guide to Bir Billing 

Why Visit?

Soar between the majestic Himalayan landscape. Explore the heart of nature on foot and visit tranquil monasteries scattered around the area.

 

How to Reach? 

Bir Billing is 50 km from Dharamshala and you can cover it in about 2 hours. Fly to Dharamshala or take an overnight bus from ISBT in New Delhi.

What to do? 

It is a perfect place for long weekends and adventure trips. A hiker’s paradise, the area can also be explored on bikes and bicycles.

Special Tips 

– Maintain physical fitness

– Wear light shoes, and make sure they are tied secure

– Make sure the shoes have a good grip for landing and takeoffs

– Wear a light wind-sheeter and heavy-duty types of denim

– Sunscreen and rad looking shades for all those DPs you’ll be clicking.

– Lastly, DO NOT forget to enjoy. 🙂

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