Pre World-Cup Paragliding Championship at Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh, INDIA || A Photo Journey by Shailesh Bhatnagar
When it comes to Adventure Sports, Paragliding brings a lot of exciting. Nowadays there are various places which offer Paragliding experience with trained folks from various Adventure Sports Schools in India, New Zealand or other countries. Today, we are going to share some of the moments from one of the most popular Paragliding sites in the world - Bir Billing, which is located in Himachal Pradesh state of India. let's check out this Photo Journey and know more about Bir Billing & Pre World-Cup Championship which happens here.
The paragliding site at Bir-Billing in Kangra district near Baijnath is considered as one of the best in the world for Paragliding. Billing which is 2290 meters high, is the take-off site and Bir at around1400 meters is the village at the landing site.The road distance between the two is 14 km. There is a steep drive from Ahaju to Billing and road is tight with some rough patches.
During October 2013 (24 - 30 October), Pre World-Cup event happened at Bir Billing. Approximately 107 pilots including 12 women pilots from all over the country and 25 foreign countries participated in the event. It's a very special event of India and of-course, something that brings big smiles on the faces of local people around this space. In fact, many of the tourists prefer to visit Palampur region during this time.
During Pre-world cup of paragliding, the day one was spoiled by bad weather conditions due to which practice task was suspended. Urban development minister Sudhir Sharma who is also the president of Billing Paragliding Association was there at opening ceremony of the event. On the way from Billing to Bir, there are mountains to different heights and which brings romance to the flight. Para-gliders start and see a series of Mountains and after reaching nearby they are exposed to next level of mountains. Basically Bir is sheltered by the Dhauladhar mountains and the ridges behind keep rising to 3200 meters, 4500 meters, 5000 mtrs and one after the other so as pilot can fly at 4500 and still watch the mountains tower above.
Above photograph shows a sight around Bir, where Pilots are waiting for other Paragliders to land. Bir is a beautiful village surrounded by tea gardens and spectacular scenery, whereas Billing offers unique opportunities for high altitude and cross country flying and flights of 180 kilometers have been achieved from here.
The flights from Billing to Bir crossed through beautiful mountains facing a lush green valley and highway connecting Mandi with Dharmshala. The most important thing of this region is its weather and this is one of the main reason that I dream of a house in Palampur which is quite near to this place. Usually during normal weather pilot fly around 100 kilometers and even in bad weather pilots can still fly around 25 kilometers. October & November are the ideal months for flying and March to May is also flyable but conditions are very strong in spring...
The small towns of Taragarh, Baijnath and Jogindernagar are close to Bir- Billing and my favorite town Palampur is around 30 kilometers from Bir. Himachal Pradesh has been conducting International Paragliding competitions since 2002.
Bir Billing is definitely a brilliant place to do Paragliding. In Himachal, there are various place but the experience of take off form Billing and experiencing the magnificent view to the valley is unmatchable. Other Paragliding options in Himachal are around Solang Valley near Manali, Marthi which is on the to Rohtang Pass along with some smaller options around Shimla and Dalhousie. The experience of Bir Billing and Marhi is exceptional. But please note that at billing, there is hardly anything. There is small tea shop who can connect you to folks who can help you in experiencing Paragliding but recommendation is to connect with appropriate folks before you start climbing up towards Billing.
Jamil Messanger topped in the men's category of the Paragliding Pre-World Cup Championships at Bir in Kangra district, while Poland's Klaudia Bulga Kow emerged winner in the women's section. Besides a gold medal and a trophy, the first prize in men's category carried a cash award of Rs 2 lac 50 thousands while the amount of cash prize in women section was Rs 75000. There was a particular category for Indians and Ajay Kumar Sharma topped in this category and was given a cash prize of Rs 1.10 lac. Another prize called 'talent prize' was bagged by Kamal Kishore.
Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Virbhadra Singh, was there at Prize distribution ceremony. He hoped that the event would continue in great spirit in future and would attract more participants from abroad. Virbhadra Singh assured that the matter regarding setting up of National Institute of Paragliding and Adventure Sports at Bir would be taken up with Government of India. This is definitely a great news and wish that it happens soon. During the same time, Mr Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh repeated that the efforts would be made to develop an 18-hole golf course at Bir to make it an all weather sports destination. Although I don't understand the connection between Golf and Paragliding. Bir Billing is a proven place for Paragliding and unable to understand how it's connected to Golf course. let's see..