With the temperatures already soaring in the city, we all are looking for some quick respite and relief and if you are the ‘mountain person’ then this post is for you. While most of us are busy with our jobs, weekend in the only time when we can think to escape. So, get ready to pump up the Adrenalin in you and head to Bir Billing for the adventure of a life time…and the best part is, this trip is completely under budget!
Let us walk you deet by deet and day by day of this trip.
Friday- Board the Bus
After you wind up all your work at the office, pack up you bags and book a bus from any of the travel portals.
I booked mine from yatra.com. It was a deluxe Shaan-e-Himachal Volvo and the ticket costed Rs. 1,105.
You board the bus from Majnu Ka Tila and if the bus keeps you waiting you can binge on some dimsums nearby at the Tila. The bus takes approximately 9-10 hours which depends totally on the driver.
They do stop in the midway but the stop won’t be fancy like a Haveli etc. just a normal Dhaba/eatery.
Plug in those headphones, tuck into your blanket and sleep!
PS: In case you cannot sleep while travelling, enjoy the view as you touch the hills around 5 am.
Saturday- Hello Hills
Yes, you have reached your destination. Step down from the bus at the last stop and stretch out.
When it comes to accommodation, for all the single travellers and those bound by budget, blindly check into the Bir Zostel. Although I would advise you to make a prior booking as the place is always packed with people and sold out.
From the last stop where you will get down, it is a 10 min uphill walk to Zostel.
Beautiful, colourful, vibrant and totally in sync with the essence of the hills- Zostel is the place to stay. The staff is super cooperative and friendly plus you get to meet loads of new people. They have a small canteen with a rather elaborate menu. You can play games, read books, play the guitar, chit-chat or just relax on the roof and enjoy the cool breeze.
From private rooms to dorms, you can book anything. I stayed in the female dorm and a bed for one night costs Rs. 450 approx. actually less than this.
Itne saste mei itni kamaal jagah ..Wah ! – mark my words.
The check in time is 12 noon so till then you can take a tour of your home for the next 2 days, click loads of pictures and get your Insta story up as the view and the interiors of the place itself are pleasing.
Check into your room and take a short nap!
Once all your energy is restored, freshen up and have a nice meal at the Zostel itself. They have Indian. Continental and of course Maggi.
3:30 PM – Time to Paraglideeee!
Set the timings with the staff at Zostel, because every hour a jeep takes a group of people to the paragliding site which is quite far and very high up. Take a very small bag with yourself, just a bottle of water and wallet are enough. Tie up your laces and hop into the open jeep.
For about next 30 mins your stomach will churn with butterflies as you will realize how damn high you are going. This journey is the jeep will always stay with you. It will freak you out but is absolutely worth the fear. Once you are about to reach the site, you will start seeing parachutes in the air. Yay!
Once you reach the point, you will be approached by many in the business. Time for you to bargain, one round which is for about 40 mins (this seems too long but passes in a blink) will cost you from Rs. 1500- Rs. 2500. Bargain like a pro as you have ‘n’ number of para-gliders there.
As you pick one, they put on the gear, teach you some very easy basic safety stuff, they hand you a selfie stick which is tied on with a rope and your helmet already has a camera fixed on it to record the whole experience. Plus photographers shoot you from god knows where.
Time for you to JUMP & FLY. I won’t write much about this because you have to, absolutely have to experience this. All I can say is you would never have felt so free!
Once you have landed and the amazing feeling has sink in, get all your photos and videos transferred to your devices and just sit at the landing site and enjoy the sunset and those parachutes in the air.
While the options are few, 3 places you must eat at are:
- Silver Linings Café (near the landing site)
Small and quaint kachcha café, with loads of books some amazing coffee, tea and burgers, and a cute chef! 😉 A full meal will cost you around Rs. 300.
- Garden Café (10 mins walk from Zostel and the Landing Site)
For all those fancy Nutella pancakes, ham and cheese sandwich, English breakfast etc. An instagrammable place is this one. Approx Rs. 200 a dish.
- The 4 Tables (the one I missed L)
This place is somewhat exclusive. You need to book a table before 4 hours, they have set meals so you just need to tell them your preference between veg or non veg. The USP is that they screen a movie at night and that too in the open! <3
So have your dinner and drinks, head back to Zostel and do whatever you feel like.
Sunday – Explore on Wheels
The checkout time at Zostel is 10 am. So get up pack your bags, dump them in the common room and you have the full day to yourself as the same buses leave sometime around 6-7 pm.
Have a decadent breakfast and get ready to explore. You can take bicycles on rent with will cost you max. Rs. 200 for 4-5 hrs.
Following places absolutely blew me and all are approachable via bicycles.
- Choukling Monastery and Nyingma Monastery – I got lucky as at this time some special sort of prayer sessions were in commencement. Such peace, much wow!
- Tsering Jong Monastery and Palpung Sherabling Monastery – These are a little far from the main Bir and at times the entry is restricted.
- A waterfall which has no name – this one is in the opposite direction to Choukling Monastery
Rather than taking a cab, which the staff at Zostel can arrange for and is actually overpriced, I highly recommend taking a bicycle. If you don’t know how to ride one, give them 15 mins and they will make sure you learn it.
Enjoy your lunch and head back to Zostel. Freshen up in the common bathroom and head to the bust stop that is near the Garden Café. I took the same Shaan-e-Himachal Volvo and the price too was more or less the same.
Board the bus around 7pm and reach Delhi by 5-6 am on Monday morning. The bus stops at Manju ka Tila and a few other stops as well.
This roughly 3 day trip is the perfect getaway that you are craving for. The month of April and May are best suited to take this trip. Even if you spend very lavishly, including tickets and Zostel etc. the budget sets its ceiling at Rs. 6,000. If you spend more than this; hell yeah you are rich! Jokes apart, well within budget and full of surprises, serene views and thrilling experiences – head to Bir Billing as nature and adventure awaits you!
Routes by Road
Route 1:- Delhi – Ambala – Banur (chandigarh bypass) – kiratpur – Anandpur Sahib – Nagal – Una – Amb – Kangra – Palampur – Baijnath – Bir road – Bir : – 550 km. (Preferable route).
Route 2:- Delhi – Ambala – Banur(chandigarh bypass) – kharad – kiratpur – Bilaspur – Mandi – Jogindernagar – Bir road – Bir : – 530 km.
Travel Experience : Ritika Dhawan for Thecuratedbuzz by Foodmaniacs