The quaint little village of Bir is nestled in an enchanting valley in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, while Billing lies much higher, 18 km away.
At one time, though far removed from the travel circuit of the normal tourist map, Bir Billing today, has gradually gained in reputation of being one of the best places in the world for the popular adventure sport of tandem paragliding, while at the same time enjoying camping in the Billing valley hills.
Since Bir has just developed into a premier destination, there are no direct connections with any major Indian city including Delhi, either by rail, road or air. However the nearest one can reach by road is the famous pilgrim Center of Baijnath, from where Bir is just a short 30 minute drive by private transport.
However, if you are up for an adrenaline filled adventure, here I have highlighted the different ways you can get to Bir, not only from Delhi but from other nearby cities as well.
My trip to Bir-Billing with Panasonic India was simply flying into Dharamshala and taking cabs to the lovely village of Bir. This is the most expensive option though so I am detailing other ways as well.
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How to Reach Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh
Bir by Road- Self Drive
There are two routes to Bir from Delhi. One goes via Ambala, Rupnagar, Kiratpur, Bilaspur, Mandi, Joginder Nagar to Bir chowk. From Bir chowk, Bir is just 4km away. The second route diverts from Rupnagar to Anandpur Sahib, Una, Lange’s, Palampur, Baijnath and then to Bir. The busy route via Mandi is best avoided. Not only that, the second route is scenic and shorter. Once you are in Bir, the drive up to Billing is quite spectacular with paragliders dotting the horizon.
Tip – Book your rental vehicle damage insurance beforehand to ensure you are fully covered.
Bir by Road- Bus
Bir is about 500 km from Delhi and travel time is anything between 13 to 15 hours. There are frequent bus departures from ISBT Delhi for Mandi, with options ranging from budget to luxury buses. One has then to deboard at Mandi and catch a bus for Palampur and get down at Bir chowk. This is a well connected but busy route, with the heavy traffic till Mandi, taking away all the charm of a quiet holiday.
The other alternative is to catch a bus from ISBT Delhi to Kangra or Palampur, with easy onward connection to Baijnath and Bir chowk and even all the way to Bir. The service on this route is less frequent, but one will be rewarded with great views and good roads, even though you may have to change buses a number of times.
Bir by Air
This is by far the quickest way to reach Bir, but far more expensive as well. This is the mode we took during our recent trip to Bir Billing.
There are just two Dornier flights from Delhi to Dharamsala, the nearest airport. Visitors are advised to book well in advance as not only the seats get filled up fast but get far too expensive as the travel date approaches. The flight duration is one hour and fifteen minutes. From Dharamsala, Bir is another 70 km away and takes about two hours to reach. There are plenty of taxis and buses available during flight times to travel to Bir from the airport. Other nearby airport is Chandigarh, which is 290 km away from Bir.
Luckily, our press group had their own bunch of 5 comfortable innovas to transport us from Dharamsala airport to Bir. We also stopped to take pictures and silly selfies.
Bir by Train
Pathankot the nearest major railhead, is well connected to Delhi by a number of express overnight trains. The journey lasts around 12 hours but you get the luxury of resting on a sleeper berth. One can then catch the narrow gauge toy train which runs from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar and disembark either at Baijnath or Ahju, which is 3 km away from Bir. Shared taxis are available, both at Baijnath and Ahu for Bir. Keep in mind that the toy train is slow, but passes through some scenic routes and takes around nine hours to cover the distance. It is also important to arrive at Pathankot on time to catch the toy train.
Bir by Train and Bus
For the train loving budget traveler, this is the most feasible option of getting to Bir. Board the Himachal Express from Old Delhi station and get down at the last station of Amb Andaura. There are frequent services from Andaura bus stand to Baijnath, Kangra and Palampur, depending on which service leaves first.
So, if you are wondering how to reach Bir Billing from Delhi or other nearby cities, pick one of these options above.