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Top 5 Places to Visit in Bir

Bir is situated in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. One will find that the major population of this area consists of the Tibetan people, therefore, giving the place a Tibetan culture. Bir is quite famous for the adventure sports it offers. Right from trekking to paragliding, you will find all possible adventure sports close to nature. Bir is considered to be one of the best paragliding spots in the entire world; so much so that it even holds an yearly paragliding championship. These adventure sports are offered under great precautions and they are never fatal. Bir is also a place where people from all over the world come for meditation and spiritual studies. This town has a number of Buddhist monasteries and also many stupas. Bir has a number of places to visit. Listed below are just a few of them.

1. Deer Park Institute

If you are visiting Bir to learn something spiritually, the Deer Park Institute is just the place for you. The people here have the aim to recreate the environment of the great Nalanda University. Nalanda University, when at its glory, used to preach and practice all rituals of Buddhism along with the usual studies of philosophy, culture, art, meditation and so on. You can even enroll for any of the courses you are interested in. People who have been to this institute have come back with an enriching experience with a hope to get back there someday. However, if you cannot spend a lot of time in Bir, you can participate in the short workshops they organise on meditation.

2. Bir and Billing

Upper Paragliding takeoff at Bir-Billing, Photo by Okorok, CC BY-SA 3.0

As I mentioned earlier, Bir is very famous for paragliding. Bir-Billing is famous worldwide for creating an exceptional paragliding experience. Billing lies at the height of 8500 ft on the Dhauladhar ranges. This is the launching spot for paragliding. It has a perfectly designed launch pad that makes it easier and more comfortable for the people. Bir lies at a distance of 14 kms from Billing. Bir is the landing spot. The height difference is almost 800 m. The site of the lush green meadows and beautiful villages is probably the best site you would see in your entire lifetime. If you are an adventure enthusiast, paragliding at Bir-Billing should be on number one in your to-do list. Great precautions are taken for the safety of the gliders.

3. Bir Tea Factory

The town has miles and miles covered with tea plantations. It is a wonder to see the beautiful pastures blooming with tea leaves and watching the ladies work so hard to pluck those leaves. Since so much of the land is covered with tea plantations, it is only expected that the town will have a factory to produce the tea. Bir tea factory is located near the town market, known as the Bir Bazaar. It is a huge factory and people can take tours to go in and see how the tea is produced. It is amusing to watch how those little green leaves become small reddish seed-like things. A wide variety of tea is produced here.

4. Chokling Monastery

Chokling monastery is one of the most popular monasteries of Bir. It is home to the biggest stupa of Bir and also has a huge statue of Padmasambhava. There are a number of courses that go on for the students of the monastery. From time to time, they also host workshops open for the public. The monastery has a restaurant and a guest house.

5. Tibetan Colony

Fields near Bir Tibetan Colony, Photo (Cropped) by Dave Kleinschmidt, CC BY-SA 2.0

As you might already know, Bir has a great population of Tibetan people. These are usually refugees from Tibet. It was established somewhere around the year of 1960. Tibetan colony has a number of monasteries. It is also the same place where the Deer park institute is situated. Apart from these, the colony has a school for its children, a medical clinic as well as the Tibetan Handicrafts center. The handicrafts sold here are pretty popular and tourists usually find them very attractive. The colony is also famous for the Tibetan food they offer.

Bir is a place that you can visit throughout the year. Being a hill station, the weather here is pleasant even during the summers. During monsoons, you would experience light rainfalls but they are bearable. The winters experience temperatures drop to the freezing point, making it a bit harsh at that time. However, you would find something or the other to do during all the seasons. Every adventure enthusiast must visit Bir at least once in his lifetime.

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