Apart from the supreme opening of India’s first AAI Paragliding World Cup 2015, the Bir-Billing area in Himachal Pradesh this weekend has more to offer in regard of fun and enjoyment.
A perplexing news to all the tourists and adventure lovers, the picturesque towns of Bir and Billing, where 130 paragliders from 35 countries will converge during October 23-31, will also savour a taste of Tibetan culture and get a chance to angle for fish, camp, trek and, of course, paraglide as a free-flyer.
“After seeing the inaugural flights, we will devote time for searching out Tibetan spiritual sustenance,” Abhishek Nayyar, a Chandigarh-based senior executive with a multinational company, told.
He said after the opening day of the World Cup, he and his friends would spend time in nearby Tibetan monasteries and shop for handicrafts.
Mona Dhingra, a Delhi-based entrepreneur whose husband is a free-flyer, said it’s more than flying this weekend.
“We are planning to mix the long Dussehra weekend with leisure, flying and spiritualism,” she said.
Bir, the landing site that is also home to Tibetan refugees and Buddhist monasteries, and the take-off point of Billing are separated by 14 km in Kangra district, some 275 km from Chandigarh.
The event will get to see some prominent personalities like, a French contingent with 13 pilots, including many who have won World Cups and Super Cups and have been ranked World No.1. Sudhir Sharma, president of the Billing Paragliding Association, the club organising the event, told. The French team also includes the current World No.1.
The paragliders also include about 12 women, including former World No.1 Klaudia Bulgakow of Poland, who also won the 2013 Pre-World Cup at Bir and Billing.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will serve as the title sponsors meanwhilethe state government and the Billing Paragliding Association would jointly organise the event.
Paragliding World Cup, expected to coincide with the Members of the hospitality industry during the long weekend.
To avoid discrepancy they admitted spectators might face problems in getting suitable accommodation.
An extended weekend – Thursday (Dussehra), Saturday (Muharram) and Sunday of course – likely to see thousands of the tourists coming to watch the event and holiday in the nearby hills.
“Most of the guests coming for the paragliding event are showing interest in nearby tourist destinations like tea estates and temples, Buddhist monasteries and Tibetan establishments,” Vijay Sharma,Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) officiating general manager told.
Kangra, Baijnath and Jwalaji are known for the prominent Hindu shrines besides titled for tea estates of Palampur town. Most of these towns are within a 40-km radius of the World Cup.
McLeodganj, the uphill quaint town, through its extremist beauty and clam atmosphere has already gained a lot fame and prominence for attracting a steady stream of Tibet enthusiasts, Buddhist scholars, back-packers and even Hollywood stars like Richard Gere.
McLeodganj is known for its Tibetan artifacts and traditional recipes like Tibetan dumplings, also known as Little Lhasa, located just 50 kilometres from the World Cup spot,
“We are expecting a good rush of tourists this weekend after T-20 between India and South Africa in Dharamsala on October 2,” said Pankaj Chadha, owner of the McLio restaurant in McLeodganj.
The World Cup is expected to witness over 20,000 spectators and adventure lovers said the organiser, Sudhir.
Bir and at Chowgan village are assigned as the accomodating spot for pilots and visitors, where there are hotels, besides which special luxury tents have also been put up.
Bir is clasified as a noted centre for ecotourism, spiritual studies and meditation.
Sharma said the visitors could also opt for home stay units.
Reaching to Bir-Billing;
How to travel: One of the best and affluent way to reach Kangra district is by a flight to the Gaggal airport. There are daily flights to Kangra, which is 40 km from Bir.
Other modes includes, car and train. Pathankot is the nearest broad gauge railway station, about 90 km from Kangra town.
Barot in Mandi district is a two-hour drive from Bir. It’s known for trout angling.
Palampur is 29 km from Bir and Baijnath is 13 km from Bir.
Bir-Billing is 499 km from the capital ,Delhi.
Accomodation facility : Small hotels, guest houses, and even home stays with local people.
COME AND EXPLORE THIS LANDMARK OF HILLS, ” DEV BHUMI HIMACHAL”