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Posted at: Jul 16, 2017, 1:26 AM; last updated: Jul 16, 2017, 1:26 AM (IST)

A flight of fancy

Want to fly like a bird? Experience the thrill of paragliding at Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh
Photo feature by Nitin Mittal

One of the finest sites across the globe to enjoy various aero sport activities, Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh is a haven for adventure enthusiasts. Considered to be among the safest destinations for paragliding not only in India but world over, Bir-Billing is often known as the paragliding capital of India. An eco-tourism site, Bir-Billing successfully hosted the Paragliding World Cup in 2015. The event saw participation by pilots from 140 countries. 

Billing is the takeoff site for paragliding. It is situated at a height of 8000 feet from the sea-level. Bir, which is at 4300 feet from the sea-level, is the site for landing. Collectively, the two are known as Bir-Billing. The climate of Bir, which is situated at 35 km from Palampur, remains cold throughout the year. One needs to cover a 14-km-steep hill road from Bir to reach the launching site in Billing. It takes nearly 45 minutes to reach Billing by road. The paragliding trip takes 15 to 20 minutes to reach the landing site of Bir.

Billing is known for its easy and safe take offs. The place has incredibly smooth and favourable winds, which are needed as you leave contact with the earth and start flying. The thrilling adventure sport can be done solo by an experienced pilot or by two persons, including one licenced pilot. In the latter case, all controls and directions are handled by the pilot. At present, there are nearly 100 licenced pilots guiding people to fly. These pilots have the knowledge of air speed, altitude, wind, clouds and temperature and route.  

Fact file

Charges for a ride are around Rs 2,500 per person. The entire flight can be captured on a video camera installed in a selfie stick by shelling out another Rs 500. 

It is a good idea to make the booking in advance. However, do check the weather forecast for the desired days before making the booking.

October to June is the season for paragliding. October, November, June and March are the best months to plan for long flights.

Dos and don’ts

  • For a safe and smooth flight, follow safety instructions given by your pilot to the tee. 
  • Do not overeat or drink before the flight.
  • Wear light comfortable clothes. 
  • Pilots advise those experiencing the ride for the first time to run for a while for a successful take off.


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