The first time Shipra came crying to me, I was already tucked into my bed and about to sleep. I sat up and asked her to tell me what was wrong. Her narration of her life’s tragedy was interrupted by my snoring less than 3 minutes into the conversation. That was three years and 15 such episodes ago. So in my final month of sharing the room with her, when she again started crying, I decided to change the topic.
‘Let’s go somewhere in the mountains’
I still wonder if it was the prospect of travelling or planning that got her so excited… but that was when and how we decided to take a weekend trip to Bir,Himachal Pradesh.
Bir is a relatively unknown small village in Himachal Pradesh. It is mostly inhabited by local farmers and also has a sizeable population of Tibetan refugees. It is closely connected with Billing which is the hub for paragliding in India. We honestly considered it because there is a Zostel here. As a female traveller, I prefer staying in backpacker hostels since I am never isolated that way and I get to meet and interact with new interesting people!
Hostel Bir is highly recommended! For 400Rs. we got a bed in a spacious dormitory with attached clean and big bathroom. The hosts were wonderful. But, the real steal was the shack on the terrace – cute,cosy and indulgently comfortable.
The local street is just about seven minutes from the hostel and one can easily locate agents for paragliding or for busses.It’s really no hassle.There’s a school on the way to the street which always has Tibetan kids running around and that may be the cutest thing ever. There are road side snack shops where we ate. The first day we went nuts over aunty’s aloo parathas and chai but had to pay 40 bucks. Total. For lunch we ate at the other snack shop and my oh my, Daal was beautiful. Trust me, when you’re there, you’ll know which ones am I talking about.
So we booked ourselves on a paragliding tour with an agent for 1400 Rs. per head which included our travel from Zostel to Billing and well, we were going to paraglide back to Bir.
I am not going to give away how it felt when we ran off into the air from an elevation of 2400 metres, but I am going to tell you, if it weren’t for Ships, I might have made the biggest mistake and not gone through with this.
We later went for coffee to Garden Cafe which is pretty easy to spot on the main road. So instead of chilling at the shack,we were now chilling at this cute coffee place,surrounded by flowers and plants and feeling very positive thanks to the overdose of oxygen.
During the afternoon, we went around the village for a walk. I have always found Tibetan architecture and culture very beautiful and inspiring. The monasteries here are very big, colourful with intricate designs and the gardens are exceptionally well maintained. The fact that there are mountains,clouds and greenery in the backdrop is also an unparalleled bonus!
Do I recommend Bir? Yes,yes and yes a thousand times over.
How did we get there? We caught an overnight AC Volvo bus from Majnu ka Tila bus stop ( near Vidhan Sabha Metro Station) at around 7:30 for 1000rs.
Is one weekend enough time? Perhaps, but you’ll definitely want to stay longer! In case you want to go paragliding, make sure the weather conditions are favourable before you go. Paragliding is an absolute MUST just by the way!
Maybe we would’ve seen a lot more had we stayed there longer, however even though short, our 2 days 1 night stay in Bir has been etched in our memories,become a benchmark in our friendship and surely had now become a topic for my blog post. For a spontaneous plan, this is pretty neat no?
Oh,Did I mention Shipra found something else to cry about once we were back?
P.S Thank You Imtiaz for the photos and kudos to the good times!