A Solo Journey on Bike To Bir-Billing: The Best Paragliding Spot In India

26th Aug 2015
What-if the bike breaks-down in between, what if something unexpected happen. After so many similar positive and negative thoughts, finally i decided to go on for this trip alone.

Solo Travelling makes you fall in love with yourself and life, this is what i experienced in this trip.

Thursday Evening: The Beginning Of Solo Trip
After leaving office at 5pm, i packed my bag, checked my bike Pulsar 200NS and left for this journey at 5.30pm. Bir was some 520kms away from Noida. Since I had to get back to Noida by Sunday morning so i decided to ride whole night to reach there by early morning so that i could have 2 full days to enjoy. After passing through the hour long traffic of Delhi, i picked the NH1 Delhi-Ambala Highway. I had my first tea at Pehalwaan Dhaba near Murthal. I started enjoying the ride by singing songs. By 10pm i crossed the Ambala Cantt, after few kilometers i took the turn to Shambu road instead of going through Chandigarh, which was meeting at NH21 near Kharar. I was not aware with that route, i took it by relying on Google Maps. But the road was good, like of the highway. In between i took my dinner at some dhaba at 11.30pm, rested there for sometime.

Air was getting cold, night was getting dark and there i was riding the bike alone on the roads and breaking the silence of the woods. After getting at NH21 and passing through Ghanauli, Kiratpur Sahib, I reached Bilaspur at 4.30am. 
The road between Kiratpur Sahib and Bilaspur was not good, trucks and trucks were getting passed. I started feeling sleepy, this is the time of night/morning when you cannot control your eyes to remain open. Also i hadn't taken the full sleep on the previous night so i decided to take some rest there at some dhaba. I took the tea first and then got slept on the chair in sitting posture. 

Day 1: The Journey continues till Barot Valley, A Hidden Treasure Behind The Mountains
After an hour long rest, at 6.30am i decided to move on. According to GMaps, two roads were going towards Bir, one through Mandi while the other through some villages Sarkaghat, Dharampur. Both routes were merging at Jogindar Nagar. Upon inquired with 2-3 locals i got to know no one had heard the name Bir-Billing, they even didn't know of any Paragliding spot, they were giving surprised looks like i had asked them of way to HELL. "What should i do now", i was thinking, "i have lost" i thought for a moment. Then i decided to go on my own and took the road less traveled via Sarkaghat, Dharampur.

Photo of A Solo Journey on Bike To Bir-Billing: The Best Paragliding Spot In India 1/7 by Gaurav
The road was good initially but later on i realized i made a big mistake in choosing this route. There was no road at all, only stones, mud etc, upon inquired i got to know some 30km stretch was poor. But in real only 30-40km stretch was good. I had adapted myself with that route and started enjoying the ride through villages, no other choice i had :).
Everyone there knew Jogindar Nagar, so i was asking the route to there only not to BIR. Air was getting cold and cold as i was getting close to Bir, clouds were all over there. At around 12.30 i reached Jogindar Nagar, it was a big town compare to those that i had crossed. Everyone there knew of Bir-Billing. :) I took the lunch at Mirchi Masala Restaurant, food was awesome. 
Then I contacted a guy who ran paragliding business in Bir. Upon inquired i got to know, due to bad weather flying was stopped for that day. His name was Vijendra, so he suggested me to come to Barot (a place some 40kms from there) for today and would meet me there. I was very tired that time, had been riding for last 19 hours. So i decided to go there and would take a rest for whole day and would leave for paragliding on next early morning, sounded good. I asked for the direction and it was on Jogindar Nagar-Mandi road, a turn from Ghatasani would lead to Barot Valley. The route from Ghatasani to Barot was a lush green forest road, sunlight can't penetrate through it. Upon reaching, i was amazed to see such a beauty hidden in between the mountains; I had never imagined that i would witness such a beautiful place there. Surrounded by mountains from all sides, Uhl river was flowing through, dam on that river, small huts, greenery all around, a perfect place to relax. 

Photo of A Solo Journey on Bike To Bir-Billing: The Best Paragliding Spot In India 2/7 by Gaurav
Photo of A Solo Journey on Bike To Bir-Billing: The Best Paragliding Spot In India 3/7 by Gaurav

I took one room at a guest house, it was awesome, had a Lcd too at just 500 bucks, 3 people can stay in a single room. :) It was 5pm already, then i went for a walk, the city is very old, mainly developed by Britishers, even the Dam, Fountains of that time, place is good for trout fishing, the cottage like houses, groceries shop, dhabas etc. Then i found one beer shop there, i took 2 bottles of it, some chakhna. It was raining already, river was flowing beside so I placed the table-chair in the balcony and started enjoying my Beer. Later, three people, punjabis, who was in nearby room also joined in, they had JBL pulse speaker and a Whisky, so we exchanged some.

Photo of A Solo Journey on Bike To Bir-Billing: The Best Paragliding Spot In India 4/7 by Gaurav
It was around 8pm when i took the dinner, the owner of the house who was in his 50s had himself made the dinner, Rajma-Chaawal. Hard-working man he was. Rajma is the specialty of Barot, they were locally grown. And then came the man whom I called for paragliding, Vijendra. He showed me various videos of him doing paragliding, trekking in Zanskar valley, Spiti etc, adventurous he was. He was a nice guy and very friendly. He asked me to get ready by 7am next morning. With this i turned the light off and got into the dreams. 
"When i had left from home, i didn't know whether i would be able to ride whole night or not, whether i would reach there or not, what would i do there alone. But as you progress, confidence starts building, you start venturing yourself to the unknown, you start enjoying yourself, you get to know yourself, you get to know your limits and you push them harder and harder to the extreme. That's the SOLO TRIP is all about."

Day 2: The Paragliding Day
I woke up at around 7am, the morning was cherish, cold breeze was blowing, birds were singing, sun was rising from behind the mountains and the weather was clean. I got up ready within half an hour. The main advantage in the solo journey is you don't need to wait till others get wake up or ready, its only you and your rule. Stop wherever you want to, do whatever you want to, sleep how much you want to, no restrictions, no limits.
After a moment, Vijendra came, we then left for Bir on my bike. He was telling me all about the valley, the places nearby etc. Few jungles trek of full day were also there, behind the mountains ranges is Manali. He was telling various stories of himself and the locality. "I have come all the way here alone and now i meet up with this guy sitting on the pillion seat accompanying me on this solo trip", i was thinking. Truly, this was something that i had never thought of when i had left for the trip.
He took me to the Power House in Joginder Nagar. That Power house was built by Britishers and it come under Punjab Govt., an agreement of 100yrs after which HP govt. can own it. For the first time i had seen any Hydroelectric power plant from inside having such huge turbine blade. The dam there in Barot used to store the water which was routed to this Power plant through pipeline. High speed water rotates the turbine blade and hence generates the electricity.
There was one trolley train which run on tracks, Haulage trolley, which goes from here to Barot, almost 11km long. Before, there were no road to Barot, this was the only means of transport. Now officials of power house use it for their purpose. I was very fortunate that i got the chance to travel on it. Actually, i requested one worker there and told him i came from Delhi, he agreed to took me with him but just for 1.5km. It was totally a different transport system, it runs on incline of almost 45 degree and without any driver and fuel. It is actually being pulled by heavy steel wires with some machine that i didn't see. It was built by Britishers too.

Photo of A Solo Journey on Bike To Bir-Billing: The Best Paragliding Spot In India 5/7 by Gaurav
Photo of A Solo Journey on Bike To Bir-Billing: The Best Paragliding Spot In India 6/7 by Gaurav

Photo of A Solo Journey on Bike To Bir-Billing: The Best Paragliding Spot In India 7/7 by Gaurav
At around 12pm, we reached Bir, a small village along the road. From there I went to Biling by car, Vijendra loaded the glider bag in it, it is a starting point while the landing point is in Bir. After half an hour we reached there, the place is located at a height. There was fog all around, no one was flying as the visibility was zero. Actually clouds were suddenly coming and going, so everyone was waiting for the moment when Bir or landing point would be visible and when that moment came Vijendra and I started running with glider and jumped from the mountain.
Within a moment we were in the air, i feared a little while jumping but the excitement took over it. I had a selfie stick in my hand which was recording the whole flight. At one time clouds came all around us and nothing was visible, white and white all around so Vijendra pulled the glider down while doing some stunt with it and after sometime picture got cleared. 
The Feel that time was awesome, we both were singing songs, the 360 degree view from the top was breathtaking. Sometimes it felt like we had stopped in mid-air. There were many gliders flying, some were doing stunts too. I had done paragliding previously in Solang Valley too but that was nowhere comparable with this experience. We landed in some field in Bir, the flight was nearly of 18-20min. I can't explain what i was feeling that time, it's a must have lifetime experience.
Vijendra folded the glider and put it in a bag, it is a very tough task to do.
At around 3pm i took the lunch at some dhaba in Bir meanwhile Vijendra transferred the video of flying in my mobile. Then I said Good-Bye to him and left from there 'ALONE' again. He had been with me for the past 8 hours and during that time i didn't realize i came alone in this trip.
The Return Journey
This time i took the Mandi-Bilaspur Road without a doubt. This route was much way better than the other. Weather was not good, it was going to rain anytime, by 6pm i reached Mandi. There was so many people gathered near some ghat of river Beas, then i realized it was Ganesha Visarjan. I stopped for some time there to witness this event. After covering few kilometers, it started raining heavily. I stopped at one tea-stall and was waiting for the rain to stop. After an hour, bike engine came to life again, i took the road to Bilaspur. The sun had already set and night was beginning to and then rain started again. This time i pulled out the raincoat from my bag and continued my journey. It was raining heavily and i was just going and going like a crazy man. It has its own fun :). After taking some stops in between, i reached Bilaspur at around 11.30pm. There i took my dinner at some dhaba. Now it was the same route from where i had come. Rain had stopped by then and the weather got clear. 
After riding all night, I reached Ambala at around 5am, it was impossible to move further so I rested at some dhaba, took tea and slept there. It was around 7am when I resumed my journey. After a 4 hours of ride i entered in Noida. I was very tired but at the same time was very happy that i reached safely without any hurdle in between.

Truly it was the most amazing experience, a bike journey of 1200kms with awesome destinations and adventurous activities.