Just back from a trek, all tanned! & the tan keeps reminding me of the magnificence of the mountains that I witnessed, because I was ‘in the mountains’, literally, for the 3 days. Short trip, yes! But absolutely marvelous!
Bir is a small valley in the Kangra district, Himanchal Pradesh. It takes some 6-7 hours to reach the valley from Pathankot if one chooses a bus & 3-4 hours by car. Bir is also the paragliding landing site. Starting October, one can see several colorful gliders soaring high in the sky. It’s a breath taking sight. Billing is the place from you are told to jump off a mountain cliff (& if you fail to jump, you are pushed off!!) which is at an elevation of about 2600M. 15-20 minutes in the sky, flying down to Bir, harnessed to a paragliding chute, & you wish to be transformed into a bird. At least, that’s what happened with me! However, the first 2-3 seconds after the jump you know for sure you are dying. But as it goes, “Darr kea aage jeet hai” (exactly what my trainer told me before pushing me off), after you know it’s not your time yet, what you see from up there is unquestionably a wonderful sight to behold, something that at least I thought never existed! I had tears in my eyes when I looked down & realized what a beautiful world we live in. The air seemed to have washed my soul, leaving it fresh & untainted. One experience which cannot be penned down.
Billing is India’s best paragliding site & also known worldwide. In fact they are currently hosting the paragliding world cup, having participation from over 47 countries! & Bir is just the perfect landing site, covered with mountains on all sides. Bir is bright & sunny & green.
We trekked from Bir to Billing. It was our first trek & I was dead after first 5 minutes into it. Literally! Looking at the mountains & getting inspired to conquer them & actually climbing them are two completely different things! But I managed, I conquered some bit of it J & it was satisfying. My legs were dead by the time we reached Billing but I wanted to do it all over again! Mountains are mesmerizing & mysterious; you can never have enough of them.
The highlight of the trip, however, were the zillion stars we saw, while we camped, after darkness had set in, when the only source of light was the moon & the stars. I never thought so many stars existed. It was breath taking; it was my reward for all the hard work I had put in to reach there. I wanted to capture it & then put it up on FB for everybody to see what is usually not visible from where we are or even for myself to see it again & again. The camera could capture nothing, but darkness. I realized it was a moment not to be shared with anyone. I could only share it with myself & only save it in my memories.
Both these places, Bir & Billing, are unusually & mysteriously quiet. It’s a place to turn into an explorer, appreciate the simpler things in life, to be raw, to be you.
& to top it all, the food is awesome! & for the photographers out there it’s a treat, especially the valley!
This has been undoubtedly the best trip of my life so far.