Bir is a small village in Himachal Pradesh that has gained huge Internet traction with its old-world charm. The village lies in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges and is blessed abundantly by Mother Nature.
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The waterfalls, pine forests, serene monasteries, impeccable weather, adventure activities like paragliding have transformed Bir from a sleepy little town to a tourist destination that is worth visiting. Bir is also the home to many Tibetan refugee settlements and there are several Buddhist monasteries here; no wonder you will stumble upon as many as Buddhist monks here than in any part of Himachal Pradesh.
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Most of the Tourist places in Bir have strong Tibetan influence and the monasteries in Bir also serve as holistic centres to learn meditation, yoga and sustainable living.
Here are some of the best places to visit in Bir-Billing:
Landing Site in Bir is also known as Sunset Point as it offers soul-stirring views of the sunset. Every evening, the local mob and tourists flock to this place to enjoy the beautiful sunset. There are also a number of cafes and restaurants making the Landing Site, one of the most enthralling places to see in Bir Billing.
As the name suggests, Landing Site is used by the paraglider pilots as the official site for landing and hence, one can enjoy the views of paragliders gracefully descending here.
Location: Bir Colony Road, Himachal Pradesh
Timing: Always open
Located in the middle of the Tibetan Colony, Chokling Monastery is one of the most popular Tibetan monasteries in Bir. This magnificent monastery is painted in white and is adorned with other bright colours; making it look stunning. It has a statue of Padmasambhava and a stupa.
The monastery offers unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains and as the monastery is situated just 1 km away from Bir Landing Site, one can also enjoy the beautiful sight of paragliders gliding through the skies.
The lush lawns in front of the meditation center, the peaceful atmosphere, and the colorful flags fluttering in the air make this one of the most cherishable Places to visit in Bir Billing.
Location: Bir Billing Rd, Bir Colony, Chaugan, Himachal Pradesh 176077
Timings: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Dharmalaya Institute is an eco-campus that stresses on the importance of compassionate and green living. One can register or volunteer to work with the institute. It holds many classes, workshops, courses, internships, and many others on topics like green building, organic farming, sustainable village development, etc.
Apart from classes on sustainable living, the Dharmalaya Institute also conducts yoga and meditation classes to help one integrate the work-life and spiritual longings.
Location: Dhanaari, Keori, Himachal Pradesh 176125
Timing: The institute is open only to registered participants. However, on prior registration, it also offers guided tours and Q&A sessions only once per week. This is usually on Saturdays at noon but subject to change.
The main prayer hall of the monastery has a stunning two-storey golden Maitreya statue. Built across a sprawling 3 acres of land, the Sherabling monastery is situated within the Bhatu forest in the foothills of the Himalayan ranges. The path leading to the monastery is full of pine trees on either side and the colorful prayer flags welcome everyone all through the way.
The monastery is pretty huge and its complex includes beautiful Buddhist temples, gompas, and stupas. Inside the monastery, the sound of Buddhist monks reciting their prayers creates a spiritual aura. If you are spiritually inclined, make sure you visit this monastery on priority amongst other places to visit in Bir Billing.
Location: Sansal - Palpung Sherabling Monastery Rd, Keori, Himachal Pradesh 176125
Timing: The main hall is open from 8.30 AM - 4.30 PM on all days. The monastery is open until 6.00 PM and is closed after that.
Bir has a pleasant climate that is ideal for growing tea, so tea gardens and tea plantations are found in plenty around here. Naturally, there are tea factories here and The Bir Co-operative Tea Factory Ltd near the Bir Bazaar is the biggest and most popular one.
One can find lots of women working here. The factory also allows tourists to enjoy an educational trip inside their premises and gives them an insight into the tea making process. One can also shop for freshly packed tea leaves and tea bags at these tea gardens.
Location: The Bir Co-operative Tea Factory Ltd, Bir, Himachal Pradesh 175001, India
Timing: Always open
The Deer Park Institute is one of the most reputed centres for the study of classical Indian wisdom. The institute hosts several programmes on meditation, philosophy, art, culture, yoga, healing arts, Buddhism and many more.
The duration of these programmes is diverse from day-long classes to month-long ones. The institute is built in pagoda style that is classic architecture of monasteries and is decked up with beautiful paintings and carvings depicting the rich Buddhist and Tibetan culture. The list of places to visit in Bir Billing is never complete without the Deer Park Institute.
Location: Bir Colony, Bir, Himachal Pradesh 176077
Timing: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Monday - Saturday
One of the most ancient Shiva temples in Himachal Pradesh, Baijnath temple in Bhajinath township dates back to the prehistoric era of the 13th century. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Bajinath or Vaidyanath (the Lord of the Physicians) at this temple and it is one of the must-visit tourist places in Bir.
The water at this temple is believed to cure many incurable diseases. The temple is perched in a tranquil environment in the Dhauladhar mountain ranges of western Himalayas. The serene ambiance and the spiritual aura of this stone temple make it one of the most reverential attractions in Bir. The walls of the temple have inscriptions, most of which are now gone with the test of time.
Location: Bhajinath, Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh
Timings: 06.00 AM - 09.00 PM on all days
The Drukpa Kagyu monastery in Bir was established by the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche near Palampur in Tashi Jong. It started with about 140 monks living there. The monastery has inscriptions and stone sculptures that portray the various sects and subsects of Tibetan culture.
The placid environment of the monastery set in a spectacular backdrop makes it a great place to meditate and seek one’s inner self.
Location: Tashi Jong
Timing: Always Open
Chowgan is a densely populated suburb in Lower Bir that has many verdant tea plantations with many different types of teas grown. The climatic conditions of Bir are ideal for growing tea and these tea estates look magnificent with hills and misty clouds in the background.
A stroll here is extremely pleasurable and these Chowgan Tea Gardens are the most refreshing places to see in Bir Billing. There are lots of women labourers working in these tea gardens with baskets in their back to collect the freshly plucked tea leaves. Some of them are friendly enough to click a picture with tourists.
Location: South of Lower Bir
Timing: Always open
Himalayan Film School is one of the most prestigious film schools in India and one of the do-not-miss attractions in Bir. The institute has an amazing infrastructure within the Deer Park Institute.
The Himalayan Film School In partnership with Tuning Fork Films conducts several insightful workshops like storytelling, film making, photography, and many others. Visiting this film school is undeniable a unique experience!
Location: Deer Park Institute, Bir, Himachal Pradesh
Timing: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Nestled in the majestic Himalayas, just 51 kilometers from Kangra, the famous Shiv temple is considered a holy site both by locals and tourists. The temple is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Dhauladhar range and offers spectacular views of various little mountain streams.
The virgin environs and the bells ringing with the wind make for an otherworldly experience – you will feel as if you have been transported to another universe of spirituality and serenity.
Distance from the bus stand: 17.9 km
Timings: 6 AM to 9 PM, all days of the weekEntry fees: no entry fees
Nyingyang Monastery is located near the Bir Landing Site and this quaint, little monastery is filled with peace and serenity. The main building of the monastery and the priests quarters are painted in bright colors and are adorned with intricate designs that portray Buddhist culture and rituals.
You can visit the monastery during the prayer time to soak in the positive vibes engulfing the palace. The lush green lawn and the soothing ambiance will make you come back to this monastery before you wind up your Bir sojourn.
Location: Bir Colony Rd, Bir Colony, Chaugan, Himachal Pradesh 176077
Timing: Always Open
Gunehar is a whimsical little village located beside the spectacular Gunehar River in the hills of the Kangra Valley. At a distance of just about 1.5 km from Bir, Gunehar River is one of the hidden attractions in Bir that one cannot easily find on Google Maps.
The mountains surrounding the river, the calm flowing waters of the river and the untamed wilderness of this countryside village form the scenic backgrounds for picture-perfect photography. The hike to the Gunehar River Pools takes about an hour and a half and the lush greenery engulfing the place makes the hike a truly cherishable one.
Location: 1.5 km from Bir
Timing: Always open
Tashi Jong is a small village predominantly occupied by the Tibetian craft community that is nestled cozily in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges. Tashi Jong is home to The Drukpa Kagyu tradition, which is one of the schools of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tashi Jong Khampagar Monastery is the hotspot tourist attractions here and its serene environment and mystical hymns sung by the monks fill one with unexplained tranquility. The monastery is adorned with beautiful Tibetian arts and the brightly painted walls are a delight to witness.
The monastery complex includes a carpet factory, Khamagar Institute, Kunga Raua temple, Stupa of Khamtrul Rinpoche, Yamantaka Temple and many others.
Location: Tashigong, Himachal Pradesh 172114
Timing: 06.00 AM - 07.00 Pm on all days
Located at a distance of just 4.5 km from the Tibetan Colony, Bangoru Waterfalls is one of the many small waterfalls in and around Bir. The Bangoru Waterfall looks calm and serene with milky white waters gushing through the rocks.
The waterfall is usually devoid of the tourist crowd and the route to the waterfall from Gunehar Village or Billing junction in Bir can be found with Google Maps. The waterfall can be reached by a little trek and is a great spot for a secluded picnic. For those looking for places to visit in Bir Billing amidst the virgin beauty of nature, Bangoru Waterfall fits the bill perfectly well.
Location: Bir-Billing Rd, Bangoru, Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh 176077
Timing: 8.00 AM - 6.00 PM on all days