Situated at the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, Bir is a hidden gem for people interested in ecotourism, spiritual studies and meditation. It offers an isolated yet enriching experience to people who are looking for authentic learning experiences. Places like Deer Park, Dharmalaya and Aryamarga Yoga offer traditional wisdom in the field of spirituality, sustainable living and yoga.
The picturesque town of Bir is also famous for adventure sports like paragliding and mountain biking. Bir is regarded as the second best paragliding site in the world after Lake Como in Italy. You take off from a height of 2400 meters in the meadows on top of a ridge in Biling with the breathtaking view of snow-capped Dhauladhar ranges in the backdrop. It is an unforgettable experience to fly over the snow laden Himalayas.
Bir has a diverse community of Indian villagers and Tibetan refugee settlement. The Bir Tibetan Colony was established in the early 1960s by Chokling Rinpoche after the exile of the Dalai Lama from Tibet. Bir is host to some of the most beautiful Buddhist Vajrayana monasteries in India.
Chokling Monastery – Know is full as Pema Ewan Chokgyur Gyurme Ling, Chokling was the first monastery to be set up in Bir. The work for the monastery started in mid 1960s and was finished in the 80s. It is probably the most beautiful monastery in the Bir – Mandi region.
Sherab Ling monastery – Also known as the forest monastery is situated at the gentle pine forested hills of Kangra valley. The monastery offers an ideal environment for meditation that can only be broken by the sound of birds. Sherab Ling monastery offers periodic courses in Buddhist meditation and philosophy and also provides guest house facilities.
Tashi Jong – One can also visit the lesser known Tashi Jong monastery, the monastery of the living togdens. It practices the teachings of Kagyu lineage of Tilopa. The lineage has its roots in the Indian tantric system. The monastery is located about 15kms for Bir, and can be accessed by a taxi.
Deer Park – Deer Park Institute is a centre for study of classical Indian wisdom traditions. The core vision of the Institute is to re-create the spirit of Nalanda, an ancient university of India in which all traditions of Buddhism were studied and practiced. It offers periodic classes and seminars on a variety of topics including philosophy, meditation, yoga and sustainable living. While at Deer Park, serious meditation practitioners can ask for the keys to the small meditation room at the top floor of the temple.
Dharmalaya – Dharmalaya Institute is devoted to education and empowerment for compassionate living, with a practical focus on sustainable village development and ecotourism. Its mission is to unite the best of traditional wisdom with creative innovation. They have volunteer opportunities available through-out the year.
Aryamarga Yoga – Aryamarga Yoga offers teachings that are an integrated system of untouched and unchanged practices of the 4 stages of Yoga, handed down over a period of more than 5000 years from ancient Gurus of the Lineage of the 84 Mahasiddhas. You can drop-by for daily classes, weekend workshops or Teacher training courses.
How to get to Bir
The below links give a comprehensive guide on how to get to Bir