TMS#025 : Slow Travel in Bir with Reshma Narasing
This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Reshma Narasing from the blog thesologlobetrotter.com. Reshma is an avid traveler and backpacker who has traversed the country solo and enjoys traveling to offbeat destinations. So sit back as Reshma takes us backbacking to Bir, Himachal Pradesh!
Today's destination: Bir, Himachal Pradesh
Nearest Airport: Kangra Airport
Nearest Railway Station: Pathankot Railway station (and rest of the journey by bus)
Prerequisities - N/A
Packing - Warm clothes, hiking gear, hiking shoes, camping gear
Time of the year - March
Length of the itinerary: 6-7 weeks
Reshma starts the trip to Bir after completing her Nepal leg of the journey where she was on a press trip.
In Bir, she was volunteering for about 6-7 weeks with Zostel, a pan India hostel chain
Reshma volunteered at Zostel in terms of helping with social media marketing, customized tours, managing the reception among other things.
As this was a long term volunteering opportunity Reshma had a chance to slow travel in Bir in her free time.
One of the first activities she indulges in is a trek to Rajgundha. This is an overnight trek organized by Zostel where one gets to trek from Zostel, Bir and goes through a 360 degree scenic trail passing through the banks of Uhl river and virgin views of snow capped peaks culminating in take off from one of the world’s best paragliding sites.
The trek also takes one through the Barot valley, home to India's first hydroelectric dam.
Reshma and her friends make a stop at the quaint little village of Rajgundha where they cook together and spend the night star gazing around the bonfire. One can either spend the night at Zostel, Rajgundha or camp in the village.
The trek continues and culminates at the Billing paragliding take off site. One can choose to fly down to Bir on a glider! Ride back to Zostel on a jeep.
Another trek that Reshma did during the volunteering was to Gunehar river pool. Gunehar is a quaint village tucked away in the hills of the Kangra Valley.
A short day hike will lead you to a waterfall, which is at a height of 100ft. Walking amidst the lush terraced fields and getting a glimpse of the village life are the best parts of this hike, apart from the gorgeous waterfalls itself.
Monastery hopping is something that one can indulge in while at Bir.Palpung Monastery in Bhattu, Dzongsar Khyentse Monastery in Chauntra and Chokling Monastery in Chaugan are some of the popular ones.
Reshma also enjoys playing holi with the locals of Bir and gets to try out the local Kangdi Chai as well as the traditional Himachali attire!
For those interested in adventure sport, Bir is ofcourse the capital of Paragliding and was home to the 2015 Paragliding world cup. One can not just paraglide but also get certified to glide tandem and solo!
Bir is also popular for cycling marathons. One can participate in a half or full marathon during the peak season.
For the ones who are looking for more volunteering places like the Dharmalaya and the Deer Park institute offer some great opportunities.
The Deer Park institute has played an instrumental role in teaching ancient Indian wisdom traditions. They conduct workshops and activities throughout the year ranging from Yoga to well-being, and there are also a few volunteering opportunities open for everyone.
The Dharmalaya Institute has been promoting a productive and a positive living, where they conduct workshops on sustainable living. Here you learn to make use of natural resources to adopt minimalism.
For the romantic ones, there are innumerable places to catch beautiful sunsets by just walking a few minutes!
Link to Reshma's blog : http://thesologlobetrotter.com/
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