Things to do in and around Bir...
You can walk to Billing, through beautiful rhododendron forest, about a 3 hour walk or down is about 2 hours. From Billing you can follow the dirt road which becomes a path to the pass on the other side, Rajgunda Pass. From here you get views of the Barot valley and mountains behind.
Check out the monasteries in the Tibetan Colony, especially Choling Monastery, where it is possible to catch a puja, or prayer ceremony. There is a crafts institute where you can watch the craftsmen at work on textiles, carpets, woodwork and thangka painting. It is also possible to buy their work. Upper Bir which is the Indian part of the village is also an interesting place to wander.
A spectacular monastery in the forests between Bir and Baijnath. It is possible to walk here or access the monastery by car. There is a gold-plated, jewel-encrusted, 3-storey high Buddha. It is a very impressive monastery.
This is an ancient stone temple, sacred to Shiva and was built in 804AD. It is an important pilgrimage place. The temple features intricate carvings on the exterior walls and the inner sanctum of the temple, which enshrines one of India ’s 12 jyoti lingams (important shrine to Shiva). There is a beautiful stone carving of Surya, the Sun God, at the rear of the temple. Carvings in the temple depict the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. Also carvings of the Yamuna and Ganges rivers depicted as goddesses. There are 2 crouching garudas supporting one window and 2 stone lions supporting the other.
Andretta Pottery Institute
An interesting pottery workshop and shop abot 10 km away from Baijnath. We can organise an optional one-day workshop.
Chamunda Devi Temple
On the road to Dharamsala. Chamunda is a wrathful form of Durga, the idol in the main temple is thought to be so sacred that it is covered by a red cloth. The goddess is sa.id to have many powers. There are brightly painted images all around the temple. Make a food offering to Chamunda.
A crafts and educational complex, set amongst beautiful gardens with a Japanese influence with wooden bridges across tiny streams and waterfalls. It is a beautiful and peaceful place. This institute was established to teach and preserve traditional Tibetan art and crafts, such as woodcarving, statue-making, thangka painting and embroidery. There is also a beautiful temple here. There is also a great café.
A great place for shopping and wandering around. I would recommend doing a clockwise walk around the Dalai Lama’s residence and temple. There are many prayer wheels, prayer flags and monuments. The Dalai Lama’s temple is really interesting with original Sanskrit written works dating from 7AD. Outside the temple is the Tibet Museum , a very interesting museum and exhibition on Tibet ’s modern history and struggle with the Chinese. There is a prayer wheel in the centre of town with lots of shops and cafes surrounding. If you are intending to eat out here, please get a list of recommended clean and good restaurants from us. Dharamsala is a great place for shopping and picking up presents.