Deer Park Institute is located in Bir Colony, Chowgan Village, in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. Bir lies roughly midway between Dharamsala and Mandi, about 80km from both, 16 km from Joginder Nagar and 19 km from Baijnath. When travelling by taxi or bus, ask for ‘Bir Tibetan Colony’ - otherwise you may end up in Upper Bir, the Indian village 2km north of here. For detailed directions, see the map above.
Please note ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE, so do check the latest information before you travel.
Travel times and fares given below are approximate. Taxi fares are for a small car (Alto); for a bigger car (Innova) add approx. 50%. Fares are rising rapidly, so may be higher than those quoted below.
If you are a foreign national, you will need to go first to Dharamsala to obtain a Protected Area Permit before visiting Bir – please see this link for more details: http://deerpark.in/practical-information/permit-for-foreign-nationals/
FROM OUTSIDE INDIA:
Most international flights arrive in New Delhi. For Mumbai (Bombay) arrivals, transit to Delhi by domestic flight or train, or take a train direct to Pathankot/Chakki Bank, then follow the directions below.
FROM DELHI TO BIR
Overnight buses run from Delhi to Baijnath, a 20-minute taxi ride from Bir. Alternatively, you may be able to get a bus bound for Jogindernagar and get off at Bir Road turning, only a few kilometres from Bir. This is the cheapest and most direct option, and it is usually possible to get tickets at short notice. However, many people find it difficult to sleep on the bus.
There are two types of bus: ‘semi-deluxe’ (approx. Rs450-600) and ‘deluxe’ (approx. Rs 850). Both have reclining seats; the latter is somewhat more comfortable (but not really ‘deluxe’!) and has air-conditioning (hot/cold depending on the season). Which type is available on your date of travel is a bit unpredictable – it seems if the bus companies don’t get enough bookings for deluxe, they sometimes just run semi-deluxe.
The overnight journey takes approximately 12-13 hours, arriving in the early morning. Bir Tibetan Colony is 20 minutes by taxi from Baijnath (approx Rs.250) or 5-10 minutes from Bir Road (Rs.80).
A more comfortable and pricier bus option is to take the deluxe Volvo bus from Delhi to Kangra (Rs.1000), a 2 hour taxi ride from Bir (approx. Rs.1400).
All these buses depart from Kashmiri Gate Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) in Old Delhi; some also pick up in the Tibetan colony Majnu-ka-tilla in north Delhi. Tickets can be booked online at www.hrtc.gov.in, or in person at the bus station (go to the Himachal Road Transport counter). Another company, Haryana Roadways, also runs semi-deluxe buses to Baijnath but does not have online booking – you have to go to their counter at the bus station.
If you would like to visit Mcleod Ganj/Dharamsala before heading on to Bir, there is a wide range of overnight buses from Delhi (Rs.500-1100). The private buses leave from near Paharganj Main Bazaar, the popular budget accommodation area near New Delhi Railway Station, and pick up in Majnu-ka-tilla; tickets can be booked through travel agents in both these places. There are also government-run bus services leaving from Kashmiri Gate ISBT, which you can book online at www.hrtc.gov.in. Note that some buses drop you in Lower Dharamsala, from where you will have to get a taxi to Mcleod Ganj. For getting from Dharamsala to Bir, see the section below.
The nearest major rail stations are at Pathankot/Chakki Bank, about 140km from Bir. From there Bir is about 4 hours by taxi (approx Rs.2500 - contact email@example.com if you need help with booking taxis). There are no direct buses from Pathankot to Bir, but local buses bound for Mandi or Manali can drop you off at Bir Road turning, from where you can take a taxi to Bir Tibetan Colony for around Rs.80. The bus may take 6-8 hours, depending on how often/long it stops along the way.
There are a number of trains on the main line from Delhi to Jammu which stop at either Pathankot or Chakki Bank (these two stations are just a few kilometres apart) – see www.erail.in, www.cleartrip.com/trains or www.indianrail.gov.in for the latest timetables and fares. (Note: station codes are NDLS for New Delhi, DLI for Old Delhi, PTK for Pathankot and CHKB for Chakki Bank.)
Most trains go overnight, arriving early in the morning at Pathankot/Chakki Bank. Among the most popular are:
If you prefer a day train, there is:
Another option for day trains is to get the Shatabdi, an intercity express train, from Delhi to Phagwara Junction, a station shortly before Jalandhar. From Phagwara to Bir is a 5 hours taxi ride.
You would probably need to be in Delhi for a few days before coming to Bir to organize a direct taxi, unless you have a travel agent who can book it for you, in which case you would pay more than the local rates. If you want to book yourself in Delhi, ask around different travel agents to make sure you’re getting a competitive rate. Going rates from Bir to Delhi at the time of writing were around Rs. 7000 for a small car (Alto) or Rs.9000 for a bigger car (Innova). Have the driver call Deer Park to get precise directions. The journey may take around 10-12 hours, depending on traffic.
As of May 2013, Air India has resumed daily flights from Delhi to Dharamsala. The airport is actually located at Gaggal, a small town about 15km below Dharamsala and close to Kangra, about 90 minutes drive from Bir. Bear in mind that this is a very small airport and flights may be delayed or cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.
FROM MCLEOD GANJ/DHARAMSALA TO BIR
Taxis take about 2 hours. Fares are subject to frequent revision - check with Mcleod/Dharamsala Taxi Union for the latest – may cost around Rs1500.
There is a direct local bus to Bir Tibetan Colony from Mcleod/Dharamsala at around 1-2pm every day, operated by Anurag Travels (3-4 hours). It returns from Bir to Mcleod at 7:30am. Please confirm the times at the bus stand because this information is subject to change. Otherwise, change at Palampur and/or Baijnath. From Baijnath there are frequent local buses to Bir Indian village - they will drop you at Chowgan crossroads, from where it is a 1km walk to Bir Tibetan Colony. Local buses bound for Jogindernagar or Mandi/Kullu can also drop you at Bir Road junction, from where you can get a taxi (Rs.100).
FROM ELSEWHERE IN INDIA
Transit via Delhi or Pathankot, then follow the instructions above.
MOVING ON FROM BIR
Basically, follow the above instructions in reverse! Bear in mind that buses and taxis can usually be booked at short notice, but trains need to be booked well in advance. Also, if you are a non-Indian national travelling by tourist quota train tickets, book your onward/return ticket while in Delhi because tourist quota cannot be booked anywhere in the vicinity of Bir.
We look forward to seeing you at Deer Park – please feel free to contact us if you need any further information or assistance!