For the benefit of foreign (non-Indian) travelers wishing to stay overnight in the Tibetan Colony of Bir, we are posting a copy of the Protected Area Permit (PAP) Application Form that the Government of India requires you to complete and submit to the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in order to receive the PAP, which allows you to stay overnight in the Tibetan Colony.
Please note that the PAP is required only in the case of overnight stays in the Bir Tibetan Colony by foreign citizens. It is not required for day trips to the Colony, nor is it required for visits or overnight stays in Bir proper (Upper Bir) or at the Dharmalaya Institute in Ghornala Village. Also, it is not required for citizens of India, Nepal, or Bhutan.
Download the PAP application.
(Thanks to SanghaSeva!)
What: Informal volunteer and service-learning programme
Topic: Sustainable living in the Himalayas, including green building, organic gardening, and permaculture landscaping
When: 15 February to 10 March, 2013 (Participants may arrive and depart anytime in this period)
Where: Dharmalaya Institute
Languages: English & Hindi
Facilitators: Mark Moore, Raj Kumar, Naresh Sharma, et al
Description: Informal programme at the Dharmalaya Institute open to both residential and non-residential participants. We will be doing fun, physical work, including green building, organic gardening, tree planting, and more. There will be plenty of opportunities for learning, application, questions, and relaxation. Feel free to come and go anytime between 15 February and 10 March.
For more information see Dharmalaya’s volunteer page, read the FAQ, and complete the volunteer application if you’re interesting in joining us.
We’ve received word that the Government of India has issued changes in policy regarding the requirement of Protected Area Permits (PAPs) in the Bir Tibetan Colony (and other Tibetan settlements, such as Chauntra).
Three key points:
- Foreigners require a PAP only for overnight stays in the Bir Tibetan Colony (or other Tibetan settlements). No PAP is required for day visits to the Tibetan Colony (or, for example, Chauntra).
- Foreigners only need a PAP if you are staying in the Tibetan Colony itself. If you are staying in an Indian area, such as an Indian hotel or guest house outside of the Tibetan Colony, for example in Chowgan or in Bir proper (“Upper Bir”), then no PAP is required.
- If you are staying in Bir and visiting Chauntra you only need the PAP for Bir, not for Chauntra (and vice versa if you are staying in Chauntra and visiting Bir, you only need the PAP for Chauntra, not for Bir).
To apply for a permit for to stay in Bir Tibetan Colony, you need to apply at the District Commissioner’s office in Dharamshala.
For those who haven’t heard the news: The Government of India has recently classified the Bir Tibetan Colony as a “protected area.” Unfortunately, this means any foreigners wishing to visit the Bir Tibetan Colony for any reason must now obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) before arriving.
You can apply for the PAP in one of three ways:
- When you apply for your India visa
- At the Ministry of Home in New Delhi
- At the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office in Dharamshala
Note that the PAP is needed only for the Bir Tibetan Colony in Chowgan, not for Bir proper (“Upper Bir”) or surrounding areas.
BIR, HP — The government of Himachal Pradesh has imposed a temporary ban on paragliding at the popular Bir-Billing site, 80km southeast of Dharamshala, claiming a need to keep the region secure during the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches in Dharamshala.
Paragliding enthusiasts and professional pilots alike have criticized the ban, saying it is unnecessary and harmful both to local business and to India’s chances in the upcoming Asian Championship in China on 20 May.
According to the Times of India:
Flyers Gurpreet Dhindsa and Jyoti Thakur, who are to participate in the tournament, said: “This ban doesn’t make sense. A sport must not suffer due to another. We are here wasting crucial time, otherwise would have practiced our skills better.” However, the administration citied a different season saying the ban was due to arrival of VIPs. Kangra deputy commissioner R S Gupta said, “Paragliding has been restricted due to the IPL matches. Security measures are necessary as so many VIPs and VVIPs are scheduled to arrive.” The ban has also upset local flyers and tourists. “The tourist season has begun and the weather is suitable. We charge Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,000 from each customer, and we cannot go on with our business,” said an operator.
Bir-Billing is acknowledged as the best site in India for professional-level paragliding, and is regarded internationally as the second-best site in the world, second only to Lake Como in Italy. Paragliding enthusiasts travel to Bir from across the globe to enjoy the strong thermals and beautiful scenery.