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. (Last updated Feb 2017)
Travel times and fares given below are approximate. Taxi fares are for a small car (Alto); for a bigger car (eg.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
Volvo AC buses run overnight from Kashmir Gate ISBT in Delhi to Upper Bir, 2km north of Bir Tibetan Colony where Deer Park is located. They can drop you at Chowgan crossroads, from where it is a 5 minute taxi ride (Rs60) to Bir Colony.
Buses from Delhi to Jogindernagar can also drop you at the Bir Road turnoff on the main road, from where it is a 10 minute taxi ride (Rs100) to Bir Colony. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Delhi to Baijnath, a 20-minute taxi ride from Bir Colony (Rs300). Buses plying these two routes include Volvo deluxe, semi-deluxe and ordinary.
All buses are operated by Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC). Tickets can be booked online at www.hrtc.gov.in, through travel agents or in person at the Delhi Kashmir Gate bus station (go to the Himachal Road Transport counter), or at the HRTC counter at Mandi House near Connaught Place. Most of these buses also pick up at Majnu-ka-Tilla, the Tibetan colony in north Delhi.
The overnight journey takes approximately 11-13 hours, arriving in the early morning.
Please note that some booking websites offer bookings for private buses from Delhi to Baijnath or Jogindernagar, however most of these buses are actually bound for Kangra/Dharamsala and you would be transferred to another vehicle for the last part of the journey.
If you plan to visit Mcleod Ganj/Dharamsala before heading on to Bir, there is a wide range of overnight buses from Delhi. The private buses mostly 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 or through many bus booking websites. 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, about 140km from Bir. From there Bir is about 4 hours by taxi (approx Rs.2700 – contact firstname.lastname@example.org 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.100. The local bus may take 6-8 hours, depending on how often 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 Pathankot Cant (formerly 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 that at Pathankot Cant most trains only stop for a few minutes, so you need to be ready to get off. At Pathankot, which is a bigger station, they stop for 10-20 minutes.
Most trains go overnight, arriving early in the morning at Pathankot. Among the most popular are:
- Jammu Mail (14033) departs Old Delhi 20:10, arrives Pathankot 5:10am
- Jammu Rajdhani (12425) departs New Delhi 20:40, arrives Pathankot Cant at 3:35am (this is the cleanest and most comfortable train, but not the best in terms of arrival time)
- Uttar Kranti (12445) departs New Delhi 20:50, arrives Pathankot Cant 4:25am (fast but also note early arrival time)
- Dauladhar Express (14035) departs Old Delhi 22:45, arrives Pathankot 8:20am (only operates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
Going rates from Bir to Delhi at the time of writing were around Rs. 8000 for a small car (Alto) or Rs.10000 for a bigger car (Innova). Please contact email@example.com if you need assistance in booking a taxi. The journey may take around 10-13 hours, depending on traffic.
Air India and Spice Jet operate 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. These flights can be booked on most flight booking websites.
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 also a direct local bus to Upper Bir from Dharamsala at around 1-2pm every day, operated by Anurag Travels (3-4 hours). It returns from Bir Colony to Dharamsala at 7:45am. 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 Upper Bir – they will drop you at Chowgan crossroads, from where it is a 1km walk to Bir Colony, where Deer Park is located. 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!