My Initial Efforts to plan my future travel
It was around mid April 2012 and I always like to plan my travel 4 – 5 months in advance and that too my next 2 tours but this time I failed to plan my next immediate tour. All because of summer heat ,we didn’t wanted to go anywhere but to stay home in AC chilling inside our rooms with our sweet little daughter Aarya. Anyways July was coming near when monsoon start and I had to decide where to go on my next tour. I had already 3 to 4 destinations in my mind.
Usually I make some small itinerary of the 3 – 4 destinations decided to go next and show it to my wife Sonali and she picks one of them and yes that’s the decision. So here also I started making plans for next tour . First in my list was Srisailam Tour . I have a very fantastic plan to cover 3 – 4 jyotirlingas in just 7 days in this tour from Mumbai. Apart from Srisailam , Grishneshwar, Aundha Nagnath and Parli Vaijnath can be covered in the itinerary planned by me from Mumbai. So That was the first one. My second destination was Rajasthan . Ajmer , Pushkar , Chittaurhgadh, Nathdwara, Udaipur and Eklingjee . My third destination was Golden Triangle of Orissa ( Puri, Konark and Bhubaneshwar) along with 2 – 3 days in Kolkatta and Sunderbans. My inclination was much on this tour.And also I contacted our fellow author Anupam Majumdar to help me visit Kolkata and Sunderbans and within no time he mailed me all important places along with time required to visit them . In fact I had brief chat with him also. And finally my 4th destination was in south Tirupati , Kanchipuram , Chidamabaram, Kumbakonam, Srirangam, Thanjavur and back.
Some frustating moments for me
I showed all the 4 plans to Sonali and explained in detail about each and every aspect of the travel . But Somehow she was not willing to give green signal to anyone of those itineraries planned by me. 2 – 3 days passed after showing the itineraries , time was passing and traiin reservations were getting full. Again I tried to force my wife Sonali to select one of those travel plans but all in vain . Now I was getting pissed off as nothing concrete travel plan was there for next 3 months and now atleast I am addicted to travel atleast once in 3 months. So I started getting desperate trying hard to convince my wife but the answer came “ I am not properly convinced by your plans. And if Lord wants to call us he will definitely call us”. Somehow I always trusted her sixth sense because her decisions has always landed in correct and on right path. So even if I was not stable I had no choice but to obey her. She said anyways we are planning to go Chardham in Diwali , so forget tour of July.
But still my inner instance was not allowing me to obey the above decision . So again I started poking her about small 3 – 4 day trips to Bhimashankar or Trimbakeshwar In Maharashtra or small one in Gujarat. But ALAS ! all in vain. Now I also had no choice but to leave aside all my plans and concentrate on my daily routine till Diwali. My mindset was set that this time we are not going in July . So although little bit upset and sad I decided to cope up.
Vaishno Devi and Amritsar is approved
One more week passed and I was back to normal with my daily routine , forgetting everything about not traveling out in July. And one evening Myself and Sonali were just having chat about our previous tours and next tour to Char Dham. While discussing, all of sudden golden words came from my mouth “Lets go to Vaishno devi in July along with Amritsar.” Sonali’s eyes were glittering now as if they were telling yes, yes and yes. But her still mouth was mum. I started telling the plan verbally as I had designed that plan two times before which didn’t materialise and also I had read lot of stories In ghumakkar.com . So I had basic idea about days required , places and cost required to cover that tour. Immediately within 2 minutes she uttered “Yes lets go to Vaishno Devi”. Every time this way our each and every tour decision happens all of sudden in excitement . So this was nothing new for me, because I know when yes comes from her mouth , our tour happens. BINGO!
As soon as the positive reply came I started looking out for ticket reservation in railways around 28th July 2011 .Only one month was remaining I was looking out for tickets for the Amritsar in Golden Temple Mail and to my surprise just above 100 seats were empty. Also I looked at return tickets in Swaraj Express which runs between Jammu and Mumbai. I rushed to reservation ticket centre and booked 3 tickets to Amritsar In Golden Temple Mail and 3 tickets to Mumbai return in Swaraj Express. The third ticket was for my father in law who is also a very well established ghumakkar along with us . Our Trio along with my daughter Aarya is a great HIT. One of my childhood dreams was becoming true that I was going to travel in Golden Temple Mail. I am also madly crazy about trains like some other fellow authors right from Childhood. I used to fantasize that I will travel in Frontier Mail once in lifetime till Amritsar.
Frontier Mail ( Now Golden Temple mail ) is more than 75 year old train in Indian railways. Once it was fastest train in India for many decades till Rajdhani Express was introduced. Still it is one of the very well managed and respected super fast trains . So travelling in this train is dream coming true for me.
Once again Ghumakkars Together
Now after booking train tickets , I spoke with my father in law on cell phone about our trip . But his excitement was not as high as mine because he had already been to Vaishno Devi 4 years back along with his Organisation Employees. So he was not so much excited in this tour, but yes he was coming with us. Now next thing was to search about information on Amritsar and Vaishno Devi. Immediately rather than looking into Internet I picked my cell phone and dialled the number of Manu Prakash Tyagi. In one of his stories he has written that he travels to Vaishno devi twice a year. So rather than searching Internet better get into contact with a person who already is experienced in travelling there. So when I called and revealed about my plan to Vaishno Devi and Amritsar in July 2012, rather than giving information he said that he is also coming with me and apart from Amritsar and Vaishno Devi he told me that he will fix Naina Devi, Jwala devi etc of Himachal Pradesh in that tour. Now this is like “Sone pe Suhaga”( what more can we ask for ?).
Lord Amarnath calls me from the mouth of Jatdevta
Now it was for first time that I am going to visit Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh and J&K, and just out of curiosity and more information on what to do , I rang up our one more fellow author cum ghumakkar Sandeep Jatdevta Panwar. I told him about my tour and while listening his mind struck with another idea , why not go for Amarnath Yatra since it is coinciding with the dates I am going. Exact words of Jatdevta ,” क्यूँ न आप वैष्णो देवी के साथ अमरनाथ यात्रा पर चले जाओ. हिमाचल की देविया फिर कभी करना, वे १२ महीने चालू होती है.अमरनाथ यात्रा एक साल में केवल डेढ़ महीना ही चालू रहती है.(Why don’t you go to Amarnath yatra along with Vaishno Devi . And visit the Himachal Devi ‘s next time ,They are open for 12 months and Amarnath Yatra is open for just one and half months).In 2012 Amarnath Yatra was ending on 2nd August 2012 on Raksha Bandhan day. And my tour will be starting from 28 th July . So better go to Amarnath First and then go Vaishno Devi. Now this was terrific idea coming out of the hard head of Sandeep Jatdevta. We had never thought of going to Amarnath Yatra in near future . Never I had planned any itinerary for Lord Amarnath Cave. My preferred destinations were to visit all jyotirlingas , Important Lord Vishnu temples, Important Shaktipeeths, Ashtavinayak, Chhota Chardham and Chardham. And after completing all these destinations, my plan was to visit Amarnath Cave and Kailash Mansarovar finally . Similarly as written above my preference was never Vaishno Devi first . I don’t know how did it struck in my head with lightening speed and came out of my mouth. Indeed no one can visit Vaishno Devi without getting call from their itself.
Millions and Billions of thanks to Sandeep Jatdevta , as because of him our Amarnath Yatra was possible. My family is heavily obliged to him.
Approval for Amarnath Yatra
Now when Sandeep Jatdevta told about Amarnath , I immediately had decided from my side to be positive. Question was to be from Sonali , because first thing I had to add 2 more days in the trip and secondly Sonali had to arrange her yoga classes accordingly. But when I asked her she also gave positive response immediately and then I called and inform my father in law .Now he was also satisfied. Next day I went to railway station and changed my date from 28th to 26th adding two more days in our yatra. Similarly I rang up Manu Tyagi and told him about the plan , even he was ready for Amarnath yatra because still his Yatra was pending.
Sandeep Jatdevta also told me that we won’t be able to witness the ice shivalinga, because I am going in the final days of the yatra . Generally the shivalinga melts within 10 – 15 days of yatra start. But for us that cave was important where Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati are present . Shivalinga is melted because of rise in temperature by we humans only. And anyways we wanted to feel Lord Shiva and Shakti rather than only visualising it. So final decision was taken that we are going to Amritsar first , then do Amarnath Yatra and then Vaishno Devi finally and back.
Manu Tyagi also booked his tickets to Amritsar in Golden Temple mail along with us. So now in full force our shopping started . Warm clothes, Trekking Shoes , New clothes for Vaishno Devi ( suggested by Manu Tyagi), a big trekking bag etc.This time a big checklist was made for the items to be taken for this mighty ourmey to Almighty
Whether to take my four year old daughter Aarya or not ?
Now when I told about my decision to go yatra to Amarnath to nearby friends and family members, majority of them had told not to take Aarya there near the cave, as the yatra is too dangerous and weather conditions are sarcastic. Too many accident prone zones were there. Also this time yatra was shortened due to climatic conditions , and death toll this time was maximum. So everybody told that keeping Aarya at home is better option rather than risking her up there in the mountains.
But my daughter Aarya is very lucky for me and Sonali , because it was only after her birth, I came to know what human life really means.Everything changed after her birth. Even my inclination towards spiritualism initiated after her birth. My all yatras are happening only after her birth. So I and Sonali believe that its not we who are taking Aarya to spiritual destinations , but its Aarya who is taking us to spiritual destinations, So how can we forget her. So we were firm on our decision to take Aarya, but all other family and friends were opposing.
Finally I rang up Sandeep Jatdevta again and told him about my confusion. He said don’t bother at all about the conditions. With little care anyone can cope with the conditions up there . So decision was made Aarya was coming with us. Once again thanks to Sandeep Jatdevta for clearing my doubts.
Pahalgam or Baltal ?
Now the question was to go from Pahalgam or Baltal . From Pahalgam the way is 32 kms to and fro and from Baltal the way is around 14 kms to and fro. Pahalgam is much closer to Jammu than Baltal . So total travel time remains the same . Again advice from Jatdevta was necessary here, so discussions were going with him. According to spiritual significance , Lord Shiva went along with Devi Parvati through Pahalgam route , and Pahalgam route is more scenic in beauty although longer. So Yatra through Pahalgam was decided.And since after completing Amarnath yatra , Pahalgam sight seeing and rest for one day was decided , so we decided to come back also via Pahalgam route.
Amarnath Yatra :- On Foot or Horses or Helicopter ?
First of all Helicopter was excluded from the list because we wanted to enjoy scenic beauty and euphoria which is generated while going through the yatra. Now it was to decide whether to go on foot or horses.My inclination was much on foot rather than horses. But Yatra from Pahalgam to Amarnath Cave via foot and back would take minimum take 3 days to complete and if rest is required than total would come to 4 days. And via horses it would take only 2 days to and fro. So trek to cave was decided on horses.
Hindrance comes for Manu Tyagi for Amarnath Yatra
I also went to doctor for medical certificate and then went to J&K bank for completing yatra registration . In mean time Manu Tyagi went to East tour for 20 days and came back. His Amarnath yatra registration was incomplete till June 21. Then again from 22 to 24 he went with his cousins to Haridwar and Rishikesh. From 25th June till 7th July his health was poor. On 9th may he went to Himachal Ring Road yatra with Sandeep Jatdevta. He cameback on 16th July. His Amarnath yatra registration was still incomplete. He was about to go next day but Kaavad Yatra started which blocked the Haridwar Delhi Highway and closed all the banks there. So now curiosity started arising in my mind that what is happening . Now only 6 – 7 days are left for yatra to start and still Amarnath yatra registration is not complete. Doubts started arising in my mind whether Manu Tyagi will make it or not. Now other problem started was from his school where he is employed as a teacher . From 30th July he had to attend duty which was set by election commission which is next to impossible to avoid. Even in very difficult situations , teachers don’t get leave. So now his chances of coming with me were becoming negligible. On 24th and 25th July he tried his level best to persuade his seniors to release him for Amarnath Yatra but ALAS! He didn’t get 8 days holiday which were required for Yatra. But he got one day CL and along with one Sunday and that he utilised to come with us to Amritsar at least. Both were little upset on this.Can’t help it.
By this it can be easily understood we are just merely a minute pawns in hands of almighty. If he wishes to call us then only we can go otherwise not. Both the examples are demonstrated by the Lord.
This was how my Amarnath Yatra was initiated by the grace of Almighty. In next story I will actually start my Yatra.
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