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As I have explained each and every details of the destinations covered, I would just add the pictures here with small one liners and captions. In between there was one more intimidating incident which I have narrated and apart from that darshan of one of the most auspicious thing used by Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati.
Return Trek towards Pahalgam
We started to return at around 10.00 – 10.15 am . Any how we had to reach Pahalgam today in the evening.While yesterday we covered 26 kms ( Chandanwadi to Panchtarni) to of the trekking journey and today we had to cover 38 kms of the journey. In which 6 kms from Panchtarni to Amarnath Cave ( 6 kms was already covered). So now 32 kms were remaining and we had around 8 hours to return if we wanted to reach today. So we needed to rush , but the positive most of the trek was climbing downwards an descend.Only climb was between Panchtarni to Mahagunas Top and that it was not too steep. So We started the return journey all on the horses. Also I remembered the dangerous incident with Aarya, So I was not so keen to take Aarya on that old horse. But nobody except Aarya could have sat on the horse. So we proceeded on that horse only.But as soon as Aarya sat on the horse and we started again problems of imbalancing started . This time I was angry and I didn’t want Aarya to go on that old horse. So I told that horseman that this is not going to work and so he carried Aarya on his shoulders as seen in the picture. Now this made me relax a bit as we were passing through the most dangerous part of the yatra and Aarya was not on that horse.
In between we saw lot of Palanquins ( Dolis) coming from Panchtarni. I aksed horseman what is cost of a palanquin from Pahalgam and back. He told me the price was R. 15000 for the round trip from Pahalgam. COOL. 64 kms on shoulders of 4 people and rs. 15000.
At Pancntarni , Time to reshuffle
At Panchtarni we took a halt for just having tea . We started at 11.30 AM. From here on Sonali sat on Aarya’s old horse Chhotu and Aarya and Horseman together sat on Sonali’s horse Raja . Now lets see whether this works or not. Then we proceeded quickly towards Poshpatri and Mahagunas Top. This was quite a boring journey from Panchtarni to Poshpatri as now there was no steep climb and straight upward slanting path was waiting for us to cross for around 4 kms.
One of astonishing picture where a small boy aged 3 – 3.5 years was trekking with his father. His father said that from last 16 kms from Chandanwadi till Mahagunas Top he was trekking.One more wonderful sight to see utter devotion from both father and devotion.
One more Daunting and intimidating incident
Still half way to go exactly 16 kms and the time was 2.00 PM at Mahagunas top . Here the weather was extremely cold. Around 5 degree C on this afternoon. All of were fully covered except me. Aarya was now sleeping on the horse with horseman sitting with him on the backside on Raja ( Sonali’s Horse) . Since heavy cold wind was blowing I told him to cover Aarya’s face also with handkerchief so that she does not directly exposed to the cold and biting atmosphere. We were ready to start to descend one of most rocky surfaces on the trekking path. Descend is more dangerous than climbing. According to statistics, more people get injured and die via climbing down rather than climbing up. So again a very nervous feeling was coming inside. We started descending on very rocky and protruding surface from Mahagunas Top to Babal Top and
Suddenly Aarya’s horse Raja’s legs got stuck in between the rocks which made him fall on the front side. The whole scene happened in front of me. Aarya along with horse and the horseman all fell down in the front of the horse with Aarya’s face rubbing and dragging on the ground for 3 – 4 seconds. I was once again terrified and stunned to see the sight. In total shock and dismay, I saw that scene, and this time it was very dangerous and could prove fatal for my small girl. Within no time I got down from my horse and went towards the scene where Aarya was fallen. Sonali and my father in law also rushed towards the sight. Military men rushed from their respective bases and position after seeing that horrible incident. Aarya face was covered with handkerchief to keep her away from the cold atmosphere. But now I am seeing full handkerchief covered with blood, with Aarya crying terribly from inside ,which made my legs shiver and whole body was frozen with fear and deadly feelings. Soon the horseman got up and took out the handkerchief from her face. I saw her crying with almost half face covered with blood.
Sooner within moments other there was mood of anger and violence from the spectators. One of the pilgrims on the horse on the way to the cave said, उस घोड़े वाले की गलती है , उसने बराबर देखा नहीं और उसे घोड़े के आगे होना चाहिए. ______ को पैसो के अलावा कुछ नहीं चाहिए. दो उसको पकडके. ( That was mistake from that horseman, he didn’t see properly and he should have been in front. _________They don’t want anything apart from money . Hit him. ( spaces resemble abusive words )
Sonali was so much tempered that she came to hit that horseman . She can’t watch blood on Aarya’s body. She went berserk and was about to hit that horseman but at that time BSF soldier came and hit that horseman with full force and started abusing him. ______ बराबर लेके जाने को आता नहीं आता है तो यहाँ पर धंधा क्यूँ करता है. ( ______If you ca’t take them properly the why are you doing this business here )
In all this , I just looked at crying Aarya and started looking at the wound. Blood was oozing out like anything from her mouth. Her full face was brown and red with mud and blood and she was crying loudly. All of sudden, One of the BSF soldiers told me to go to the dispensary nearby at Mahagunas Top.
I took bleeding Aarya with my horseman Yakoob to the dispensary. There the soldier took out some Savlon and hot water and started cleaning the wound and face. After cleaning I got major relief as I came to know that, only lower lip of Aarya had a cut and after dressing the wound the bleeding stopped. Then the BSF camp soldier told me, वह घोड़ेवाले की गलती नहीं है , घोड़ा फस गया पत्थरो के बीचमें , इसलिए ऐसा हुआ. और इसे शेषनाग में हॉस्पिटल है उसमे ज़रा दिखा देना की कही ज्यादा तो नहीं लगी है. वैसे कुछ ज्यादा हुआ नहीं है. बस मामूली सा घाव है . ( Actually it was not the horseman’s mistake,the horse was stuck between the stones. That is why it happened. And show her at Sheshnag Hospital. She does not have hurt much. It just a small wound. )
But I was not in a mood to understand. I went down at the incident place where all horseman , my family and crowd were present and first of all told Sonali, thats it nothing big but just a cut. But Then I looked at Aarya’s horse Raja. Oh! No , His lips were bleeding like anything and was bruised badly. Similarly Aarya’s horseman sitting behind was also badly bruised with all cuts in hands , chest face and legs.
But something was definitely fishy as both the incidents were happened with Aarya. Although I personally feel that in both the cases Lord saved her. YES Lord saved her. It was impossible that this much big incident and Aarya who is in front just gets away with the cut. In this case Aarya fell to the ground before horse and horseman. And then I saw her face dragging and rubbing on the ground. That sight was just too scary and deadly that I couldn’t have imagine in my wildest dreams and I saw it. I am not writing here what all came to my mind as the thoughts in those moments were baneful and unpleasant. Thank God , She was OK and got away with a cut on her lip. Soon her lips and cheeks were swollen due to the wound.
Now I lost my calm, went berserk and started blasting on all horsemen with full anger and with top of my voice.
देखिये मुझे नहीं पता क्या हुआ और क्या होने वाला है. यह दूसरी बार हुआ है , पहले उस घोड़े छोटू के साथ और अब यह दुसरे घोड़े राजा के साथ. मैं आपको एक बात बता देता हूँ. आप आये हमारे साथ पैसे तय करके. हम आपको जो तय किये थे उससे ज्यादा डे रहे है ५०० रू. और इससे आपका फ़र्ज़ बनता है कि आपको हमारी रक्षा करना और सही सलामत लेके जाना. यह मेरी बेटी मेरे लिए सब कुछ है , अगर इसे कुछ हो गया तो , मैं आप लोगो को नहो छोडूंगा. आपको मार दूंगा , फिर चाहे मैं सूली पर चड जाऊं. यह मिलिटरी वालो की बन्दूक से ही उड़ा दूँगा. सच कह रहा हूँ. मेरी खोपड़ी अगर सटक गयी तो फिर तुम्हारी खैर नहीं. ( See I don’t know what has happened and what will happen. This has happened second time. First it was with that horse Chhotu and now with this second one called Raja . We are givig you Rs. 500 more than the amount which was fixed. And so it is your duty that you protect us and take us safely.If something happens now I am not going to leave you . I am going to kill you and then let I be hanged no problem. I am going to shoot you with this military soldier’s guns . I am telling you the truth. If my head gets hot then you all are gone.)
I don’t know why and how I spoke all this . But yes the incident had shaken me again with full magnitude.
They said ” नहीं साहब अब यह घोड़ेवाला निचे चंदनवाडी तक आपकी बेटी को उठाके लेके जायेगे अपनी पीठ पर.आप हम पर भरोसा रखिये.” ( No Sir, Now this guy will take your Aarya on his shoulders till Chandanwadi. Please have faith on us. )
I was relaxed and composed now as Aarya was not going to sit on the horses. Now the only target was to reach Chandanwadi as soon as possible and relieve ourselves from these mental stresses. We proceeded further with Aarya on the shoulders of the Horseman from Mahagunas Top. Still those shameless horsemen asked for 100 Rs. at Babaltop for tea . And I gave them as I didn’t want to create more tension between us as we had to reach Chandanwadi safely. Next from Babaltop we moved towards Sheshnag where Charri Mubarak was at halt.
What is Charri Mubarak
Charri Mubarak is saffron robed Holy maces of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati.These maces were used by Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati thousands of years ago while walking. At the moment the custodian of this mace is Mahant Deependra Giri and its abode is at Dashnami Akhara at Badshah Chowk , Srinagar. These maces ( Charri Mubarrak) travel to Amarnath Cave during the yatra and are offered prayers at various temples enroute Pahalgam, along with huge crowd of Sadhus and devotees. Before the yatra the Charri Mubarak procession reaches Sharika Bhawani temple in Hari Parvat Srinagar, then in Shankarachrya temple, Srinagar and finally moves ahead to Pahalgam on the fifth last day of Amarnath Yatra.Here in Pahalagm prayers are offered with a night stay.There are night halts at every important places coinciding with the legend of Amarnath Katha or Amarnath Cave. On fourth last day charri Mubarak halts at Chandanwadi. On third last day at Sheshnag . On second last day at Panchtarni and finally on the Raksha Bandhan day when the yatra ends the Charri Mubarak reaches the cave. After performing pooja and rituals Charri leaves to its abode in Srinagar via Baltal route and the cave and Yatra is closed. I got have darshan of these great maces and touch them when I was in Sheshnag.
I was once again very fortunate to have the darshan of these holy maces of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati. Please have the vision of these great maces.Only Amarnath yatris have fortune to touch this maces . After this yatra they can only be witnessed.
I went along with Aarya in the hospital in Sheshnag camp to see whether everything was fine. The Doctor checked the wound and said its just a cut. So I was confirmed that nothing much has happened apart from small cut. We moved further towards the Sheshnag lake.
I was little tired on the horses , So I told my horseman Yakoob that I will come to Zajibal via walk. So I started walking enjoying the pleasant waters of Sheshnag lake with my eyes.
All the Bhandaras and Langars started to evacuate. We had seen langars at Zajibal and Pissutop in my previous posts. But everything vanished when we came next day. I again started on the horses from here.
By seeing this valley, remembering the climb and the incidents that happened with us , I thought no way I am going to climb down Pissutop on horses . So all of us left our horses and started climbing down on our own legs. And the decision was right.
Finally we reach Chandanwadi at 6.30 pm
Final Confrontation with Horsemen and back to Pahalgam
As I had told you before that for 4 horses we had fixed the rate of rs. 7000 for return trek . In halt via going through Panchtarni Aarya’s horseman was unsatisfied , so I told him that I would give him extra Rs.500. So now total cost was now Rs. 7500. They also asked for money for their tea and breakfast. And also My horseman Yaakoob took Aarya to the cave on his shoulders and he also gave me two horse shoes of my full black horse Baadal. I don’t know but he told me that horse shoe of full black horses are very lucky. We have to keep them fixed above our main door to keep dark energies away. But two incidents also happened which made the horseman think that this guy is going to make complaint on us to Amarnath Shrine Board or Military BSF. But to their surprise I was very kind as one of horseman saved my daughters life between Panchtarni and Sangam although it was his fault and second horseman took Aarya on his shoulders for 4 hours for 16 kms which is not a joke. Also travelling 32 kms total of 64 kms to and fro in these dangerous treks is not like eating Pizzas and burgers. So instead of enforcing penalty on them, I rewarded them with 500 rs. more . I gave them a total of Rs. 8000, 1000 more than what was decided plus money for tea and breakfast which they had already included. After this decision of mine they were quite delighted. It was Lord’s wish that mercy and sympathy were coming from my heart in those moments.
Finally we headed towards one of the two Langars which were still present in Chandanwadi. We had food and there were still around 15 to 2o pilgrims from Maharashtra going towards the cave. We had chat with them. Everybody was asking about wound on Aarya’s lips. Aarya was not having food as her lips were completely swollen. So one of the pilgrims gave her apple which she readily ate. Then after having final Prasad of Bhole Baba we left for Pahalgam in a private Tavera. which cost us Rs. 500.
We reached in our Hotel in Pahalgam completely tired and dosed off.
The positives aspects of My Amarnath Yatra
- The main obstacle traffic was negligible because we were going in last 4 days of Yatra.
- There was very less snow on the path which helped us to speed up the journey and also less risky.Due to that the temperature although very low but was bearable.
- Due to last days of the Yatra ( off season) , facilities and options were more . So cost was less by more than 60 % and we could negotiate at lot of places. Horses itself cost more than Rs. 4000 – 4500/ per person for return Yatra to Pahalgam. I got one in Rs. 1750 for return trek. Hotel room I got in just rs. 400 whereas the tariff there is Rs. 1200.
- The best thing about this Yatra was that I was able to witness the Ice Shivalinga, which I didn’t expect as it generally melts in 15 – 20 days. But this time till the end it was present and that too at the height of 8 feet.
- I got to see the immortal pigeons of the Amarnath Cave which is also rare event.
- A good 20 minutes of satisfied darshan of Baba Amarnath inside the Amarnath Cave, which is not possible in early days of the Yatra. In fact sometimes it takes 3 – 4 hours just in queue to take darshan of Holy lingam inside the cave.
- During the yatra we didn’t witness single drop of rain , which is one of the very rare event in these conditions. It was like big boon.
- During the return we got to witness Lord Shiva’s and Maa Parvati’s maces ( Charri Mubarak).
- Apart from above , Lord saved Aarya from two horrifying incidents, claiming with proofs that he is always there.
Now Combination of all the above points is very rare, I think it is next to impossible.
I also thank from the bottom of my heart to all these mentioned below, because of them my yatra was safe and facilitated.
- Amarnath Shrine Board :- Whatever may be the facilities , these people try to work out new improvements always.The road to the yatra is one of the toughest and requires time to work out. More than 11 months the land is covered with full snow.
- Langar walas and Bhandara walas for providing free prasad to each and every devotee.
- Local Kashmiri Muslim Horsemen and Shopkeepers for prasad, tents etc.
- Doctors present in the camps in the yatra.
- Priests and Sadhus.
- Three Bodies of BSF , CRPF and J & K Police. I will tell you one thing for sure, even if the above people are not there don’t worry our BSF and CRPF are enough to conduct the whole yatra.But without them it is impossible.
- Blogs and posts read :- Sandeep Jatdevta, Neeraj Jat and Rastogi jee.
- Manu Prakash Tyagi , ghumakkar.com, its authors, readers and commentators and not to forget our very own Mr. Sandeep Jatdevta Panwar because of whom my yatra was executed and planned.
- My wife, Sonali and my father in law who gave me permission at the start.
- And finally the ultimate Almighty because each and everything was done by him.
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