My Amarnath Yatra: The Route and the Messengers
Travel experiences teach you a lot. It opens your vision to that which you’d never learn virtually- things that seem ordinary on screen, but have a way greater significance in real life. When you travel you learn to manage things on your own, you learn what’s important and what’s not.
The other day I saw a headline that read how the annual Amarnath Yatra resumed after two days of suspension due to protests for Burhan Wani’s (Hizbul terrorist) second death anniversary. The headline not only reminded me of my journey to Amarnath the previous week, but also how the CRPF, BSF and other security forces stand with the devotees in sun, snow, and shower.
Always fascinated by the infinite forms of Shiva, I decided to visit the Amarnath shrine this year. Due to heavy snowfall all the year round, the cave is accessible only during July and August. To begin with, I (along with my family) took a flight from Chandigarh to Srinagar, Srinagar to Sonmarg in a cab, braved a helicopter ride to Panchtarni, got lifted by Ponies till Amarnath base camp, and then it was a kilometer’s walk to the main cave.
The journey on Pony and the walk is something that has left me in awe. It didn’t stop raining or snowing, but that didn’t freak the devotees, nor did it stop the security forces from lending support to all. The non co-operative weather made the route muddy, marshy and difficult to walk on. While we could still speed up the pony, witnessing human taxis (four people lifting the fifth on a rope bed) was a lesson on how mankind can live in harmony with one another. No one knew which religion, caste or race did the lifters belong to, yet there were people to help and accept help.
At a point of time when the weather got really afflicting and the security forces had to ask the devotees to pause until it was safe enough to resume, the devotees would deny the plea and argue with the forces. The rain and snow left us wet , nevertheless we made it to the main cave. The darshan was peaceful and tranquilizing. Never had I ever met with such an experience which made me feel so… speechless. God is infinite and so is his forms.
We could not come back to the base camp because the commute is paused post dusk. Seeing us all wet in the weather, the jawans from CRPF not only gave us their clothes but also their tent to spend the night while they found comfort in spending the night out in cold. I’d like to mention their names here – Commandant Kailash Ramola, Asst. Commandant Rajesh Maurya and all the 300-400 men working under them. The hardships that they go through battling rain, snow, landslides with no electricity or phone connectivity can only be imagined. Upon sunrise, we resumed our journey back and reached home safely.
People narrate tales of the hardships and struggles they had to go through to be a part of the splendid Amarnath Yatra. No one talks of what the Forces go through to help people in the best way possible. These men are fully devoted to ensuring safety and swiftness by thousands of pilgrims. A heartfelt gratitude for their gesture.
Long live these messengers. BRAVO!