According to our schedule we had to return back via Baltal route. So very quickly we packed our bag to begin our return journey to Baltal. Then with heavy heart we said good bye to that shopkeeper and that pious place and we started our return journey to Baltal at 1.00 in the afternoon. As we heard and read about this Baltal route, return journey appeared very tough to our tired body. Soon I decided to send my daddy and Kunal on Pony, and at pony stand we asked 2-3 pony walas for Baltal. They told us different rates for Baltal. Their charges were based on person and his weight that will be carried. They were quoting different rates (Rs. 1400, 1200... and so on) for one pony. Somehow I managed to convince them to accept Rs. 700/- from us because I did not want to give them any loss at this place. One pony wala (Who has to carry Kunal) got agreed but another one was asking more when he saw my dad and his sack. Then again we convinced him and finally he agreed on Rs. 800/-. And by this way they (Kunal and daddy) moved ahead on 2 horses by waving their hands.
Now it was our (Rest 8 people) turn and the sky was fully clouded, and drizzling started.On the departure time again we turned behind with our wailing eyes at that point where the view of the Holy Cave gets hidden kept looking back from there to abode of snow. Sky was fully clouded over the sharp peak at the backdrop. How beautiful was that Crescent Crowned Lord's world! When we began to walk from there, we were fully clad with raincoat and woolens to ward off the cold. Soon that view, the stalls and shops were left behind. Now only high mountains were seen all around. Great numbers of pilgrims were seen going and coming on this narrow path. This path was too tough as compare to traditional path from Sheshnag or Chandanwari. The path was very steep for most of its part. We kept walking on this very tough mountainous path, which was full of dust and moraines. By the time we reached the Sangam Base where we found a Punjab based Langar running. We halted there for 30 minutes. Here Ajit prepared 4-5 bottles energy drink (Tango) and Mangesh prepared Jaljeera for us.
Now we had to cover a steep inclined height as we were able to see that height from there itself, so without wasting much time we moved ahead. In this first session of our trek we all were walking together. Ranjan was busy with getting snaps and making movies of our return yatra. Since long time we had not taken any group photograph so he took 2-3 group photographs. Soon we crossed that height and reached on the top. Again we halted for 15 min. From here when we moved ahead as earlier again we got separated into 2-3 groups. As I grown in speed I disconnected with group and went ahead.
I was feeling heat due to fever when reached a Langar at Barari. As distance was increased between me and my group I decided to relax there. On a rock as I slept with bag under my head one army man came from behind and asked whether I was fine or not. I thanked him for care he shown. Then for next half hour both of us were talking about their life, Kashmir, Amarnath Yatra etc. He told me few beautiful and sensible things which I would like to share here. When I pointed to his gun, he said this is A-K 47. This gun sprays bullets as we spray perfume; 30 bullets in minute. "Ye gun hi hamari aurat hein, bhai hein, pita hein aur sabkuch hein. Ham ise kabhi ekela nahi chodate. Kabhibhi ise dusareke hath mein nahi dete. This is our life line here. Mera Bap bhi muzhe bachane nahi ayenga par ye jarur kam ayegi. Mein sote waqt pehele ise sulata hun aur phir mein sota hun." I was shocked by these sentences. I was thinking before this incident like gun will be just a weight for them. But all my imagination changed afterwards. Soon Ajit, Mangesh, Doctor Ashok, Ganseh and Sushil joined me. When we reached Barari from where, there are all slopes till Baltal suddenly breathing problems disappeared. We were able to breathe properly. So from Barari we were walking without any exhaustiveness. I regained my form in walking, talking and most importantly feeling thirst. For entertainment purpose I asked few ponywala's to have pitthu as me (hahah that was real fun). "Sab pitthhu chahiye pithhu ... aap jo denge wo lunga.... le lo bhole...."
With some good and bad feelings we were moving ahead. I was in trouble due to my both toes nails were damaged since poshpatri. But without any care I was moving ahead. My both socks were got wetted by blood. With the same socks I was walking since 2 days. I had not wanted to show my wound to any team mates and create any dolorous environment.
After Barari it was getting dark. Earlier we had decided to reach Baltal before sunset. But there everything was being handled by Lord Shiva. Actually we had not wanted there to face that path full of moraines and dust without light or in torch light. But we had no any other options. Finally it got dark and we were not able to see each other due to clouded weather. Only by voice we could be recognize each other. By 8.00 pm I reached at a place where we saw only 3 security person was on their duty and a small stall of biscuits and cold drinks. We sipped Jaljeera given by mangesh there and moved ahead.
Now only Ajit was walking with me. I was in fever but now there was no trace of it. Ajit also massaged my head with Roll-on (Kapoor and oil). That helped me a lot. Man Ajit was so caring for all. Ajit and Ranjan were the light weight and key people for my team. When everybody gets exhausted and feeling tired then they used to appear for any kind of help. Thank a lot to lord Shiva who added such kind of people to my team. Like Sheshnag day again we found 2-3 pony wala talking that there is only 15-20 minutes more to reach Baltal. I got much excited with their words because after Baltal, I had not need to tolerate my pain. I could remove my shoes and socks. So with a new excitement of our yatra ending we started from there, but we had not found any symbols or indication of Baltal after my one hour walk.
Again we were feeling much irritated and helpless. We asked almost all pony wala who were coming back from Baltal and the response was same "15 min more". We were not getting the meaning of their 15 min. Anyway we didn’t stop anywhere and on a gradual walk of one more hour from there we reached Baltal base camp by 9.30 pm. Here we found Ranjan, Shiva and Sushil being waited for us. We were getting happy to know that we reached at our destination but we were wrong. It was not our destination. It was Domali (Baltal Base Camp for Army). The main Pilgrim camp of Baltal was still 3 km ahead where my daddy and Kunal were already reached and booked our tent. We got frustrated because here we had no more strength left in our body. But on 30 min rest and wait we gathered only 6 people means still 2 members were missing.
Again keeping faith on lord for missing members we moved ahead toward Baltal Pilgrim camp where my daddy and Kunal were waiting and making regular announcements for us since 7 pm. After 30 minutes walk again we have been stopped and requested for dinner by a Shiv Sewak of Langar. We were totally overwhelmed on their request and the devotion with which people were running these Langars. When we entered into this langar I found my most favorite food (Maake ki Roti aur Sarso ki Saag) at the stall. I was speechless and so thankful to lord shiva. Here we ate very little amount of food and took a glass of hot milk.
After getting my favorite meal I was completely fresh. Within 20 minutes we came out from that langar and moved ahead. It was plain area so we were moving without any effort. After 1 hour walk I heard an announcement by naming Rajesh and Mangesh and I found it was my Daddy’s voice. Regularly he was making that announcement "Rajesh, Mangesh, Ajit and Ranjan wherever you are please reach at gate number 2, I am waiting for you people". So quickly we accelerated our speed and reached there within 15 min. Time was 12.30 am night when we reached at the gate number 2. Here we found him (Daddy) desperately waiting for us. Soon he took us to booked tent. Then immediately we went inside our tent and dropped ourselves on the bed. There we found Kunal in deep sleep. That night I had a very sound sleep without any care of missing member Doctor Ashok and Ganesh. I was under fever and feeling too hot with my breathings. It was our last night of "BABA AMARNATH YATRA".