13th-july-2010: Next day after a fitful night's sleep, I woke up before dawn by 5 am and quickly came out of tent to get fresh. When I moved towards campsite gate I asked for toilet to a security person and he indicated his finger towards river side and I went to river side and got freshened up. After 20 min I was able to see the beauty of Sheshnag and watched the sun rise over the spectacular snow-capped mountains.
When I saw Sheshnag lake view my all tiredness vanished. It was Perfect blue water with surroundings of mountains and glaciers. That view made it worth the hard trek up the mountain and the cold and uncomfortable night. The Sheshnag Lake was aquamarine and very still and looked pristine. I was speechless at that time when I saw the mountain was covered with beautiful buttercups and its reflection into the lake. As I heard the shrieks of the marmot animals which cannot be seen as they run into the holes as soon as they hear the footsteps of a human being. It is believed that Sheshnag has lifted earth in his shoulders. Also, Sheshnag is the one who was incarnated as Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama in Treta Yuga and also as Balrama the elder brother of Lord Krishna in Dwapara Yuga. It is also believed that Sheshnag still lives here and some people had the luck to see him.
When I was coming back to my tent I saw thousands of people were stirring in their tents, getting ready to continue their trek. When I came back to my tent, all were sleeping, then I started to ping all of them for getting fresh, so that we could depart on an earliest time. Within 1 Hr. all got freshened up. While departure we all had tea & breakfast (I had got paratha, chhole and Jalebi) at a hariyana based langar. At that Langar we found Shiva’s condition was not so well, He vomited 2-3 times over there. So we asked him to have light breakfast before taking any medicine. We got worried due to his bad health at that point, but after 1 hr rest over there everyone munched happily and by chanting "Jai Bhole nath" "Har Har Mahadev" we started our onwards yatra.
The path for a short while crosses a grassy plateau before making the final ascent to the top of the pass. Initially the trek was steadily gaining height winding up to Mahagunas top (4500 Mts/ 14700ft.) the highest point of the trek. The sun drove off the cold weather. It was quite warm in fact. That is why the layered clothing is suggested for mountaineering, as it gets warm a few layers could be removed and when it gets cold more could be added. The climate at the high altitudes changes quite drastically in very short time. Now we were walking on frozen ice, but not feeling so cold, as much it was expected. As earlier there were quite some Indian military men on the path. Their presence was a moral boost to many yatris. They were greeting the yatris bam bam bhole and were encouraging the yatris. They also helped the old yatris to cross certain difficult snow covered passes. After walking a couple of distance felt quite tired. The path was not so easy than we had anticipated in morning. I was walking with two sacks.
We found there almost 5-10 feet snow on the route. Few local people were trying to make some steps on snow for yatris. But unexpectedly, we all had fallen down 5-6 times on this route. The route to Mahagunas is full of rivulets, waterfalls, springs. We reached top of the mahagunas well within an hour. This was the highest altitude point in this trek. It was at an altitude of 4500 Mts from the mean sea level. There were even small kids aged around 7-8 years were walking praising the Lord bam bam bhole. The top was giving us the most amazing views of the surrounding countryside. From this point it was a downward slope. The walk was initially on the ridge of the mountain with a deep slope on one side.
On the way from Mahagunas Top to Panchtarni comes POSHPATRI, where we stopped for 1 hr at one of the best langars of the yatra – with a surprising variety of dishes -- was organized at that altitude by Delhi Based Society "Shree ShivSewak". Again we have been stopped and requested to have some food by a ShivSewak and we couldn’t denied him. We had Chhole bhature at that langar and moved ahead. From Poshpatri to Panchtarni it is more or less the same level. It was a gradual walk to Panchtarni. The trek descends to the meadow-lands of Panchtarni, the last camp en route to the holy cave. The descent to Panchtarni crosses flower filled meadows before reaching a bare treeless landscape where our campground for the night could be found at the foot of the Mount Bhairav where five streams converge. It is said that the five rivers originated from Lord Shiva's Hairs (Jataon). By the time we reached Panchtarni by 5 pm.
When we reached at the main gate of Camp site we found our all team mates (Except Ranjan) waiting there and a great Ranjan Chalisa was started by team mates. We got shocked when they told us about Ranjan. They informed us that since last 2 hours they were regularly on every 15 min interval announcing for Ranjan but there were no any response or indication of Ranjan’s presence over there. Then we (Me and Daddy) also started to look for him and through announcement center we also started to call him by name and by location but it all went waste. Now weather was started changing. Within few min all campsite was by covered rain and it started pouring us with chilled water.
Rain in Plain area and in Himalaya is completely different. In Plain area rain is accompanied by wind. Here rain was accompanied by chillness. Rain water was icy cold. We were just looking for Ranjan by standing at announcement center by the faith that he must be booked a tent for us and went to sleep and due to tiredness it might be deep. We were getting wet by chilled rain drops. Meanwhile Kunal, Ganesh and Mangesh started trying to convince me to go for a new tent booking. It was 2 min job to book any tent and stepped into it. But the matter was about our missing member. I was getting frustrated that time. We were running through with different feelings and thoughts. We went to 2 available medical camps with the thought of injuries to Ranjan. Actually Ranjan was our main cashier and was carrying our 90% cash. After 2 hr of desperate search we got much tensed and frustrated and assumed that he might be reached earlier here and moved ahead towards holy cave.
Now we were totally wet with effect of chilled rain drops.We were completely drenched at that time and were shivering. Baba Amarnath was trying to examine our patience at the last point of yatra near the abode. I remembered and prayed to Baba Amarnath and my Bapu ji. Mind screamed to the Lord, "Oh BholeNath Please help us." Certainly He blessed by giving the determination to move ahead and book your tent, if He has to do everything without our hard effort then what exactly are we good for!! Now we don’t had any other option rather than to book a new tent. Soon we booked a tent without interest and stepped in. We changed our wet cloths. In this tent we were not able to hear any announcement, so on regular intervals we kept visiting to that announcement center. After that we took medicines and tried to sleep.
By 8.00 pm I found everybody slept in my tent. But due to missing Ranjan I was not feeling well that time. I was trying to forget about Ranjan but I couldn’t. I was just thinking if in case He moved ahead to this point then, whenever He will meet us, He will face a very loud anger of us because it was well decided and convinced to every team mates that Panchtarni will be our next halt.
Until late night I tried to search him and was trying to open my ears to hear the announcements of missing people on loudspeakers and I don’t even know when I got slept. From here it was just 6 km to the covetous abode where we wanted to worship the "Baba Barfani". We have to start early in the morning, to get ahead in the queue to the cave.