Today's walk started two kilometers from Patnitop and it was a steep climb that the yatris had to negotiate. From then on, it was downhill all the way till the end point, the Sher-e-Punjab Dhaba. On the way, the yatris got the prasad from a Shiv Mandir at Sondukhu Morh. The Dhaba served sweet tea and soft pakodas. Sri M spoke about the padayatra as it reached the last but one day.
He said that the padayatra is about to enter Srinagar, its final destination. He said though a long yatra like this might not happen immediately, the walk will continue till peace and harmony get entrenched in our country. He said that the millions he had met on the way, all agreed that they wanted peace above all. He thanked all the yatris and organizers who made it happen. He also announced the happy news that a padayatra will be organized in Zurich in March next year.
Our camera toting friends had a busy time next, as individual shots of all the padayatris were taken with Sri M. Then, it was time for a group photo on the green slope of the hillock. Afterwards, everyone started on the long drive to Srinagar.
En route they saw the giant tunnel site by which Patnitop would be bypassed and the Jammu-Srinagar distance reduced by 30 kilometers. They saw several spots where landslides had happened, bringing rubble, sand and boulders crashing down, causing damage and may be, loss of life. They enjoyed the majesty of the Peer Panchal ranges as they stood with heads ‘turbanned’ with snow. They peered at the Chenab from prodigious heights as the van drivers coaxed their vehicles downhill. They rode the 2.5 Km Jawahar Tunnel which would push them into the lap of the Kashmir valley. It would be the highest they would climb during their journey of 7500 Km. They saw scores of shops selling cricket bats as those made out of Kashmiri willow were premium. They passed Awanripura where River Jhelum took over the job of keeping them company. Finally, they stopped on the banks of the Dal lake where the accommodation for the night was arranged.