Sonamarg – Time : 6 AM
Our next day started with enthusiasm and energy , as we are going to fly in the helicopter for the first time in life . There was a slight drizzle in the morning with mist surrounding the hills . A little bit of upset on the climate .
Baltal Helicopter Base – Time : 7 AM
We Started around 6.30 AM from hotel and reached Baltal helicopter base around 7 AM. There was a discussion happening in the office room on weather condition and they took a decision to start the helicopter for the first trip, we are happy to hear that , may be we didn’t know the fact at that moment , what was going to happen in another few hours :(
First set of passengers
Helicopter instructions was given to the first set of passengers and it started .We saw the climate , A little bit of drizzle in the morning become a heavy rain now and mountains opposite to us is not even visible clearly and completely surrounded with mist.
Returning to base -
Half the way through, Helicopter returned to base and they said, heavy rain in Panjtarni and near cave and not able to get through due to mist . We are completely disappointed at the moment as they said, they don’t know when helicopters would take off again that day.
Baltal Helicopter Base – 8 AM in the Morning
Mother Nature was so harsh that day as the rain was heavy after 9 AM . Officers were discussing on the weather condition and came to a conclusion that there was no possibility to operate helicopters that day at any cost , but they didn’t disclose to the passengers , as they shouldn’t be disappointed.We are sitting and believing that we would be flying at least after 1PM .
Realizing the Truth – Time : 12.30 PM
We started realizing that helicopter trip will not happen that day due to the bad weather. officers confirmed that, Himalayan weather is unpredictable and nothing really they could do. Jagdish called and helped us in getting some snacks as half of our day went with Nothing.
We bought some breakfast from hotel and felt hungry when the time crossed 12.30 PM. We talked to Jagdish for help and he said nothing really can be done for the rest of the day and said he will help us next day by trekking through Baltal route and he would think that is the only option available . I was confused on the next day Weather and Completely fed up at that moment .
Baltal Helicopter Base – Time : 2.30 PM
Close to 2.30 PM, Heavy rain , we could feel the chillness. We enquired the officers in Base camp if there is a chance to fly on the next day, they said, the same tickets can be used, but never committed anything on the weather, that triggered more confusion for us .
Helicopter Tickets Cancelled: No Options Now
It is left to us with no choice other than cancelling the tickets and they said it would be refunded in 45 days if the tickets are booked directly and would take 2 months if booked through travels. We booked through travels, so they said, it will be refunded in 2 months time.
At last we came back to hotel with big disappointment and has nothing in my mind other than to pack up Sonamarg and go to Srinagar. I lost my mind and thought of leaving Sonamarg and discussed the same with my wife. She was afraid that, we would be missing the darshan due to the weather and asked me to re-think , also suggested to discuss with Jagdish again.
Hotel – Time : 4.30 PM – Moment of Right Decision
Around 4.30 PM , I was about to call him for a discussion, I got a incoming call … SURPRISED !!!!!!!!! Luckily Airtel worked (Of course call disconnected many times in the middle due to lack of signal ) for a moment and Jagdish on the line and spoke to me for almost 20 min and motivated me. That was the triggering call for me to think in the right direction and took a bold decision !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
– To be Continued !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!