"Words can hardly describe my feelings. I feel on top of the world today," Mr Bhat, an Indian Forest Officer at present based in Lucknow, told PTI over the phone.
Mr Bhat, who had appeared for the examination four times, would have in November this year, crossed 32 - the cutoff age for appearing for the elite services.
"I believed in this quote - Try, try, try again. I have been trying from 2010," Mr Bhat said, his voice choking with emotion.
Mr Bhat, who belongs to the remote border district of Handwara in North Kashmir, completed his schooling and college from Srinagar before studying Veterinary Sciences in Jammu.
The product of a government college, he cleared the Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) and later the Indian Forest Services.
"However, my aim was the IAS and now I am sure that I will get my home cadre," Mr Bhat said.
"I have had to sacrifice every comfort to achieve my goal," Mr Bhat, who has three brothers and a sister, added.
"He is longing to see me back in my home state so that I can serve my people," Mr Bhat added.
The father in him credits his success to his seven-month-old daughter, Mariam.
"After she was born in September, I cleared my preliminaries. And since then there has been no looking back," he said.
As the news of Mr Bhat's success spread, congratulatory messages were flashed by Union Minister Jitendra Singh and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
"It is encouraging to see that youths from militancy-hit areas are appearing and emerging as toppers in the civil services," Mr Singh told PTI.
In his message, Mr Omar said Mr Bhat had made the state proud and hoped that "all the dreams of the son of the soil" would be fulfilled.
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