The first pictures of Rahul Gandhi on his Kailash-Mansarovar trip were shared on Friday by his Congress party and a fellow pilgrim. The Congress president, who is on a 12-day pilgrimage to the shrine, was without his security detail and standing with fellow pilgrims.
Mr Gandhi, one of the most protected politicians in the country, chose not to take his security, say sources. He had informed the Special Protection Group about his decision to travel alone as he was on a personal pilgrimage, said sources close to Mr Gandhi.
Mr Gandhi, who has been sharing photos every day, began the day with his own post. “Shiva is the universe,” captioned the 47-year-old, who calls himself a Shiv-bhakt (shiva devotee).
According to a Congress post, their chief “trekked for 13 hours non-stop yesterday – a distance of about 34 km”. He chose to trek instead of going on horseback. A screen grab of his Fitbit was also shared on Twitter.
The 48-year-old Congress chief left for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra on August 31, in accordance with a wish he expressed in April, when his plane plunged hundreds of feet during the campaign for the Karnataka polls. Mr Gandhi is likely to cover a distance of 60 km on foot.
On September 5, Mr Gandhi posted a picture of Mount Kailash, saying “It is so humbling to be walking in the shadow of this giant.” Earlier he also shared pictures of the Lake Mansarovar saying “there is no hatred here.”
In other photos, Mr Gandhi is seen in jeans, jacket, a pair of sunglasses and a snapback cap. A video was also shared by a pilgrim, in which the politician was seen smiling, standing in a group, against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
The Congress president has also tweeted photos of the breathtaking Mansarovar lake, surrounded by mountains earlier. “A man goes to Kailash when it calls him,” said a tweet. He described the waters of the Mansarovar Lake as “gentle, tranquil and calm.”
The Congress chief left for Kailash-Mansarover on August 31, keeping a promise he had made in April, when his plane plunged hundreds of feet while flying him to a public meeting for the Karnataka polls.
The Congress chief’s pilgrimage has come under sharp criticism from the BJP. The party questioned Mr Gandhi’s choice of route via Nepal. The BJP alleged that Mr Gandhi is visiting China and the government needs to know who he is meeting there.