Rahul Gandhi treks 12.5km to pay obeisance at Vaishno Devi shrine
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday reached Jammu on a two-day visit and embarked on a 12.5km long trek via Himkoti on foot to the holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Trikuta hills of Katra.
Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday reached Jammu on a two-day visit and embarked on a 12.5km long trek via Himkoti on foot to the holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Trikuta hills of Katra.
“I have come here to pay obeisance to Mata…. Let’s see,” he told reporters at Katra before embarking upon the pilgrimage.
When asked for reaction on Bharatiya Janata Party’s recent statements in which he was called a ‘Chunavi Hindu’, Rahul said, “I don’t react to BJP statements and I don’t want to give any political statement here.”
A senior official of the shrine board said, “The Congress leader walked the distance to the cave shrine and reached Bhawan around 6.15pm. Thereafter, he paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum.”
Congress’ J&K unit president Ghulam Ahmed Mir said, “After paying obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum, Rahul Gandhi also attended Atka Aarti that started around 7.05 pm.”
Vaishno Devi shrine is situated at a height of 5,200-ft above the sea level. The holy cave is approximately 30 metres long and 1.7 metres in height.
Rahul Gandhi will be staying overnight at the Bhawan after paying obeisance and will return to Katra around 7am on Friday before reaching Jammu city around 10am.
On Friday, he will be addressing party workers at JK Resorts at 11am and then meet senior party leaders and delegations at Hotel Radisson Blue before returning to Delhi at 3.30 pm.
Mir said Rahul has strong faith in Vaishno Devi and had been longing to visit the cave shrine for long.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Mir said, “The first thing he will do is pay obeisance to Mata Vaishno Devi. However, unlike other leaders who use choppers and horses to visit the temple, we believe that he has made up his mind to walk on foot from Katra to the temple. On his return, he will, once again, walk on foot. We have not scheduled any political engagements on the first day of his tour.”
He added that from Katra, the Wayanad MP will go to Jammu by car and attend a small party function there. “We have not stopped Congress workers from organising small programmes to welcome the former party president, on his way back from Katra.”
This is Rahul Gandhi’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370. Earlier, he had visited Srinagar on August 9 to inaugurate the new office of the party.