Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi starts trek to Kedarnath

In a bid to give message across the country that Uttarakhand is a ‘safe destination’ Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi started trek to Kedarnath today around 1.15 PM with a battery of Congress leaders including Chief Minister Harish Rawat, state Congress President Kishor Upadhyay and few MLA’s.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2015 16:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
rahul gandhi,Uttarakhand,Harish Rawat

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi embarked on a trek to Kedarnath on Thursday in a bid to spread the message that the hill-state of Uttarakhand is a safe destination.

Chief minister Harish Rawat, state Congress President Kishor Upadhyay and a few MLAs are accompanying him on the two-day trek.

Gandhi landed at the Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun and then proceeded to Gauri kund from where he started his trek to Kedarnath around 1.15 in the afternoon.

While welcoming Gandhi at the airport, chief minister Rawat said the trek would send out a "positive message."

The 21km stretch from Gauri Kund to the Kedarnath shrine passes through a ravine, where the road was completely damaged in the flash floods of 2013.

Engineers at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) had spent several months in reconstructing the road to the shrine.

More than 5,000 people were killed and the roads to the 'char dhams' or four pilgrimage centres of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamnotri and Gangotri heavily damaged in the flash floods.

The most remote shrine of Kedarnath which was devastated by the flooded Mandakini river will be opened again on April 24.

While Yamunotri and Gangotri were opened to pilgrims on April 21, the portals of the Badrinath temple will be thrown open on April 26.

As per schedule, Rahul will stay at the Lincholi base camp for the night, before moving to Kedarnath on Friday morning.

During his stay, the Congress leader will take stock of the reconstruction work at the shrine.

The state government is expecting that the number of pilgrims arriving for the Char Dham pilgrimage will increase by 4-5 lakhs this year.

First Published: Apr 23, 2015 15:07 IST