DEHRADUN — Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi offered prayers at the shrine of Lord Shiva at Kedarnath in Uttarakhand on Friday.
He spent the night in a hut at Linchauli on Thursday and trekked to the shrine, covering about 16 km in the forenoon.
Special Protection Group personnel, Congress leader Jatin Prasad and others accompanied Gandhi to the shrine where he mingled with devotees. On the way, he stopped for a tea break at Jungle Chatti.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi outside Kedarnath Shrine pic.twitter.com/wlad5JitzF— ANI (@ANI_news) April 24, 2015
After visiting the shrine, Gandhi told reporters here that he felt at peace during his visit to the shrine.
When asked what he sought from God, Gandhi said he never asked for anything. "Main kuch maangta nahin hoon (I did not ask for anything," the youthful Congress vice president said, adding that he felt "a fire-like feeling" inside the shrine.
Gandhi said the reason for his visiting Kedarnath shrine was to "pay respects to those who lost their lives in the 2013 tragedy" when thousands were killed following a cloud burst in Kedarnath.
He said he was offered a chopper to fly to the shrine by the state but he chose to walk up as a "mark of respect" for the people who died on this route in the disaster two years ago.
Thousands of people were killed after a cloud burst in Kedarnath in June 2013 which led to flash floods and landslide when the Char Dham yatra was underway.
The Congress leader praised the state government, adding that "it has done commendable restoration and rehabilitation" work in the aftermath of the calamity.
Earlier, the 'kapaat' (portal) of the shrine was opened at 8.50 a.m. on Friday amid chanting of hymns. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat was present on the occasion.