New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi will embark on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra today.  The plan is in line with Gandhi’s “I am a Shiv bhakt” sentiment and the yatra is considered the most auspicious among Shiv bhakts. Meanwhile, the Kailash yatra concludes on September 8.

During the April rally, Gandhi had said he had decided to undertake the yatra after he narrowly escaped an air mishap while campaigning during Karnataka elections. His flight had gone off the radar for a few minutes and the Congress blamed the BJP for not cooperating. Gandhi had then said he would undertake the yatra to thank Shiva. However, a leading portal revealed that MEA sources said Gandhi needed to have registered for the yatra; a routine procedure as the route goes through China as well. There are options for special permission and private travel agencies also organise yatras.

Reports suggest that by planning the yatra, Gandhi is only trying to project himself as a devout Hindu. While campaigning in Gujarat and Karnataka elections, Gandhi went temple-hopping and at one time was even seen wearing a rudraksh. The Congress had even claimed that Gandhi and his family were janayeu dhaaris. Gandhi had also called himself a janayeu-dhari Brahmin and a devotee of Shiva during the Gujarat elections. In 2015, Gandhi had gone on Kedarnath yatra just after the Uttarakhand floods.

On April 26, the plane carrying Gandhi and some others from Delhi to Hubballi airport in Karnataka developed a technical problem and tilted heavily on the left side. The plane dipped steeply with violent shuddering, but soon recovered and landed safely.