New Delhi: Amidst exchange of barbs, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday left national capital to undertake the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in accordance with a wish he expressed in April when his plane plunged hundreds of feet during the campaign for the Karnataka polls.

Refusing to disclose the route map of Gandhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “The pilgrimage, aimed at seeking the blessing of Lord Shiva for prosperity and success of the country and its people, will take about 12-15 days.” (ALSO READ: Don’t They Know Where Kailash Mansarovar is, Congress Hits Back at BJP For Questioning Rahul’s Visit)

Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had raised the question on Rahul Gandhi’s Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via China. Following which Congress came down heavily on the ruling party asking why is the ruling party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi so perturbed by Congress President’s trip.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala launched a scathing attack on BJP and asking,”Do they not know where Kailash Mansarovar is? Do they not know that Kailash Mansarovar is in the autonomous region of Tibet, China?”

Earlier in the day, BJP had accused the Congress chief of being the “Chinese spokesperson”. Speaking to reporters BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had claimed that the Opposition leader “always speaks in favour of the neighbouring country.”

“You are Rahul Gandhi, not ‘Chinese’ Gandhi. What is it that you always speak in favour of the neighbouring country,” Patra said, adding,”Rahul Gandhi has left for China via Nepal. Rahul ji has an obsession for China. Why is it that he always wants to get a Chinese view on everything but does not want to have an Indian perspective? Which politicians will he meet there?” He also raised a question on the Chinese envoy who went to see-off Rahul Gandhi at the Delhi airport when the latter (Rahul Gandhi) was leaving for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

In a sharp attack of BJP’s criticism, Rahul Gandhi tweeted Sanskrit sholak. He wrote, “Oh Almighty! Lead us from the unreal (falsity) to the real (truth), from darkness to light! From death to immortality! Oh, Almighty! May there be Peace! Peace! Peace.”

Notably, the war of words between the ruling party and the Opposition broke ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage.

Gandhi had desired to undertake the Yatra during Karnataka assembly elections and had announced it at the party’s ‘Jan Aakrosh Rally’ at Ramleela maidan on April 29. In keeping with his promise, the Congress chief is likely to travel on the night of August 31 and will be out for a few days.

(With PTI inputs)