Congress leader Rahul Gandhi organised a ‘bhandara’ in Kedarnath and served food to devotees on Monday, the second day of his three-day “personal” visit to the Himalayan temple.
He visited the grand statue of Adi Shankaracharya near the Kedarnath temple and offered prayers there in the morning.
Later in the day, the Congress organised a ‘bhandara’ near the temple premises and served food to devotees and ash-smeared sadhus, some of whom were seen blessing him.
Young devotees clicked selfies with the former Congress chief.
Around 1,500 devotees were served food at the ‘bhandara’, said Teerth Purohit Acharya Santosh Trivedi.
Gandhi had ‘tikkad’ (thick chapatis) with salt made by seers for lunch. He also had black tea and had a long chat with the seers, he said.
The Congress leader also visited the ‘Bheem Shila’ behind the Kedarnath temple. The huge rock is believed to have rolled down the mountains during the June 2013 Uttarakhand floods. It is also believed that it protected the temple from the disaster.
Gandhi arrived in Uttarakhand on Sunday and offered prayers at the Kedarnath temple. He participated in the evening ‘aarti’ at the temple and offered tea to pilgrims as part of ‘chai seva’.
He is staying at Kabra Niketan in Rajasthan Bhawan near the temple.
According to PCC functionaries, Gandhi is on a “personal” and spiritual visit, during which no party leader is allowed to meet him.
However, it comes at a time when campaigning for the upcoming assembly elections in five states is at its peak.
Last month, Gandhi visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar and performed ‘seva’. He has undertaken the Kailash Yatra too.
The BJP questioned the timing of Gandhi’s visit.
“Those who have never seen a Ramlila are applying tilak to Shri Ram and also coming to the darbar of Baba (Kedarnath) to pay obeisance. It is a result of the growing power of 100 crore sanatanis,” Uttarakhand BJP spokesperson Suresh Joshi said.