rahul gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi.Reuters

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is a shiv bhakt, revealed during the Jan Akrosh rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan on Sunday, April 29, that he wishes to go on a trek to Kailash Mansarovar. Gandhi referred to an incident when his aircraft developed a technical problem.

"A few days ago, we were on our way to Karnataka in an aircraft. And the aircraft suddenly came down by 8,000 feet. I thought 'gaadi gayi' (that it was all over)," he told the gathering at the maidan.

"The moment I thought that it was all over, it struck my mind that I have to go to Kailash Mansarovar. So, I would require your leave of 10-15 days after the Karnataka Assembly polls," he added.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is one of the most difficult treks and is organized every year between June and September. It's 11-day journey and can be accomplished on a helicopter.

But why do people go for Kailash Mansarovar yatra?

It is a spiritual journey and is named after two holy and spiritual sites – Mt Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, which is also the highest freshwater lake in the world. Mount Kailash is one of the most sacred mountains in Asia and Hindus consider it an abode of Lord Shiva. The mountain is also sacred to Buddhist, Jain and Bonpo religion.

The yatra is known for doing parikrama of Mt Kailash (moving in clockwise around the mountain) and taking a dip in the holy lake to wash away sins. It is also believed that one can achieve salvation if they do 108 parikramas of the mountain.

Hindus believe that Lord Shiva resides at the peak of the mountain along with his wife Parvati, while for Jains it is a place where the first Jain Tirthankara attended Nirvana (liberation).

In Buddhism, it is believed that the Buddha resides at the Mt Kailash and people of Bon, a Tibetan religion, believe that all spiritual power is present at that place.