Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on 9 September offered prayers at the Hanuman Garhi Temple in Ayodhya, becoming the first member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to visit the city since the demolition of the disputed structure in 1992.
Before embarking on the fourth day of his mahayatra in Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due early next year, 46-year-old Rahul Gandhi met Mahant Gyan Das, who is known for his anti-Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) stance, before a 'darshan' at the temple.
No member of the Congress' first family has visited Ayodhya since the demolition of the Babri Masjid 24 years ago, in December 1992. As a convoy of cars, buses and open trucks rolled into the temple town, people rushed out of their houses for a glimpse of the Congress leader.
Much significance is being attached in political circles to Rahul's visit to Hanuman Garhi, which is about a kilometre away from the Ram Temple at the disputed Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site. Rahul also stayed away from the site of 'shilanyas', the foundation stone that had been laid there in 1989 for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.