International Day Of Yoga celebrations began across the nation on Tuesday, as various states were seen holding yoga sessions, where people turned out in large numbers to practice the ancient Indian discipline.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the mass yoga demonstration at the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh.
Over 30, 000 people, including 100 differently-abled children, participated in the event in Chandigarh, which begin at 6.30 am. The theme this year’s event is to 'Connect the Youth'.
Elaborate arrangements were put in place to ensure smooth performance at the venue. The complex was divided into eight blocks where 500 master trainers along with their team members performed. Nearly 600 buses were being used to ferry participants to the venue.
Stringent security arrangements were place for event in Chandigarh. About 4000 paramilitary and 3000 Chandigarh police personnel were deployed to guard the programme.
In the run up to the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a commemorative postal stamp on Surya Namaskara in the national capital yesterday.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development took up the initiative of 'Yoga Olympiad', which saw participation of school children from across 21 states.
Over 173 Indian missions across the world are also organising Yoga Day celebrations to spread awareness about the ancient Indian exercise. Besides, the main event on the Yoga Day, several Indian missions have organised a series of curtain raiser events in various parts of the world to spread Yoga awareness.
Meanwhile, the United Nations headquarters in New York was lit up ahead of International Yoga Day.
The United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga on December 11 in 2014 after a call from the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27.
Ahead of the International Yoga Day celebrations, former external affairs minister and senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said the Centre using the event for gaining a political popularity was ‘unfortunate’.
He asserted that it was a good step that the UN had approved India’s proposal of observing World Yoga Day, but accused the government of adopting a ‘very close minded’ approach in this matter.
“We are all very happy that Yoga is being accepted widely by the world and Yoga Day has been approved by the UN. Even the scientific investigations show that yoga is good for the body, mind and soul. I have one little worry, the government that is pushing and the people who are pushing it have a very closed mind about the purpose of doing anything of this nature. If they are trying to gain ant political popularity out of it, then it would be very unfortunate,” Khurshid said.
“This is something that belongs to Indian ethos and belongs to Indian culture’s history. For anyone to make it their own is very unfortunate,” he added.