International Yoga Day witnessed widespread public participation in Gujarat with more than 1.25 crore people attending the event at various locations
In Ahmedabad alone nearly six lakh participants joined at over 700 various locations, including 100 public gardens and parks. “At the main event at GMDC ground, out of a mass gathering of 75,000 people, over 60,000 were participants. Among these, nearly 25,000 were students of city schools and colleges, some 5,000 representatives from Patanjali Yogpeeth, some 8,000 from Art of Living, 5,000 from Brahma Kumaris and over 5,000 individual participations,” said Ahmedabad collector Rajkumar Beniwal.
“The city saw a participation of nearly 5.5 to 6 lakh residents. Apart from individual events, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had organised the event at nearly 230 places and over 300 schools. City’s new West zone alone had over 70 venues. There must be a total of 700 venues in Ahmedabad where the event was celebrated,” said AMC commissioner D Thara.
The administration had also arranged vehicles to help participants travel to the main event from various parts of city. “While individual participants reached on their own, there were arrangements of buses too for groups and organisations,” said Beniwal.
The municipal and private schools and colleges actively participated in the event. More than 4,000 master trainers were trained who further trained hundreds of participants. National Cadets Corps cadets too joined at the GMDC ground.
The 33-minute yoga session was organised at 14 locations in the city by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The event began at around 6.45am. Instructions beaming on LED screens at most venue, and trained professionals helped participants perform the aasans.
At Sama Indoor Sports Complex, Cabinet minister Saurabh Patel joined MP Ranjan Bhatt, MLAs Yogesh Patel, Jitendra Sukhadia, Rajendra Trivedi and Manisha Vakil, mayor Bharat Shah, district collector Avantika Aulakh, other officials and school students for the yoga session. Though turnout of locals was not as per the expectation, the city atithigruhs saw a decent flow of regular yoga followers.
Yoga sessions were also held by the BJP unit at Swaminaryan temple in Karelibaug, while the Army held an event at its military station in Makarpura. An event was also held for the inmates of the Vadodara central Jail in the morning, with a trainer helping the undertrials and convicts perform the aasans.
Amid resonating sound of Sanskrit shlokas at the sports complex, a group of Congress workers protested the use of the venue for “government functions”. The Congress activists demanded the public sports complex, inaugurated by CM Anandiben Patel last July, should be thrown open to people. The group was detained by police to end the ruckus.
Yoga professionals and fishermen performed the aasans on a few hundred fishing trawlers in Narmada near the Golden Bridge. Close to 1,500 people performed yoga for around 33 minutes. A participant, Asha Patel, said, “When I learnt about the opportunity to perform yoga on a boat, I was thrilled… It was very different from performing yoga on the ground. It was unsteady, but we tried to perform all the asanas perfectly”. Some participants said that a few stretching exercises that require shifting of body balance could not be performed on the smaller trawlers. A team of NDRF was deployed on patrol duty around the floating platform. Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mansukh Vasava inaugurated the session with Gujarat cabinet minister Chhatrasinh Mori.
Officials of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) chose the scenic backdrop of cloud covered lush green Satpura range, parallel to the upcoming Statue of Unity site at Sadhu Bet hillock for their yoga session on Sunday. The process to flatten the tip of the hillock of Sadhu Bet has begun in order to set base for the foundation of the 182-metre world’s tallest Statue of Unity. Officials said some local residents from Kevadia also joined their small group.
Cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Mohan Kundariya led around six lakh people in yoga sessions, held across 1,284 locations simultaneously in the district. The main event was held at Race Course ground. “Yoga is very helpful and therefore, I attended the session with my family today. I practice yoga daily. It keeps body fit and helps not just in concentration, but also balance of mind. This helps me a lot in my batting,” Pujara told The Indian Express. He joined the session with his father Aravind Pujara and wife Puja.
Gujarat Water Supply Minister Vijay Rupani, Rajkot Rural MLA Bhanuben Babaria, mayor Rakshaben Boliya, district collector Manisha Chandra and municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra were among those in attendance dominated by students and NCC cadets. Members of spiritual group, Art of Living also participated in big numbers.
(inputs from ADITI RAJA, GOPAL KATESHIYA and RITU SHARMA)