The International Gita Mahotsav-2016, billed as a mega event, started at Kurukshetra on Tuesday on a much lower scale since the Haryana government had declared a one-day state mourning after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha’s demise.
President Pranab Mukherjee, who was supposed to inaugurate the event, cancelled his visit and instead flew to Chennai to attend Jayalalitha’s cremation. He was scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Krishna Circuit, to be developed at a cost of Rs 97.35 crore under ‘Swadesh Darshan Yojana’. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar inspected the proposed design for the circuit.
A new train was started today between Kurukshetra and Mathura, minus the planned formal flagging-off ceremony. The state government also cancelled the cultural programmes scheduled for Tuesday. A presentation “Dharamshetra-Kurukshetra” to be held in the evening and the state lunch were also cancelled.
Watch What Else Is making News
Instead of the President, Haryana Governor Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki presided over the day’s programmes. Solanki and Khattar met the 574 persons from different districts of the country who represented one shloka each of the Gita. Dressed in the traditional attire of their state, the participants also carried soil from their respective districts which will be mixed to make an idol of Lord Krishna.
After this, Gita Pujan was held at Purshottampura Bagh, Brahma Sarovar amid chanting of hymns. The President was scheduled to participate in the prayer ceremony and then visit a temple.
The preparations for the December 6-10 event had been going on since June this year since it was also part of the Swaran Jayanti celebrations of formation of Haryana. While Gita Jayanti is being celebrated in the state for several years at Kurukshetra, the birthplace of Gita, events were scaled up this year to mark the state’s Golden Jubilee.
Addressing a gathering on the occasion, Khattar declared Kurukshetra and Sirsa, both rural and urban, as Open Defecation Free districts. He said while the government was working to ensure a bright future for the state, it also took pride in state’s history. “Saraswati river is a symbol of faith and belief. The state government has constituted Saraswati Heritage Development Board for rejuvenation, conservation and research on this mythical river. Roadmap for Krishna Circuit had been prepared to develop under which a sum of about Rs 100 crore would be spent on the development and beautification of Sanhit Sarover, Ameen Kund, Narkatari, Brahamsarover and Jyotisar. A 3D multi-media show based on different topics of Mahabharata, a grand statue of Lord Krishna and a theme park complex depicting the 48 kos areas, would also be developed,” said Khattar.
Haryana Governor Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki said he hoped the President would visit Kurukshetra on one of the days before the event concluded.