IN ADDITION to having its profile raised by its selection as the venue of the main event for Tuesday’s International Yoga Day, the Capitol Complex received a surprise mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech.
Modi made a special reference to the Le Corbusier designed political-judicial-administrative complex in his 20-minute address before the start of the event.
“I was just asking [Parkash Singh] Badal if this complex has been ever better utilised than this? …When Chandigarh was being discussed as a venue for Yoga Day, I said then that there is no better, no more ideal place than this complex and I am so pleased to see it being put to use in this way, “ he said. Modi, who had stayed in the city for nearly five years before becoming Chief Minister of Gujarat, said he knew Chandigarh well.
The spotlight on Capitol Complex comes days ahead of UNESCO’s scheduled announcement of a new list of sites to be granted world heritage status.
Chandigarh has been making unsuccessful attempts to get the UNESCO tag since 2006. After rejections, last year Capitol Complex was included in list of sites to be considered for the world heritage status for 2016.
The Capitol Complex is part of a transnational dossier on the work of Le Corbusier, which was submitted by Paris-based Fondation Le Corbusier to UNESCO on behalf of seven countries, including India. The names of sites to be given world heritage status will be announced in a meeting scheduled to be held in Istanbul
Capitol Complex, one of the finest works of Le Corbusier, has three main buildings – Secretariat, Legislative Assembly and Punjab and Haryana high court — besides open-hand monument and martyrs memorial raised in remembrance of the martyrs of India’s freedom struggle.
Soon after finishing his address, PM Modi mingled with the crowd. He took a round of the enclosure and watched participants performing yoga asanas. After observing participants so around five minutes, he selected a place in the centre of the enclosure for doing yoga. The move took administration by surprise as they had not made any arrangements in that area. For his convenience, the authorities hurriedly got a LED installed in front of him.
PM gave prayer and Sadilaja (loosening practices) – first two steps in the common yoga protocol – a miss and started doing yoga from standing postures.
The 45-minute protocol started with chants of ‘Om’, followed by prayers and it concluded with a prayer.
After the event, PM was thronged by the participants as they sought to take selfies with him. Obliging them, Modi posed with the participants. As the participants were getting too close to the PM, the security staff had to make a circle to keep participants at some
After the PM left the venue, majority of participants were seen in jubilant mood clicking photographs.
City Member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher did not do yoga and preferred to sit on the main stage along with Punjab and Haryana governor Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki and Punjab Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Ambala MP Rattan Lal Kataria, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij, who were in the first row, found it slightly tough to do the asanas.
Entry started at 3 am
Around 30,000 participants —10,000 each from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana— participated in the event. Entry to the venue start by 3 am and was closed at 5:30 am through the designated entry points. After the one-hour event, participants were allowed to take home the mat onwhich they did their asanas. They were also given T-shirts and bags. No private vehicles was allowed and a total of 600 buses were used to transport participants from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.