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Over 1.25 crore joined International Yoga Day celebrations in Gujarat

The main event at Ahmedabad alone witnessed a participation of over 75,000 while city recorded over 6 lakh participation at nearly 700 locations.

yoga day gujarat, gujarat yoga day, anandiben patel, gujarat news Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel practicing Yoga on the eve of International Yoga Day in Gandhinagar on Saturday. (Source: PTI)

Marking the first International Day for Yoga in Gujarat, around 1.25 crore participants joined at over 29,000 locations earmarked for the event in all districts and at taluka level while another 18,000 venues in villages across the state.

At the main event at GMDC ground in Ahmedabad that was presided by the Governor O P Kohli and Chief Minister Anandi Patel witnessed a gathering of over 75,000. Other major events in the city were organised at the Sabarmati Riverfront, Kankaria lake and CG road apart from schools and public gardens.

“It is very important to learn yoga and understand its significance in maintaining a healthy body and mind. I am going to ask all the state officers to take out time on every Sunday for yoga. They can contribute promoting yoga by learning it at their nearest public garden and community centre,” said Chief Minister Anandi Patel while congratulating the participants at GMDC ground on the International Yoga Day.

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The event started at around 6.30 am with a recorded address of CM Anandi Patel followed by Governor O P Kohli where they talked about the origin and relevance of yoga in modern day. A short video clip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at UN General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2014 where he proposed for an international yoga day.

Hundreds of trainers were also placed across the ground between participants who were divided into clusters. Also, nearly 3000 students dressed in tri-colour performed in a shape of the Indian map. Secretary of the department of Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities that was actively involved in the preparations Manish Bhardwaj said, “The event went ahead as planned at each district, taluka, maha nagar palika and nagar palika level. The target at each level has been met with overwhelming response at few centres.”

Sharing the numbers, the chairman of the organising committee set up by the state government for the June 21 celebrations, education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “The response was more than expected at each centre and location. The state has touched a participation of nearly 1.25 crore at all its 33 districts.” He presided over the event organised at the Sabarmati Riverfront.

Many senior bureaucrats, a few MLAs, Ahmedabad mayor Meenaxi Patel, municipal commissioner D Thara, Director General of Police P C Thakur and other officials from various departments joined the main event at the GMDC ground. The CM too participated them and performed yoga during the 33-minute yoga session.

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To promote yoga in their communities, representatives from various communities were also invited at the GMDC ground. Seated at a separate enclosure beside the main stage, before she took her seat at the stage, the CM personally went upto them and extended her welcome to each of them.

These included leaders from various organisations including Brahma Kumaris, Bochasanwasi Akshar Purshotam Sansthan (BAPS), Ram Krishna Math, Sai Baba Temple, Jagannath Temple, Jhulelal Temple, city gurudwaras and church.

Calling namaj an alternate to yoga as it also requires physical and spiritual well being, Raisuddin Ahmed Khan, in charge Mubalig, Muslim Jama at Ahmedabad said, “ Yoga should be performed daily and not associated to a particular religion. Various communities should be made aware about its uses and we would certainly try in our own Muslim community that maximum people are benefited from it.”

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Sharing the views on benefits of yoga, the chairman of Jhulelal Mandir in Ahmedabad’s Sardar Nagar area, Devidas N Punjabi said, “We have started training people in yoga, especially women from our community. Since men are off to their business, there are special classes organised for women in the mornings and evenings.”

Ahmedabad alone witnessed a participation of 6 lakh at over 700 locations

In Ahmedabad alone, nearly 6 lakh participants joined at over 200 various locations including over 100 public gardens and parks. “At the main event at GMDC ground out of a mass gathering of 75,000, over 60,000 were participants. Among these, nearly 25,000 were students of city schools and colleges, some 5000 representatives from Patanjali Yogpeeth, some 8000 from Art of Living, 5000 from Brahma Kumaris and over 5000 individual participation,” 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,” confirmed AMC commissioner D Thara.

The administration had also arranged for transportation facility for participants to the main event at GMDC ground from various parts of city. “While individual participants reached on their own, there were arrangements of buses too for groups and organisations,” added Beniwal.

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The municipal and private schools and colleges too actively participated in the celebrations as the teachers and students were being trained for more than last one week. More than 4,000 master trainers were trained who further trained hundrerds of participants. National Cadets Corps (NCC) cadets too joined at the GMDC ground.

Vadodara celebrated at 14 locations:
In 14 locations in Vadodara, the 33 minute long yoga session organized by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) began shortly after 6:45am, instructions beaming through LED screens at most venue, along with trained professionals helping participants.

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At the 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 students of leading city schools for the yoga session. Although the turn out of local citizens did not touch VMC’s expected mark, the city Atithigruhs saw a decent flow of regular yoga followers attending the event.

Yoga sessions were also held by the BJP at a Swaminaryan temple in Karelibaug, while the Army AD unit held a yoga event at its military station in Makarpura to partake in the celebrations of International Yoga Day. An event was also held for the inmates of the Vadodara central Jail on Sunday morning, with a trainer helping the under trials and convicts perform the aasans

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Amid the resonating sound of the Sanskrit shlokas at the Sama indoor sports complex, a group of Congress workers protested the use of the venue for “government functions only”. The Congress leaders demanded that the public sports complex, which was inaugurated by CM Anandi Patel last July, should be thrown open to people. Jitendra Solanki and Dev Patel who led the protest said, “The sports complex was constructed from the taxpayers money in order to benefit citizens, but for over a year, the guards do not let people enter inside as the sports complex is used only by students of schools who are benefactors of the ruling party. This is unfair,” Patel said. The group was detained by the local police to end the ruckus.

In Bharuch, yoga professionals and fishermen performed the aasnas in a few hundred fishing trawlers floating in River Narmada near the Golden Bridge. While, in Narmada, officials of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) held a yoga session at Sadhu Bet – near the site of the upcoming Statue of Unity. SSNNL officials and their families performed the yoga aasans with guidance from an instructor in the backdrop of the newly raised Narmada Dam and the site of the Statue of Unity.

First published on: 21-06-2015 at 01:48:12 pm
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