Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and several Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh and Harsh Vardhan, led events in various parts of the national capital to mark the fifth International Day of Yoga on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the country-wide celebrations in Ranchi where around 40,000 enthusiasts stretched an extra muscle in various yogic exercises at the Prabhat Tara ground.
In Delhi, the celebrations played out at several venues -- from the sprawling Rajpath and the lawns of Red Fort to municipal parks, hospitals, gardens and offices with thousands of enthusiastic Delhiites performing asanas.
Singh along with Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and senior BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi rolled out mats and took part in the celebrations by performing asanas at the majestic Rajpath.
Traffic restrictions were imposed in parts of the city since early morning for the celebrations. Elaborate security arrangements were also put in place to ensure no untoward incident happens. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) working president J P Nadda performed yoga, along with other party leaders and workers, at a park opposite the headquarters of the party on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad led celebrations at Hauz Khas, Piyush Goyal in Lodhi Garden, Harsh Vardhan at Kudesia Garden in Civil Lines, Smriti Irani at Dada Dev Ground in Raj Nagar and Thawarchand Gehlot in Sangam Vihar, among others. The day, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2014, was celebrated at the Red Fort lawns as thousands of women and men, all clad in white, converged at the venue and participated in the mass yoga event led by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
It was organised by the Brahma Kumaris. Mats were also rolled out at the Nehru Park and Talkatora Garden under the aegis of the New Delhi Municipal Council. The events began with live telecast of the prime minister's speech from Ranchi beamed on screens installed at the venues. Besides, several yoga events were organised in various parks and office buildings in the city.
Several Union ministries also hosted events in their office premises for the government employees. To ease commuting, metro services began from terminal stations of all lines on at 4 am. The centrepiece of the first International Day of Yoga celebration in 2015 was in Rajpath.
The event made it to the Guinness World Records with 35,985 participants performing asanas at one venue and 84 nationalities being part of it. Last year, the main function was held in Dehradun.