PM joins over 35,000 people in performing yoga
The entire 2 km stretch from Rafi Marg crossing near Vijay Chowk to India Gate was lined with blue and red mats over green carpets with people of all ages twisting, bending and stretching on the ceremonial road performing various yoga exercises.
Prime Minister Modi expressed his gratitude to the United Nations and 193 countries for their "unprecedented support" in passing a resolution moved by India to declare June 21 as International Day of Yoga and said a "new era" is beginning to train the human mind to scale new heights of peace and harmony. PM Modi also cautioned against 'commodifying' yoga.
Before surprising everyone by joining the mass session, the Prime Minister said, "Who would have thought that Rajpath would become Yoga Path?"
An avid yoga practitioner, 64-year-old Modi was not scheduled to perform the 'asanas' at Rajpath -- located between India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan -- but he climbed down from the podium after his address to join the over 35,000 participants, including students and officials, in the mass demonstration.
Attired in a white sweatshirt and trousers and a tricolour scarf, Modi did most of the 21 'asanas' along with thousands of participants as part of the common yoga protocol, following simultaneous instructions in Hindi and English and watching instructors on big digital screens at Rajpath.
US Ambassador to India Richard Verma was among scores of diplomats who attended the mega-event.
Several top bureaucrats, including secretaries to union ministries and officials from the PMO were also present.