DEHRADUN/RISHIKESH: Two global yoga festivals kicked off simultaneously in Rishikesh on Thursday. While the ‘International Yog Festival’ organised by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board and the state forest department was inaugurated by CM Trivendra Rawat at Ganga Resort, the 29th annual International Yoga Festival began at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh’s largest ashram.

Parmarth Niketan’s yoga event is seeing participation of around 1,500 yoga enthusiasts from 92 nations and will continue from March 1 to 7 while the state government event will go on from March 1 to 8 and will have a four-hour-long special session by yoga guru Ramdev on the last day. Another attraction in the state government’s yoga festival will be a performance on March 6 by The Fab Four, a rock band from Liverpool which will pay a tribute to The Beatles on the 50th anniversary of their famous Rishikesh tour. A special attraction of the Parmarth Niketan festival will be the presence of vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu and Tibetan spiritual guru Dalai Lama on March 3.

Speaking at the inauguration of the state government festival, CM Rawat said, “The whole world is paying attention to yoga now. Thanks to PM Modi, June 21 is commemorated as International Yoga Day the world over. Rishikesh is recognised globally because of yoga only. The organisers must ensure that our foreign guests and participants have a wonderful experience.”Tourism minister Satpal Maharaj added, “This year, yoga and international music have been blended well in the festival which would work wonders to promote state tourism internationally.”

At Parmarth Niketan, yoga practitioners were exposed to various forms of yoga like Kundalini yoga, Yin yoga and Iyengar yoga as well as a performance by renowned percussionist Sivamani who performed along with violinist and composer Balabhaskar.