New Delhi: The Centre has shortlisted five cities — Delhi, Shimla, Mysore, Ahmedabad and Ranchi — for holding the national programme of the International Yoga Day this year.
It will be the government's first mega public event after Narendra Modi became prime minister for a second term. Names of the four cities have been sent to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) which will finalise the venue of the main function of the International Yoga Day to be held on June 21, official sources said.
"We have already started the preparations and the event will be organised in a large scale," a senior AYUSH ministry official said. If national capital is selected as the venue, it would be hosting the event for the second time. Delhi had hosted the main event of the Yoga Day in 2015.
In the lead-up to the event, a two-day yoga mahotsav is being organised in Delhi by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga starting Saturday. It will be attended by about 10,000 people, including yoga teachers, professionals, enthusiasts among others. "The aim is to build an atmosphere of yoga in the lead-up to the main event and sensitise the people about the June 21 function," the official said.
The United Nations declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga in 2014 after Modi called for the day to be adopted as a global celebration of yoga, an ancient practice that began in India more than 5,000 years ago.
Last year, the main event of the International Day of Yoga was held at the ground of Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated.
The first International Yoga Day celebration was organised at Rajpath in New Delhi on June 21, 2015, in which representatives of 191 countries took part. In 2016, the main function was held in Chandigarh and in 2017 it was held in Lucknow.