The state tourism department has joined hands with Hindu monks to transform Uttarakhand into a major yoga destination. Department officials and monks have said that the International Yoga festival, which started in Rishikesh on Monday, will be replicated at all major tourism destinations in the hill areas of the state.
“Uttarakhand is already known as the abode of gods but its conversion into the largest destination for yoga in the world will add to the goal of making it a land of global peace... This will also lead to promotion of tourism activities and help the economy of rural hill areas of the state,” said Swami Chidanand Saraswati, head of Parmarth Niketan religious trust.
“Following a go-ahead from chief minister Harish Rawat, a calendar of events is being prepared in association with the state tourism department to replicate Rishikesh’s yoga festival in other parts of the state,” he said.
According to him, a yoga festival will be sued for developing Tehri Lake as an international tourism destination, spread over more than 40 square kilometres. The Yoga calendar will include places like Rudraprayag, Guptkashi, Uttarkashi in Garhwal and Jageshwar in Kumaon.
Department officials say these festivals will ensure the participation of foreign tourists and yoga enthusiasts.
Meanwhile, this year’s yoga festival saw participation of yoga enthusiasts from almost 70 nationalities. Addressing the inaugural session of the event, Rawat appealed to the monks and the Parmarth Niketan to come forward and support the government in its endeavour to make Uttarakhand a yoga hub
“We will also work out programs for amalgamating yoga festivals with other tourism activities of the state, as it has its own class of tourists,” said tourism minister Dinesh Dhane.