Art of Living event expected to be the biggest ever in city

  • Mallica Joshi, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 04, 2016 13:54 IST
A structure being prepared for the fesival. Massive construction is underway on the Yamuna bank along the DND for a World Cultural Festival by Art of Living scheduled for early March in New Delhi, India. (Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times)

It promises to be a festival of unthinkable proportions.

The World Culture Festival (WCF) being organised by the Art of Living Foundation will have a seven-acre stage that will accommodate 37,000 artists.

A gathering of 35 lakh people is expected over three days at the event that will spread out over an area on 1,000 acres on the ecologically fragile Yamuna floodplain.

It is enough to have caught the eye of environmentalists and the National Green Tribunal in the form of a petition. Running into controversy, there is no clarity if the event will get the tribunal’s clearance.

If it does, it will be the biggest gathering the city has ever seen.

The biggest ever public gathering till now was a commemorative meeting held for Sant Hans Ji Maharaj in Punjabi Bagh in 1970, which saw the presence of an estimated 10 lakh people.

The Sant Nirankari Samagam in Burari that is held annually in Burari in Delhi is the biggest recurring public gathering in the Capital.

Held on grounds owned by the Sant Nirankari Samagam, the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Jal Board which are spread over an area of 400 acres, the event attracted nearly six lakh people in November 2015, event organisers said. Participants lived and ate on the premises.

The WCF makes no such promises.

The participants and audience will be at the floodplains between 5 pm and 10 pm. No living arrangements are being made. There will, however, be 650 bio toilets which the foundation says will ensure no sewage flows into the river.

The gathering is expected to create a Guinness World record. But the Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar said the aim was not to create any records.

“We have broken and made several records in the past and are not interested in them anymore. This is a festival to bring together people in peace and harmony. The scale is massive. Getting together so many artists on one stage is a feat on its own,” he told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.

Read: UP irrigation dept warns organiser against polluting Yamuna banks

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