First Ever Yog Maha Kumbha Begins
A historic, first ever, four day Yog Maha Kumbha festival took place in Pantdweep, Haridwar, jointly organized by Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board and Parmarth Niketan, from the 8-11th March. This year, the celebrations were planned to coincide with and extend the 28th Annual, International Yoga Festival celebrations at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), held from 1-7th March, and jointly organized by Uttarakhand Tourism, Parmarth Niketan and GMVN, to the heart of the Ardha Kumbha, the sacred city of Haridwar.
The morning began with Kundalini Sadhana with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa. The festival was inaugurated on the 8th of March by Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Harish Rawatji, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, joined by the world-famous percussionist, Sivamani and his beautiful wife Runa Rizvi, as they performed for the opening of the Yog Maha Kumbh four day celebrations. The inaugural ceremony was also blessed by Dr. Pranav Pandyaji, Vice Chancellor of Dev Sanskriti Vishwa Vidyala, Pujya Swami Brahmswaroop Brahmachariji, Head of Jai Ram Ashram, Pujya Mahamandeleshwar Swami Harichetananandji, Head, Udhaseen Haridwar Seva Ashram, HH Ven Bhikkhu Sanghasenaji and many other revered saints. Dr. Vandana Shiva, famous eco-feminist, scholar, and activist, was also present to inaugurate the festival, which opened on International Women’s Day, the 8th of March, and gave the message of how Organic Uttarakhand was crucial and key to protecting and preserving the sacred land and soil of the Himalayas.
There was also a special International Women’s Day panel led by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji and other international female Yogacharyas and experts speaking on the importance of protecting the divine feminine in all its forms, especially to honour and respect the female body as well as to protect and preserve Mother Nature. Young female students from local schools also performed.
There was a beautiful Ganga Aarti ceremony in Har Ki Pauri led by Pujya Swamiji and joined by all yogacharyas and yogis from around the world, as well as an extraordinary performance by soulful and popular singer Kailash Kher in the evening, bringing the audience to its feet while dancing to many hit bollywood numbers and songs dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Lord of Yoga, and in honour of the International Women’s Day.