Dehradun/New Delhi, June 21 : The Fourth International Yoga Day was enthusiastically observed on Thursday within the country and abroad, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the main event at Dehradun, saying yoga has emerged as a major unifying force in a world facing conflicts.
A Guinness world record was created at Rajasthan's Kota where over two lakh people performed yogic 'asanas' at one place on the occasion.
Across the country, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and Governors participated in event along with many thousands of people.
Modi, who led the International Yoga Day celebrations, said the world had embraced yoga and June 21 had become one of the biggest mass movements in the quest for good health and well-being.
Terming yoga beautiful because it is "ancient yet modern", he said: "It is constant yet evolving.
It has the best of our past and present and a ray of hope for our future. In yoga, we have the perfect solution to the problems we face, either as individuals or in our society."
Modi said yoga helps to maintain balance when divisive powers gain prominence and "does the job of uniting us.
Yoga brings about peace in this modern fast paced life by combining the body, mind, spirit and soul".
Stressing yoga's increasing spread has brought the world closer to India, he said: "The position that yoga has got in the world due to constant efforts made by us..
"It is our responsibility to further develop the understanding about yoga for a healthy and happy humanity.
We should not hesitate to honour our own legacy and heritage if we want the rest of the world to respect us."
He added: "From Dehradun to Dublin, Jakarta to Johannesburg and Shanghai to Chicago, people are celebrating Yoga Day all across the world."
More than 35 foreign volunteers participated in the Dehradun event and performed 21 yoga postures along with nearly 50,000 people.
In Kota, the record-breaking event took place in the presence of yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at the RAC ground where people started assembling from 5 a.m.
A certificate was given to Raje, Ramdev and District Collector Gaurav Goyal by two Guinness World Record officials who came from London to monitor the proceedings.
Vice President M.
Venkaiah Naidu, who participated in a Yoga Day event in Mumbai, said yoga adopts a holistic approach towards health and well-being and it has "nothing to do with religion".
Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Soha Ali Khan -- for whom fitness is a way of life -- posted yoga poses and cited its benefits.
In New Delhi, hundreds of people, including Union Minister Jayant Sinha, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi and Lt.
Governor Anil Baijal, gathered on Rajpath and surrounding parks to perform 'asanas'.
In Tripura, thousands observed the day practising yoga across the state, with the main function held at Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council headquarters in Khumulwng, 30 km north of Agartala.
In Himachal Pradesh, Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his cabinet colleagues along with hundreds of schoolchildren and residents practiced yoga at the historic Ridge ground in Shimla amidst cloudy skies.
In Tamil Nadu, people performed 'asanas' at several places including metro rail stations. Governor Banwarilal Purohit did yoga exercises along with officials and students at Raj Bhavan in Chennai.
In Karnataka, thousands celebrated the day by participating in yoga sessions held in cities and towns across the state.
Prominent among them were former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and his son and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.
In West Bengal, hundreds observed Yoga Day. Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma took part in an event with state BJP leaders.
Yoga Day events were also held in Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry and Manipur, while in Dharamsala, hundreds of Tibetans performed yoga exercises at the courtyard of the Tsuglagkhang temple.
China celebrated the International Yoga Day with hundreds participating in a yoga event at Beijing.
More than 500 enthusiasts performed various poses at the old premises of the Indian Embassy in Beijing.
Yoga Day events were also held at Nepal and European countries of Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina.