Senior officials of the Prime Minister's Office as well of many other ministries were among the thousands participating at the International Yoga Day (IYD) event at Rajpath here on Sunday.
The PMO officials who were of joint secretary rank and above declined to be named. They said they were invited to join in the mega event.
Had they practiced the asanas of the IYD protocol before coming?
"No, I just ran my eyes over the pamphlet. I anyway practice yoga, off and on. So I am sure I'll manage easily," a PMO official told IANS.
He was seated along with a few of his colleagues, all joint secretaries in the same important department. All had come, as had hundreds of other officials, to participate in the inaugural function of the IYD.
Among the government officials was Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) head S. Ayyappan.
Slimly built Ayyappan, the director general of ICAR and also the secretary of Department of Agricultural Research and Education, brought along with him some senior officials to participate in the yoga exercises.
Ayyappan said the yoga event would help to sensitise people about the benefits of the ancient discipline.
He said yoga keeps people physically and mentally fit and helps ease stress.
Around 1,400 young women who are training to join Delhi Police were among the participants at the International Yoga Day event on Rajpath.
Among them was Komal, a provisional sub-inspector, who said they trained for one hour morning and evening for the past 10 days before the event.
The women are from the Delhi Police Training College at Jharoda Kalan in Najafgarh.
Of the 1,400 women, there are 132 provisional sub inspectors and 1,200 constables, said another young woman.
"We started our training to join the Delhi Police in November last year," she said.
Little Nandini, 12, from Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Model Town left home at 3 a.m. to join her school mates for the Yoga Day event.
She, along with her friends, gathered at the Chattrasal Stadium in Model Town at 3 a.m., before being brought to Rajpath in buses. And since 3 a.m. she had not eaten anything. But they were promised refreshments once the event got over, at 8 a.m.
Nandini said training for yoga began on May 11 in her school.
There was also Mohd Aseem, 11, from a government school in Vivek Vihar, who said he came for the event along with 38 other school children.
Two teachers from the Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya in Gandhinagar said they were up since 2 a.m. in order to herd their school children for the event.
Kiran Treha, a yoga teacher with the school, said they brought along 40 school children for the event.
Attired in saffron robes, Jagatguru Rambhadracharya, who has founded the Chitrakoot Handicapped University in Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh, was among the guests invited to the International Yoga Day event.
Rambhadracharya, who is blind, was seated as a guest. He was invited to the IYD event and came along with a young associate Jai Mishra, who participated in the yoga events.
The university has 1,800 children who are disabled.
"We provide the children free boarding, food and education. We also hold yoga classes for the students," said the elderly Rambhadracharya.
Asked how he manages to fund the institution, he told IANS he gets money through "katha" or religious lectures.
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) general manager and spokesperson Radharaman Das said ISKON was the biggest proponent of bhakti yoga.
Das, an invitee at the International Yoga Day at Rajpath, told IANS that yoga events are being held at 600 ISKON centres in India.
All those participating at the International Yoga Day were given a special slip from a numbered booklet, as part of the Guinness Book of World Records effort to count the number of people actually doing the yoga. The numbered slips were distributed at the 30 entry gates set up along Rajpath.
The number of slips given out would be counted and tallied before the Guinness officials give out the actual number who performed yoga on Sunday at Rajpath.
The Delhi Traffic Corporation ran special buses that picked up participants of the International Yoga Day event from specified points across the capital.
The participants began boarding the DTC buses from 4.30 a.m. onwards.
Only buses and vehicles with stickers were allowed to go through Tughlak Road and other roads leading up to Rajpath.