Kurukshetra: The International Gita Mahotsav-2016, organised to mark Gita Jayanti from December 6 to 10, commenced at Kurukshetra in Haryana on Tuesday. However, President Pranab Mukherjee had to cancel his scheduled visit for the inauguration of the Mahotsav in view of the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Amid chanting of hymns, the Mahotsav began.
Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar performed 'Gita Pujan'.
Reaching the sports complex of the Kurukshetra University here, the Governor and Chief Minister met the 574 delegates from different districts of the country representing an equal number of shlokas of Shreemad Bhagavad Gita, who had arrived for the Mahotsav.
They later reached Purshottampura Bagh, Brahma Sarovar, where they, along with the Ministers and other dignitaries, performed Gita Pujan amid chanting of hymns.
Earlier, President cancelled his visit for the Mahotsav.
"President (Pranab Mukherjee) has decided not to come for the inauguration of the International Gita Mahotsav-2016 in view of the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa," Khattar told PTI.
President was to inaugurate the International Gita Mahotsav-2016 at Brahma Sarovar and the international seminar on Gita at Shri MadBhagwat Geeta Auditorium at Kurukshetra University here.
The Haryana Governor, while addressing the gathering, said that President's visit to Kurukshetra was cancelled because of the death of Tamil Nadu CM.
"Sometimes man proposes and God disposes. But his (President's) blessings are with us and I hope in remaining days of the event, he will come once," said Solanki.
The Haryana government observed one-day state mourning as a mark of respect to J Jayalalithaa. The National Flag was flying at half-mast and no official entertainment was held.
At the crafts mela, the beating of drums and dances, which were being performed on the banks of Brahmsarovar for the last four days were stopped.
The Governor and Chief Minister inspected the model of Gita Gyan Sansthanam, where research on all aspects of the Bhagavad Gita would be carried out.
The Governor said the entire world would gain knowledge of the Gita through the Gita Gyan Sansthanam, which would inculcate moral values in every person.
When every person in the world would be cultured, then the state and the country would forge ahead on the path of success. The state government has provided all possible facilities to the Sansthanam, the Governor said.
Gita Manishi, Swami Gyananand Ji Maharaj, also gave detailed information about the proposed Sansthanam.
The Governor and Chief Minister inspected the model of Krishna Circuit, which would be developed at a cost of Rs 97.35 crore under 'Swadesh Darshan Yoja
Khattar said out of the total budget, Rs 38.64 crore would be spent on Brahma Sarovar for construction of water-based theme based on the Mahabharata, world-class multi-media laser show, beautification of all sides of the Brahma Sarovar, lighting and parking.
Apart from this, Rs 1.20 crore out of this budget would be spent on Multipurpose Tourist Information Centre, he informed.
He said that under the Krishna Circuit project, Rs 31.08 crore would be spent on development of Jyotisar Tirath. Under this, landscaping and beautification of the Tirath would be carried out.
To facilitate tourists, tirath entrance gate, canteen, parking, bathrooms, toilets and another such facilities would be constructed.
Apart from this, information pertaining to the Mahabharata, history of river Saraswati, civilisations and tourist destinations flourishing along the banks of river Saraswati, and places of pilgrimage in 48 kos would be provided.
The Chief Minister said that Rs 6.50 crore would be spent on beautification of Sannihit Sarovar, apart from, arrangements for lighting, parking, canteen, water treatment project and sanitation. A tourist assistance centre would also be established at a cost of Rs 1.23 crore, he added.
Khattar said that about Rs two crore would be spent for re-construction and beautification of 'Baan Ganga' at Narkatari, apart from construction of toilets and canteen and arrangements for cleanliness, parking and lighting.
Later, the Governor and Chief Minister went around the exhibition organised by Sarawati Heritage Development Board and viewed the model of Saraswati project.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the International Seminar on Shrimad Bhagwad Gita: Holistic Life Management and World Heritage Tourism, Solanki said, "the 21st century belongs to India, the whole world is looking at our country and India has high hopes from Haryana."
He said that a fresh wave of energy was sweeping the country, and India had begun to take a positive turn.
Referring to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Governor said he took the people of the country as his high command.
(With PTI inputs)