People From Over 75 Countries Gathered For a Sacred Prayer Circle for World Peace & an Eco-Friendly Holi Celebration on the banks of Ganga; gather for an enlightening discourse with Dr. Isazhwar Basavareddi; and conclude the day with a concert by Sivamani, and celebrate Pujya Sadhviji’s 53rd birthday

Highlights from the final day included a beautiful and special Ganga Aarti in which international participants representing over 75 countries gathered to pray for World Peace. Participants of the annual world famous International Yoga Festival celebrated a special, eco-friendly, green, YOGIC Holi with great enthusiasm and joy. They got a very special experience of India’s famous festival of colours filled dance, songs and inspiring messages on the significance of this sacred and ecstatic festival.

IYF is organised by Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh with the support of Incredible India, Ministry of Tourism, in association with Ministry of Culture and Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India and was officially inaugurated by the Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand Lt Gen (Retd)  and will have the visit of other Hon’ble Ministers, Diplomats and Dignitaries throughout the week (please see more below).

RISHIKESH: Drum beats vibrated through the sacred Yoga Gardens as world famous percussionist Drums Sivamani and Soulful Sufi Singer Runa Rizvi sang Holi songs as delegates from more than 90 nations danced in ecstasy as  HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Director of International Yoga Festival applied pure sandalwood paste (chandan) as blessed tilak on the foreheads of all the participants, showering flowers of love and peace during the closing and final day of the annual International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh which is organised with the support of the Incredible India, Ministry of Tourism, in association with the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.

To promote an eco-friendly, green approach to all festivals and holidays, Parmarth’s Holi celebration used natural, organic colours and flowers, which showered participants in the Yoga Gardens. Afterwards, participants joined Pujya Swamiji, Pujya Sadhviji, and Sivamaniji in rallying down to the holy banks of Mother Ganga for an incredibly special and deeply refreshing Maa Ganga Snan.

World peace was the message of the day as over 1500 participants, revered saints, spiritual masters, yogacharyas, artists and musicians gathered on the Parmarth Ganga ghat to offer their prayers and pledge to uphold and spread peace, under the divine blessings and leadership of H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanad Saraswati Ji, the President of Parmarth Niketan. 

“If you love the creator, love the creation,” Pujya Swamiji said. “India believes in allness, in oneness, and togetherness. The spirit of India always believes in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” the great mantra given by the sage from this land. Sitting is important, so Ganga aarti is necessary, but we must remember we are all one.”

“Let this beautiful color on our skin also permeate our hearts,” Pujya Sadhviji said.

DAY 7 SCHEDULE Highlights: 

The day Began at 6 AM with a Bheem Prana Power Yoga led by Yogiraj Swami Jayant Saraswati, a famous pranayama and power yoga expert who also heads the Kanav Ashram in Kotdwar. Dr. Indu Sharma, who has been in seva at Parmarth Niketan for over 22 years, led a chakra alignment asana. Erica Kaufman from the USA, founder of Lila Yoga, a philosophy in motion—taught Lila Yoga Vinyasa for Heart Opening Transformation.

After a satvik brunch, participants queued for a much awaited session with the famed Dr. Ishwar Basavareddi Yoga Experts Mat to Mind: Exploring Mind – Body  connection in Yoga Sadhana. Dr. Basavareddi, who served as Director of the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) for more than 18 years and was the founder Head of the Institution (HoI) (2018 to 2023) of Yoga Certification Board (YCB) under the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, is one of the leading architects of the Common Yoga Protocol (CYP). He was joined by several leading yoga experts from IYA.

Following lunch, Anand Mehrotra, founder of Sattva Yoga Academy and an evolutionary thought leader, conducted a sacred satsang, a spiritual question and answer session themed The Mind and the Cosmos. Meanwhile, Parmarth Niketan’s resident Vedantic expert Gayatri Yogacharya gave an enlightening discourse on The Nature of Being. At the Sacred Sound Stage, participants immersed in the a truly international lineup, including Sandra Barnes of Argentina, Joseph Schmidlin of the United States, Astrid Slegten of Brussels, and Sanj Hall of India.

Which was followed by the sacred Yagna and divine Ganga Aarti, during which the festival gathered together to celebrate Pujya Sadhviji Bhagawati Saraswati Ji’s 53rd birthday.

“I am so proud to see how Pujya Sadhviji has dedicated her entire life like a sacred yagya in the selfless service of Bharat Mata,” said her Guru, H.H. Pujya Chidanand Saraswati Ji. “She is a Guru and guide to so many people across the world bringing light, love, peace and yoga to wherever she goes. Her journey from Hollywood to the Himalayas is a journey that inspires countless many to offer everything they have to the service of humanity. Her life is yoga in action and yoga in its truest essence.”

The International Yoga Festival closed with an ecstatic concert with the legendary Sivamani, who enthralled listeners with his wide array of percussion instruments, from the conventional cymbals to the timbale to the batajon to the vastly unconventional shells and conches and “Biryani Kadai.” His performance was deeply profound and mysterious at one moment; tantalizing and exuberant at the next. And thus the curtain closed on another remarkable International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan on the holy banks of Ma Ganga, in the lap of the Himalayas, in the sacred land of Rishikesh, birthplace of yoga.


Participant Peter Thomas Australia, shared,“I had my first ever yoga class at IYF and I fell in love with it, and will be returning to India in October for my Teachers training. I really want to immerse myself and share it with others I just loved it, the people here are so nice, it has been an absolute blast. I’m a massage therapist and now I see so many more options in how I can serve others.”