yoga performances, melodious music, dazzling cultural programmes
and colourful costumes took thousands of participants on an
unforgettable journey of India and the world as the World Cultural
Festival kicked off in the German capital Saturday.
The event is celebrated as a "peace festival" at the historic
Olympic Stadium that hosted the 1936 Olympics and 1974 World Cup
football matches. The stadium turned 75 this year. The festival
also marks 30 years of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art
of Living organisation.
"The Olympic Stadium was built by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and it
was from this place that the call for World War II came. From
where the call for war came we want to give a call for peace," an
official of the Art of Living told IANS.
"It is 75 years of the Olympic Stadium and 30 years of Art of
living and we are trying to bring people from across the world
giving them a vision of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (one world)," she
In a unique celebration of harmony in diversity, the two-day
festival will see participation of an estimated 70,000 people from
151 countries who will take home unique sights, sounds, tastes and
the variety of all continents.
The overcast sky with light showers, initially, affected the
schedule of the programme but many people poured into the stadium
to have a glimpse of the festivity.
"It's beautiful and spread in such a big area. There is so much to
see and I really liked the section on Asia-Pacific as it's very
colourful with a variety of food. I hope the sun will come out of
the clouds and shine bright," said Anna Asendorf, a college
student, who came to attend the festival from neighbouring
Africa, Asia, America and Europe pavilions complete the journey
through the world experience by interactively showcasing the
beauty of cultures through local dance, music, food and
One of the highlights of the programme of the opening day is the
Grand Guitar Ensemble for Peace - an enchanting symphony of 2,000
guitarists, 30 Grand pianists and 3,000 choir singers. Apart from
German and other European countries' anthems, Vande Mataram will
also be sung, said an official.
The festival also showcases classical music from India and
America, contemporary music from Malta, traditional flutes from
Turkey, folk dances from Russia and Bulgaria, Shaolin monks from
China and a variety of performances by Germans.
Lotus dance from Japan, aboriginal dance from Canada and Swiss
groups, Austrian alpine horns will vie for the eyeballs during the
"I am really looking forward to the cultural performances. It's a
multicultural carnival where you get to see artists from various
countries on one platform," said Kumar Roy, an Indian tourist.
The stadium has been transformed into a huge yoga park where
visitors can attend workshops from different countries and
experience its effect on physical and mental health.
A unique Yoga Museum charts the evolution of yoga from ancient
sages to its global application in the 21st century and also
illustrates the societal impact of yoga in peace building and its
application in humanitarian projects around the world.
"A total of 500 yoga teachers and practitioners of various ages
and yoga schools will present the beauty and impact of yoga.
Together we will perform the musically choreographed exercise
Surya Namaskar (sun salutation)," said the organiser.
This World Culture Festival concert is part of a world series of
intercultural peace concerts, which began with the Brahmnaad
concert in New Delhi, India, in November 2008. The concert
featured over 1,200 sitar players and entered the Guinness World