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Tens of thousands join Indian leader for world yoga day

Last Updated Jun 21, 2018 at 1:01 pm EST

Indian Hindu holy men strike yogic poses on International Yoga Day at the Kamakhya temple in Gauhati, India, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Yoga enthusiasts across the world Thursday took part in mass yoga events to mark International Yoga Day. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

DEHRADUN, India – Some 50,000 people gathered with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday in the Himalayan foothills to salute the power of yoga.

Modi, an ardent Hindu nationalist, travelled to the hill town of Dehradun for the fourth International Day of Yoga, and shortly after sunrise was doing yoga exercises with about 50,000 people.

Yoga “is enriching millions of lives all over the world,” Modi said in a speech.

He also urged Indians to take pride in their heritage.

“The gems of India’s unique heritage, such as yoga, will be respected by the world at large only when we ourselves respect our culture and traditions,” he said.

Tens of thousands more people joined in mass yoga exercises across the country, from staff at the New Delhi airport to middle-class urbanites and students at countless schools.