Raahgiri Day is India's first sustained car-free day. Launched in Gurgaon – India’s “Millennium City” – on November 17, 2013, the event closes 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) of major streets to automobiles every Sunday from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm and opens them up for recreational and community leisure activities. The name Raahgiri was chosen to resonate with Gurgaon's residents and Indian citizens across the country. The term brings two ideas together - raah refers to a path or journey towards a final goal, and GandhiGiri is a colloquial adaptation of Mahatma Gandhi’s transformative technique of non-violence.
10,000 people participated in the inaugural Raahgiri Day, and that number has grown each week – reaching over 20,000 by Week 5 and nearly 90,000 by Week 8. The event has generated significant public and media attention, sending a strong message that Indian roads have great potential to positively benefit urban residents when they are accessible not only for cars, but for pedestrians, cyclists, and for recreational purposes as well. More importantly, the event has succeeded in driving home the fact that many of India’s urban residents are willing to use sustainable modes of transport, provided they have access to safe and secure infrastructure.
EMBARQ India was involved from the beginning stages of conceptualizing and planning Raahgiri Day. To learn more, see TheCityFix's coverage of Raahgiri Day since its launch in November 2013. For more photos of the event, visit EMBARQ's Raahgiri Day Flickr set.