Kolkata ushers New Year in festive mood

Indo Asian News Service

Kolkata, Jan 1 (IANS) Kolkata ushered in the New Year on Tuesday by sharing warm greetings, enjoying picnics at popular tourist spots, beating the chill and partying hard.

Indulging in midnight revelry at the iconic Park Street, New Market area and other night clubs, thousands of citizens came out in a celebratory mood on January 1.

The heady aroma of baked goodies and confectionaries wafted through the chilly air in Park Street and other party zones also stocked up lip-smacking menus.

In the morning, city residents, across all ages, race and religion, thronged popular tourist spots such as the Victoria Memorial, the Alipore Zoo, Eco and Nicco Park to continue the celebration before going back to the daily routine.

The trains and metro rails were packed too as people from suburbs came out in large numbers to get the feel of festivity in the city.

To ensure there is no threat to the city's revelry, police made elaborate security arrangements, such as setting up CCTV cameras at strategic locations.

Tourists also embarked on blissful getaways to the beaches of Digha and the hills of north Bengal.

Lengthy queues of devotees were seen snaking up to the popular Dakshineshwar Kali Temple since dawn.

Followers of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa gathered at the famous Kali temple at Dakshineswar for the Kalpataru Utsav, celebrated on this day every year in memory of the spiritual guru.

It is believed that Paramhansa had gone into a trance on January 1, 1886, and granted enlightenment to his disciples.

Situated at the northern part of the city, Kashipur Udyanbati (garden house where Ramakrishna spent last few days of his life) also witnessed a huge footfall.

"It is a belief that whatever we wish today with utmost devotion will be granted," a devotee said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee shared warm greetings on this day.

"Today is Kalpataru Utsav. It is said that on this day Ramakrishna Paramhansa Deb transformed into 'Kalpataru' - the mystical tree that fulfils everyone's wishes. My greetings to all," Banerjee tweeted.