The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 2 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sun overshadows chill
From home to park, food, fun and frolic

Revellers of all ages made the most of the first day of 2013 by spending a fun day out in the mellow winter sun with families and friends.

Braving the early morning chill, everyone headed straight to the destinations of their choice — the zoo, Eco Park, Kumhrar Park, Sabbalpur Diara and P&M Mall among others— after exchanging New Year calls and text messages.

Crowds from the state capital and the districts thronged Rajdhani Vatika, popularly known as the Eco Park, carrying homemade food, badminton racquets, cricket bats and balls. Subodh Gupta’s 26-ft cactus made of stainless steel utensils remained the centre of attraction. Hundreds posed in front of the structure for photographs.

Mukesh Ranjan, a resident of Gaya having a good time with his family, said: “This cactus is the sole reason we are celebrating the New Year at the Eco Park.” The park looked so crowded that there was hardly any space for visitors after 4pm. A group of girls from different colleges were seen playing antakshari on the greens. Kiosks selling ice cream, golgappa, chaat, popcorn and pav bhaaji did brisk business.

Abhishek Singh, a Patliputra Colony resident, said: “Last year, we could not enjoy because it rained on January 1. This time, the sun allowed us to enjoy with our friends and family to the fullest.”

Other popular spaces included Peer Ali Park near Gandhi Maidan and Kumhrar Park in Patna City.

Patna zoo continued to be a crowd-puller despite suspension of boating, toy train and golf cart facilities. But visitors did not miss out on watching animals, aquatic mammals, fishes and birds. Many were lucky to hear a lioness roar.

People were allowed to take homemade food inside the zoo as an exception to the rule on outside food. Around 60 police constables were deputed inside and outside the zoo. Temporary ticket counters were opened at Eco Park and the zoo.

Dolphin Ganga Plaza at Sabbalpur Diara was another favourite destination. Around 30,000 people, mostly young couples and families, visited the facility.

“Couples can spend quality time at very few places in the city. Presence of cops has made this sandbar a safe place to chill out,” said Apoorva Jha.

“I have been coming here to enjoy the serene and calm environment on January 1 for the past three years. The party made it all the more worthwhile,” said Nikita Bharadwaj, a Boring Road resident.

The organisers were upbeat about the heavy footfall. “A total of 2,000 people visited our amusement park, Dolphin Ganga Plaza, to enjoy song and dance performances to live orchestra. We also organised beach volleyball and quiz contests,” said Manish Sinha, the proprietor.

Such was the rush of revellers that the police stopped the ferry services from the Ganga ghats to the sandbar after 2pm. “There are too many people at Sabbalpur Diara. To avoid any untoward incident, no more people are being allowed to go there,” said a policeman standing at Gandhi Ghat.

For food connoisseurs, restaurants and hotels across the city offering an array of mouth-watering delicacies were the best bet. Most city eateries at Maurya Lok Complex, P&M Mall and elsewhere were chock-a-block with people of all ages.

“I decided on spending quality time with my family over Continental food instead of choosing the crowded malls and shopping plazas,” said Rajiv Verma, a Patliputra resident eating at a Boring Road food joint.

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