The sharp chill in the air only added to the Christmas frenzy in Kolkata, with year-end revelers heading in droves to their favourite winter haunts and such prominent city landmarks as the Alipore Zoo, Victoria Memorial, Birla Planetarium and Indian Museum logging record footfalls.
Keen to catch the festive air on a blustery Tuesday morning, thousands bundled up in heavy woolens and thronged Park Street and Bow Barracks, whiling away hours in pure, unadulterated fun.
The numbers testified to the festive spirit on view, with a sea of humanity, far eclipsing last year’s turnout, filling prominent city thoroughfares. Park Street, a popular haunt for year-end revelers, turned into a sea of red Santa Claus caps. Similar scenes were witnessed at the St. Paul’s Cathedral, with scores turning out through the day for Christmas Day prayers before heading to other stops for a spot of fun.
With numbers swelling through the day, the authorities at Birla Planetarium increased the number of shows lined up for visitors. “All our shows went houseful, with the Bengali show drawing huge numbers. We didn’t want the visitors to return disappointed and hence arranged for an extra evening show in Bengali,” said an official at the Planetarium.
“We logged a record footfall through the day, with numbers at the end of the day touching 8,000. This was far more than a normal winter day turnout, which hovers between 4,000 and 5,000,” the official said.
Alipore Zoo, another favourite of year-end revelers, also logged massive numbers through the day. “We recorded a footfall of 66,539 today, more than around 54,320 on Sunday. The Christmas Day turnout last year, a Sunday, was 66,200,” Kanailal Ghosh, director of Alipore Zoo, told HT.
The numbers at Victoria Memorial and Indian Museum also touched record levels though the day. “We recorded an approximate footfall of 27,500 today, way more than 21,000 on Sunday,” Shakeel Ahmed, administrative officer of Victoria Memorial, told HT.
“This year the Christmas Day turnout swelled to 10,000, a shade more than around 9,800 recorded last year. The footfall was around 7,000 on Sunday,” Anup Motilal, director of Indian Museum, told HT.
A popular haunt for yearend revelers, especially the youth, South City Mall saw a stupendous footfall of 2.5lakh on Christmas Day.
Senior police officers said that till late Tuesday evening, the footfall on Park Street was around 15,000 at any given time.
While the year-end revelers indulged in fun dine-outs at popular eating joints, with cakes and drinks flying over the counter, a section of city celebs chose to take some time out of their busy schedule to spend the day with underprivileged kids at Floatel.
Singer Neepabithi Ghosh, who had formed Good Deed Doers, a likeminded group with her friends from Jadavpur University, took 55 underprivileged children from two city NGOs out to a hotel and treated them to a fun evening with songs, games, painting and food.
While Miss Jojo sang some her popular numbers along with kids, Cactus frontman Sidhu crooned Holud Pakhi along with numbers from Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne and the children responded with loud cheers.
Noted city painter Subrata Gangopadhyay sketched out some fun drawings for young minds and urged them to hone their painting skills.