Thousands of revellers in the city on Friday soaked in the spirit of Christmas celebration.
People started to pour in from various parts of Kolkata and suburbs from Friday morning to take part in the festival. Park Street, Allen Park, Bow Barracks, St Paul’s Cathedral, other churches in and around the city and the other centres of attraction in Kolkata registered record number of footfalls on Friday.
On the other hand, it may be first time in history that the visitors were denied entry to the century old St Paul’s Cathedral after 6 pm to prevent any untoward incidents as there was a heavy rush of visitors inside the church.
The church authorities had asked the police to take some measures as there was a possibility of stampede like situation. Many people who were still thronging outside the church till late evening were little depressed as their entry was restricted.
The places that recorded highest number of footfall were Alipore Zoological Garden, Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Park Street, Nicco Park and Science City. Children in large number clad in Santa dresses were found visiting the Alipore Zoo from Friday morning. Zoo has always been one of the major centres of attraction especially for the children who were seen thronging along with their parents in front the tigers’ cages. The chimpanzees are also favourites for the children.
Subham Saha, an 8-year-old boy who is a student of class IV of an English medium school in the city visited the zoo along with his family members. Before coming to the zoo he insisted his parents for visiting the chimpanzees first. So his father Santanu Saha, a bank employee took him to the open arena where the people can have the best glimpses of the chimpanzees. Many people were already standing there to have a glimpse of their favourite animals. Subham, who reached there by 11.30 am was eagerly waiting to see them. But the animals might had been late in coming outside probably because of the cold. They always love to bask on the Sun giving enormous pleasure to the children. But the children were little depressed as chimpanzees came out of the cage late. As the weather was little dull in the morning, the chimpanzees were possibly out of mood.
After keeping people on wait the chimpanzees later came out of the cage and children burst in joy. Many of the children threw some bananas at them. Subham became happy when his father helped him to click some pictures of the animals.
A senior official in the zoo said that they recorded a heavy footfall on Friday. The zoo authorities hope that this will continue in the last week of December.
The people also visited in large number in the Indian Museum, Nicco Park and Science City. Park Street, always been a place to celebrate the spirit of the Christmas and New Year, was decked up with lights, balloons, Christmas trees and other decorations. The St Paul’s cathedral which is located nearby saw record number of footfall on Friday. People from various parts of the city and the suburbs came here to pray to God for the well being and prosperity of all. The Medical Bank, a city based organization today distributed toys among 200 children at Sova Bazar Metro station.
Extra security arrangements are in place in Park Street, its adjoining areas and other places. Cops have been divided into five zones. A police officer of deputy commissioner rank is on the charge of each zone. Around 11 watch towers have been erected in and around Park Street for keeping a vigil on this festive season of Christmas and New Year.