by Peerzada Arshad Hamid
NEW DELHI, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Celebrations and festivities marked the beginning of New Year across India. People especially the younger generation across four metro cities in India thronged landmark locations to celebrate the arrival of 2018.
Authorities had made adequate security arrangements to ensure celebrations to pass off peacefully without any incident.
In New Delhi and Mumbai, concerns raised by the recent Mumbai pub blaze had put authorities, especially police on tenterhooks. On Friday, 14 people including 11 women were killed and 20 others injured in a deadly fire at a pub on the terrace of city's trade house building in Kamala Mills compound.
Right from Sunday evening, people assembled in malls, restaurants and open spaces of New Delhi, which were lit with bright colored lights to celebrate the arrival of the new year.
"Heavy security measures were made and police contingents were deployed to ensure safety and security of women and curb drunken driving," a senior police official said. "Police personnel kept an eye on trouble mongers and anti-social elements."
Police in the national capital restricted vehicular traffic from the Connaught Place after 8:00 p.m. local time on Sunday and had issued route deviations for several other parts of the city.
"We have gathered at Connaught Place in the city to bade goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018," Neha Jha, a reveller told Xinhua. "Our friend circle had a great fun and we enjoyed waiting for ushering into the new year."
Reports said the Connaught Place, India Gate and Hauz Khas village were crowded with people until early Monday.
People in other major cities of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkatta ushered into the new year in their unique styles.
In Mumbai, considered to be the financial capital of India, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation buildings were lit up for the new year. Restaurants in the famous hill station Lonavala witnessed a huge rush and partygoers celebrating the arrival of new year in Navi Mumbai, Thane, and at several places located close to Mumbai.
In Tamil Nadu, tens of hundreds of people gathered at the iconic Marina Beach on the eve of the New Year. Likewise in Kolkata, the city of joy, the center of all festivity was the iconic Park street and Bow-Baracks. The city's pubs, bars and restaurants also witnessed an unusual rush.
Reports pouring in from almost all the places said, as the clock struck 12:00 at night, fireworks were set off and shouts and cheers welcoming the arrival of 2018 resonated the places.
In many parts of the country people also thronged places of worship with the hope of beginning the new year with divine blessings.
In Sikh holy city of Amritsar, the Golden Temple was lit up for the occasion as members from the Sikh community made a beeline to the temple to usher in the new year in a spiritual way.
The Indian president, vice president and prime minister greeted people on the occasion of new year.
"Wishing you all a happy 2018! I pray that this year brings joy, prosperity and good health in everyone's lives," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on twitter.
In Indian-controlled Kashmir, tourists and locals gathered at Gulmarg and Pahalgam to celebrate the beginning of new year in cold temperature.
Reports said the party was at its peak in other major cities like Goa, Bengaluru's M G Road, Bhopal and Lucknow as well.