High spirits, tight security, colour herald 2007

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New Delhi, Jan 1: India rang in 2007 in an exuberant manner with colourful and enthusiastic celebrations to welcome the new year continuing late in the night, amid tight security arrangements.

In the capital, heavy security arrangements, high spirits, decorated churches and celebrations galore lit the midnight spark on new year eve with residents dancing their way well into the early hours to welcome the new year.

Fireworks greeted the commencement of 2007, as enthusiastic street parties in the street continued.

Strict traffic enforcement and heavy police presence did not militate against a fun, frolic and fiesty mood all over the city.

Decorated malls, colourfully-lit shopping arcades and festooned markets added to the thunderous joy of the unabashed spirit of gay abandon when it comes to pomp and show and 'masti'.

Policemen were seen shaking hands with motorists and the common public to wish them new year goodness and strangers hugging each other to express their bonhomie and brotherhood on the eve of a 'new beginning'.

Nearly all major hotels reported heavy rush with more and more people joining the 'exclusive celebrations' hosted by them, despite exorbitant price tags. Garima Bhatnagar of Intercontinental said, ''With every new year the celebrations are getting larger and larger. People don't mind spending for once and pay uninhibitedly.

Despite prices being between 5,000 to 9,000 for the night, we have had no shortage of booking and are 'full house' for the day.'' Special midnight services were also held in churches across the city.

With weather easing a bit and the chill of the past three days receeding, people came out in larger numbers to enjoy the festive spirit with almost all major roads choc-a-block with revellers and vehicular traffic.

Every market, right from the trendy Connaught Place, South Extension, Greater Kailash, Green Park, Hauz Khas and Rajouri Garden to the common man's Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Rohini and Karol Bagh wore a festive look with balloons, lighting, bright flags and colourful hangings adorning them on streets, pavements and shop entrances.

Adding to all this, were several shops arranging for music and dance 'floors' to let people join them in the celebrations.

At the city centre in Connaught Circus' inner circle people started gathering since 2000 hrs, right past midnight for the magical moment and burst into a collective yell to announce the arrival of the ''Happy New Year''. With several stalls of eatables and 'concerts' dotting the scape the swinging to the new year was a pleasurable waft into pleasure dome -- what with the newly opened Central Park adding to the cheer and festive spirit.


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