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Hyderabad revels in restriction-free New Year fete after two years of COVID

DECCAN CHRONICLE | dc correspondent

Published on: January 1, 2023 | Updated on: January 2, 2023

A  large number of devotees throng the Birla Mandir on the occasion of New Year on Sunday. (S. Surender Reddy/DC)

HYDERABAD: Parties and festivities across the city began as early as 8 pm on Saturday, with several venues witnessing a cheerful, exuberant, and houseful throng that lasted well into midnight. The city's roads were bustling till 3 am on Sunday as revellers drove back home with families and friends after celebrating a restriction-free New Year after two years of Covid anxiety.

Tea stalls and eateries were kept open late in the night witnessing a considerable turnout as revellers flocked to refuel after the celebrations. Heavy traffic was witnessed along the Necklace Road as youth and families gathered to celebrate by cutting cakes at midnight.

"To avoid traffic difficulties and road blocks, all my friends gathered to go pub-hopping from 8 pm on Saturday and the plan was to reach a friend's apartment by midnight to celebrate New Year's Eve without any hassle. We expected a rush at venues now that the restrictions had been relaxed, while others were planning elaborate trips to various venues for partying. We decided to combine the best of both worlds and went to a friend's house in Gachibowli to celebrate at midnight with our loved ones," Anjali Goswami, a software developer, explained.

"My church, which has three branches, gathers as one at a common venue each year for mass and prayers during the New Year, but this time the throng was something else," said Nithin Raj of Hope Unlimited Church, which gathered at Nampally's Public Gardens for their celebrations. "The crowd was larger, there was joy and cheer among the participants who danced all the night, and families had a great time after two years of restricted, online gatherings," he said.

Meanwhile, Kumar Reddy, who rents out apartments for parties, said that bookings were made months in advance because the youth wanted to have a good time before Covid struck again.

"They asked for sound system permissions, but I informed them that going past 1 a.m. could cause problems in the residential neighbourhoods. I was getting calls even on December 30 for last-minute plans, but the bookings had already been made by others," he explained.