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21 Dec 2016

No more intimate moments at Victoria after dark

Meghna Roy, HT, 21 Dec 2016, Kolkata: With the advent of winter, Victoria Memorial authorities are using searchlights to look for lovebirds, couples and those seeking privacy in its huge compound. The premises, which close at 5.30 pm, are one of the favourite haunts in the city for lovers.
“We have traditionally been using whistles to signal the closure of the gardens, but some couples are reluctant to respond to the sound alert. Hence, we have resorted to light,” said a museum official.
Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) is the museum with biggest footfall in the country. It is also the country’s largest museum library. A number of people visit its expansive lawns. During winter, darkness descends quickly and many utilise this opportunity to steal a moment of togetherness here.
“Due to shortening of days during winters, we have undertaken the measure to use searchlights,” said an administrative officer of VMH.
The annual footfall in the gardens is around 13 lakh, while that in the museum is the highest in the country at 20 lakh. “We had an estimated footfall of 30,000,” Jayanta Sengupta, secretary and curator of VMH, told HT.
Victoria Memorial Gardens is spread over 64 acres in the heart of the city. Lovers getting cozy near the sprawling gardens, shrubs, colourful flowers, and water bodies are a common sight around VMH.
However, VMH is not the only place where couples flock to in search of privacy. Mohor Kunja, Princep Ghat, Millenium Park, Rabindra Sarobar, Nalban, Eco Park and Central Park in Salt Lake are some of the romantic hangouts in the city.
“Our premises close at 9 pm. We don’t have to struggle to evict visitors. They usually listen to the guards,” said the deputy conservator of forests, under whose supervision the Central Park functions in Salt Lake.

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