Mumbai to celebrate New Year differently
New Year celebrations are marked by parties, fun and games, but there are some who will celebrate it differently this year-end in the city.

For the first time since the Nov 26, 2008, Mumbai terror attacks, Mumbai police and port authorities have decided to permit New Year eve celebrations and parties offshore in luxury yachts, launches and even small ships this year, a police official said.

"However, these would be subject to strict compliance with the requisite security guidelines and other official formalities," said Additional Commissioner of Police (South) Krishna Prasad.

A ban was clamped on all offshore parties, extremely popular among Mumbaikars, after the 26/11 terror attacks in which 10 Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists sneaked into south Mumbai through the Arabian Sea.

While nine terrorists were gunned down during the 60-hour security operation that followed, the sole surviving terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab was hanged Nov 21 this year after a trial.

Other unique New Year eve celebrations are also planned by the Bombay Natural History Society and Akash Ganga Centre for Astronomy in Mumbai and Thane.

"This year we have organised an off-beat celebration to usher in 2013 by promoting astronomy," said Bharat Adur, astronomer and Akash Ganga: Centre for Astronomy (AGCA) chief.

For Rs.220 per head, participants will be able to enjoy 12 hours non-stop fun at the AGCA`s facility at Badlapur in Thane, starting 6 p.m. Monday, Dec 31 and ending 6 a.m. Jan 1.

The participants, who can carry their own food, will scan the skies with telescopes while AGCA experts explain the finer aspects of astronomy.

On the other hand, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is planning a night out in the lush green forests at its Conservation Education Centre in Goregaon east, north-Mumbai.

For Rs.6,000 per family, BNHS will let participants dine in the dense forest, the stillness of the cold night punctuated by the sounds of nocturnal animals which abound here.

Aptly titled "An Evening In Forest", this would be an "eco-friendly" way of ushering in the New Year away from the hustle-bustle of the concrete jungle, BNHS Education Officer Amandeep Kaur said.

Besides good food and beverages, quizzes and games, a treasure hunt with attractive prizes, the celebrations will end post-midnight with an `Eco-Resolution` for the families, Kaur said.