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Things to do in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Catch the madness of a Kolkata cricket game

Cricket is a religion in India and there’s no better place to worship than Eden Gardens, India’s biggest stadium at 90,000 people capacity and the second largest in the world after Melbourne Cricket Ground. As well as international matches and World Cup finals, it is home to the Indian Premier League’s Kolkata Knight Riders (www.kkr.in), whose performances on the pitch have yet to live up to the expectations of owner/Bollywood supersuper Shah Rukh Khan.

Find yourself some secondhand holiday reading

Whether you're a John Grisham fiend or early edition collector you'll find a book on College Street, nicknamed locally as Boi Para (Book Town). It is said to be the biggest secondhand book market in the world and it's a treasure trove for those who love digging through the dusties to in pursuit of a rarity. Don't be afraid to haggle your way to a good price.

Go searching for tigers in the Sundarbans

There are approximately 400 Bengal tigers in Sundarbans National Park, 127km (79 miles) from Kolkata. It is also the largest mangrove belt in the world, so saltwater crocodiles stalk its waters. Tour Sundarbans (tel: +91 98 3617 7140; http://www.tourdesundarbans.com) offer one or two day excursions.

Improve your knowledge at Science City

Science City (tel: +91 33 2285 4343; http://sciencecitykolkata.org.in) is a sprawling church of all things physics, biology and chemistry. Since opening in 1997 it has had over 24 million visitors, beckoned in by attractions like the Earth Exploration Hall, the Space Theatre and the thousand-strong fish Aquarium. Happy learning.

Visit Mother Teresa’s house

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise, but Mother Teresa's unassuming home (tel: +91 33 2249 7115; www.motherteresa.org) from 1953 to 1997 is situated on a small back alley quite off the beaten track. The house itself is a site of pilgrimage for believers and atheists alike - her body still rests in a tomb around which Holy Mass is held every Friday at 1630.

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City Highlight: Kolkata

Kokata is India's second biggest city and the former capital of British India.

Featured Hotels

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The Park

A great location in the heart of Park Street, this upmarket property is a member of the Design Hotels of the World. Standard doubles are very comfortable with soothing warm tones and there are also more opulent suites and larger 'Luxury rooms'. It's stylish, well run and home to the trendy Tantra nightclub as well as some commendable restaurants. Other treats include an inviting swimming pool, gym and spa (which offers traditional Ayurvedic treatments and heavenly body scrubs).

Hotel Lindsay

The Lindsay offers a degree of comfort that belies the price. A nice feature is the rooftop restaurant, which affords good views of the teeming city below. It also has Wi-Fi in the rooms, and all the usual 'mod cons' expected from a modern hotel.

ITC Sonar

Spreading over 6.5 hectares (16 acres), this deluxe hotel has a gloriously tranquil ambience. Its top-class rooms surround a huge pool and are tastefully minimalist, with contemporary designs and fresh tones. Each room comes with Internet access, personalised vaults and 24-hour butler service. Guests can enjoy the health spa and beauty salon, with a variety of massage treatments, gym and collection of fine restaurants including delicious Dum Pukht.

Lytton Hotel

A comfortable, friendly, hotel in the heart of busy Sudder Street, the Lytton has pleasing rooms, all with air conditioning, fridge, Wi-Fi access, television and writing desk, making it a good value (for Kolkata) hotel for business travellers and tourists alike. It has a business centre, a good restaurant and a cosy bar – and it's just around the corner from the Indian Museum.

The Oberoi Grand

Set back from the chaos of Chowringee, this elegant Victorian structure has long been one of Kolkata's (and the subcontinent's) finest, and indeed most historic, hotels. Its courtyard is filled with columns and plants; the exquisitely restored hotel has beautifully decorated rooms (including sumptuous suites with grand four-poster beds and teak wood floors) in addition to a handful of superb restaurants, a tea lounge, spa, fitness centre and pool.

Fairlawn Hotel

A living part of the city's history, this small-scale property harks back to the late 18th century and has retained a creaky charm, and the charming, eccentric octogenarian owner is proud to talk about the interesting photos lining the walls. Extensively renovated in 2010, the hotel is crammed with bric-a-brac, old wicker furniture and Raj-era memorabilia. Rooms aren't flash but are comfortable enough, with some bathrooms featuring great old free-standing bath tubs.