Must-Dos

Party hearty

Deep Dasgupta
And then head straight to breakfast, before taking a cruise and gorging on spicy street food. There's a lot to do in and around Kolkata

Puchkas, savoury bombs of semolina pastry filled with mashed potato, chickpeas, tamarind paste and chaat masala, are a favourite street snack © Getty Images

Party in night clubs
This is for the young at heart. There are plenty of nightclubs - Tantra, Roxy, Shisha. Unlike other cities where everything shuts down at 11pm or 12 midnight, Calcutta is a place where you can actually get out of a night club and go straight to breakfast. You can have a really nice night out and then head to a place like Flurys in the morning.

The underground music scene in Calcutta is perhaps the best in the country. The bands from Calcutta are loved throughout the country, and are must-haves in music concerts anywhere. Especially Bengali bands. So mark down a visit to Someplace Else. Every night of the week live bands perform there. And they are really, really good. Anyone who is in to rock music goes here. Bengali bands usually play in auditoriums. So if you can't catch them at a concert, there is always Someplace Else.

Visit the north-east
The north-east of the country has some of the prettiest places not only India, but perhaps the whole world: places like Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Gangtok and Shillong. Darjeeling and Kalimpong offer stunning views of Kanchenjunga and Everest. You have to take two days off and go to one of these places in the north-east, and enjoy the lifestyle, language, culture. It will be laidback, will give you a couple of days off the hectic schedule, and you will love having spent time there.

Take a boat ride
Cruise down to the Sunderbans through the Hooghly. Calcutta was built on either side of the river. You can see old buildings, small towns on the banks through the cruise.

Visit Santiniketan
Bengali people are very proud of their culture, and there is lots of to see in and around Calcutta. If you have come here, it is worth driving down for a coupe of hours, or a taking train, to Shantiniketan, the university town established by Rabindranath Tagore. The best part is they have kept it exactly as it was. They haven't commercialised it at all. You still get that old-world feel. It is known for its celebration of the festival of Holi, or Basant Utsab as we call it. You have got to experience Holi here at least once.

Indulge in some street food
Calcutta is famous for its amazing food: tandoori, continental, Indian, all of it, but its speciality is the street food: Puchka, the Bengali version of Bombay's pani puri and Delhi's gol gappa, is a fried hollow dough ball filled with potato, grams, and spicy tamarind water. You can't miss it when in Calcutta. You have many variations of it. Puchka with dahi (yoghurt), puchka with water and puchka with sweet water. What's common to all is that they have a basic potato filling. Then there are the chaats: the jhalmuri, the hing kachori and sweets. Another street-food favourite is the biryani (rice with meat and spices), which is completely different from its other cousins, the Hyderabadi and Lucknowi biryanis. If you are a food freak you cannot afford to miss the Calcutta biryani. What makes it unique is that it has potatoes as well as meat. It caters to various palettes, so to say, ranging from the extremely rich, oily ones, to the less spicy ones for the health-conscious people.

Deep Dasgupta is a former India wicketkeeper. As told to Sidharth Monga