Kolkata may boast a dozen major universities but anyone expecting a swinging student bar scene here will be disappointed. Students here take their studies seriously and time away from the books is invariably spent earning some much needed part time cash, and budget beer busts are not the norm.
However, there are plenty of elegant cocktail bars in the large five-star hotels and fine establishments like the Calcutta Cricket Club serve oceans of gin and tonic in their peaceful clubhouses. Strolling along the evening streets and markets with a cold beer is encouraged, and Kolkata is home to innumerable bars and discos of all kinds.
Visitors to Kolkata can catch some Indian movie magic, as there are numerous film festivals here and even a giant IMAX screen at one of Kolkata's huge multiplexes. The busy and ever-changing Kokata nightlife scene is best appraised by the handy guide at the WebIndia123 website.
The dapper waiters of Kolkata's fabulous tea and coffee houses serve up delicate blends and cucumber sandwiches seven days a week. The Esplanade is the one-stop place to find the core of Kolkata's colonial past with the Calcutta Race Course is a hearty slice of colonial decadence, if ever there was one.
Kolkata's movie industry is considered to be more erudite and artistic than the hyper-commerciality of Bollywood, which is based in Mumbai. The heart of the movie scene is Tollygunge, but anyone can try a local film at Nandan, which hosts the annual film festival each November and is a symbol of art and culture in Kolkata.
Maidan is the central park of Kolkata and it runs for three kilometers along the very center of the city. Horse and buggy rides are available and the park is very popular of a daytime with yoga enthusiasts and also politicians, who use the space for enormous rallies. Eden Gardens are more peaceful.
Grand theaters like the Minerva and the Star double as movie theaters and their palatial and intricate interiors are an eye-popping part of the performance. The Indian People's Theatre Association is based out of Kolkata and offers some excellent cutting-edge drama and musical shows.
The largest annual Hindu festival in Kolkata is the Durga Puja but it is one of hundreds that fill the streets with color and excitement. Crowds fill to hundreds of thousands in what seems like hours during Kolkata festivals, which last for days in some cases and offer the visitor a once in a lifetime experience.
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