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Sport is enthusiastically followed in Kolkata, with football matches – especially those between the two leading clubs, Mohan Bagan and East Bengal – and cricket test matches drawing huge crowds. There are two major stadium complexes, Ranji at Eden Gardens and Salt Lake on the eastern edge of the city.

The Maidan, home to the Calcutta Bowling Club and the Ladies Golf Club, is a favourite venue for impromptu cricket and football matches, and the scene of regular race meetings in winter and spring run by the Calcutta Turf Club. Also in winter, army teams play polo on the grounds at the centre of the racecourse. The curious sport of kabadi, a fierce form of tag played by two teams on a pitch the size of a badminton court, can also be seen around the Maidan.

The Hindusthan International Hotel, 235-1 AJC Bose Rd (t033/2247 2394), allows non-residents to use their swimming pool on a daily basis (Rs500). Across the road from the superbly equipped Tollygunge Club, where (with the right connections) you might get to use the pool and tennis courts, the elite Royal Calcutta Golf Club is the world’s second-oldest golf club, after St Andrews in Scotland.

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