Kolkata has been the cultural capital of our nation since the colonial era. It was the centre of attraction because of the immense benefits it provided to the East India Company with respect to trade, spices, ports, weather and culture. Till date it is known for its colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals.
Kolkata has given the country and the world some of the best artists from various fields. Be it Rabindranath Tagore, Lata Mangeshkar, or Manna Dey, the talent from this region has been a testimony to the cultural superiority of the place over other developed cities the world over. A number of tourists come to visit the city to explore its old-world charm and experience the colonial themes. Accommodation is never a problem as there are numerous hotels spread across the city. The best 5-star hotels in Kolkata such as The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata, are centrally situated near the Victoria Memorial.
If you plan to visit the city and are interested in literature, you are in for a treat. The city is not just home to some of India’s most celebrated writers and poets but also has the best independent bookstores. They have interesting histories and amazing collections. Don’t miss out on the following stores on your next visit!
- Dasgupta & Co
Situated amidst the used books market of Kolkata, Dasgupta & Co has been a readers delight since the 19th century. The store has many first edition prints and rare books that are hard to find anywhere else. It has an immense collection of Bengali literature and some regional languages from across the country.
- Chakraborty and Chatterjee
Another gem of a bookstore located on College Street, this store is every book lover’s paradise. Impressive collection of both fiction and non-fiction adorns the racks here. The store has transformed from a single storey showroom to a two storied establishment. It has also survived a fire that started at Albert College Hall and spread to the store. Despite all this, the store has managed to retain its sales and increase its consumer base.
- National Bookstore
Situated right across Presidency University, the store has never faced a dearth of customers. It is the first choice for school as well as college students who come looking for books on College Street. Since its inception in 1990’s the store has managed to create quite a reputation for itself with an enviable collection. Having been housed in a grand historic building adds to the charm of the store.
- Seagull Books
This place is known for the wide variety of books ranging from arts, theatre and cinema to philosophy and sociology. Established in 1982, this is also a publishing house that engages in translations to English from various languages. The ambience of the store turns it into a magical place with warmly lit spots and cosy corners that make for a comfortable reading space. The selling point of this place are the book reading sessions, musical performances and other artistic events that are hosted by the store.
- Earthcare Books
As the name suggests, the place focuses on books about environmental issues and sustainable developments. The vibe of the store is set by the vintage photos that adorn the walls and racks of the place. A store dedicated to social issues, you can find books on social injustice, organic farming, forest conservation and movements regarding the same. It also hosts workshops and readings for creating awareness and a platform for such discussions.
The city is not only a treasure trove for book lovers but also a foodie’s paradise. Famous for its sweets, street food, and non-vegetarian dishes especially fish, Kolkata caters to all your taste buds. There are a number of multi-cuisine restaurants in Kolkata where you can taste authentic Bengali dishes.
A complete package for any tourist, Kolkata is a must-visit city for those interested in exploring and discovering India and its cultures.