Lebu Jol - After a long and tiring day, the best thing is Lebu Jol. The sellers do not just use any kind of lime but the gondhoraj lebu, which call it romanticism or love, is more than a piece of lemon. It is the perfect mix of sweetness and saltiness. You will get many roadside stalls selling this drink.
Shopping was next on our agenda. We battled the morning traffic to get to Gariahat market that is famous for its saree shops. That is when we inadvertently walked into Gupta's to experience one of the best mishti dois in town. We savored more of the freshly prepared sweets including the 'notun gurer sandesh' and bought a box of the delicatessens to take home with us. All the sweetness was followed up by some extravagant shopping at Indian Silk House and a hearty meal consisting of Mutton chaap, Biriyani and the best ever Shahi Tukda from Royal Indian Hotel which has a legacy of serving customers for more than a hundred years. Swarming in and out of the first metro railway in India, we plunged headlong into the intellectual hub of Kolkata - College Street. It is the largest second hand book market in the world with countless book stalls packed together on either side of the road. One can find almost any title here, all at throw away prices - from academic textbooks and paperback editions to rare gems which aren't stocked elsewhere. Many renowned educational institutions are located here including the Presidency College, the University of Calcutta and the Hindu School. I picked up a book to mark the memory of my visit to this book lovers' paradise - The Weekenders - Adventures in Calcutta, a collection of fiction and non-fiction travelogues about Calcutta by eminent writers from around the world. Back in Bangalore, I relived my personal adventure in this esoteric land as I flipped the pages of this gripping book.
3. Bookworms Flock To College Street -
Be a BookwormThere is an old adage, "If you do not find a book in College Street, then that book was probably never published". This is not any ordinary book store with smell of print on paper wafting from every corner of the store, nor has it any similarity to any second hand book shop. A whole block of city street, chockablock with ramshackle stalls dealing in books. Bookworms; Welcome to College Street!College Street is home to iconic educational Institutions, The Presidency University (formerly Presidency College), The Calcutta Medical College and The Hindu School to name a few. Nicknamed "Boi Para" meaning Colony of Books, the book kisosks jostle for space on the pavements. Thronging with students, scholars, academicians, intellectuals, sellers and book lovers haggling and bargaining for prices it is every book lover's paradise. One may search for any book in any stall, and if they do not have it, they will surely get it from somewhere else; Don't Worry. Its not all second hand books though. There are numerous stores selling new books, and every possible piece of stationary imaginable.An article in the journal Smithsonian described College Street as ...a half-mile of bookshops and bookstalls spilling over onto the pavement, carrying first editions, pamphlets, paperbacks in every Indian language, with more than a fair smattering of books in and out of print from France, Germany, Russia and England. It is the largest second-hand book market in the world and largest book market in India. One can buy rare books at throw-away prices.Things to Do: Buy Books, that's what one is supposed to do here. Refresh at the iconic Indian Coffee House or have a glass of juice at Paramount or taste the famous "Kachoris" at Putiram.Tip: Do not feel ashamed to bargain. And bargain hard!