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College Street (Boi Para)

Also known as boi Para, this is a long stretch from the Ganesh Chandra Avenue to the Mahatma Gandhi Road and is known for the many colleges out here. Apart from colleges there are other building for the city's intellectual group to spend time in. The Coffee House has served as the hangout for budding poets and politicians discussing on serious agendas over hot cups of coffee and kobiraji cutlet for years now. Above all what makes this place even more famous are the presence of many small and big book stalls and thus the name, 'boi para'. If you want to buy old or new books there can be nothing better than a couple of hours in College Street.
Next on my list is the College street, the second largest book market in the world. Yes, Bengali's have a good appetite when it comes to literature and arts and this place holds everything to take the knowledge from- Books.If you are an avid reader, try this place and you can find any book from any genre you want. Closest metro station is Girish Park.And when it come to books, coffee gets along and for that, go no other place then to Indian Coffee House.This iconic place is dated back to 1876 popularly known as Albert Hall and it used be the 'adda' of famous personalities/writers like Satyajit Ray, Amartya sen and Ritwik Ghatak.Trams, the heritage of Calcutta and infact of entire of India has a route just infornt of Indian Coffee house and a small ride is highly recommended.If its the first time you will see a running tram with that sound of ringing bell, I bet the kid inside of you will not hold back and you leave everything just to take a ride.Try to go on Sunday as you will get minimum rush and some good frames to capture.To savor your sweet tooth, there is a very famous sweet shop - Girish Chandra Dey and Nakur Chandra, near to College Street. Don't get carried away with the humble look of the shop but the sweets offered here will want you to keep visiting this place again and again.These are the few places that can be visited in a span of 2-3 days depending upon your urge to explore the city.For me, I just couldn't hold back and visited all these places on my own noticing every detail, capturing every moment and it sure was, a time travel to an era, that holds the beauty of this city.There are few additional tips/ must do things worth mentioning which are my personal favorites to get that 'Calcutta' feel.* Try visiting Kumartuli also known as Potter's lane before Durga Puja (15-20 days prior to Navratris). You will be amazed to see how beautifully the artisans turn mud into sculptures.*Tune in to the radio at around 04:30 am one day before the start of Navratri also known as 'Mahalaya' to listen to the holy hymns. What's more amusing is that it is played at at every shop, every house/temples and in infact, in the entire city. You will get that feel of festivities about to come- "Durga Pooja", the most exciting time for every Bengali.* Try and visit the city during Durga Pooja, the city looks altogether different and it is decorated like a newly wed bride.You will see the entire city out on roads, hopping the beautiful pooja pandals and indulged in festivities. The city never halts during those 9 days.I am sure those 9-10 days of Pooja will give you memories, worth remembering through the entire lifetime.This was my take, from someone who was once an outsider to this city, but not anymore :) This place gave me memories, I just can't forget and will always remain close to my heart. No matter where I go, I would never give a second thought to meet my old friend, my City of Joy again.Thanks for the read and keep exploring.Cheers.
Megha Paul
2.30 pm: College StreetIf you want to snuggle your way through rows of homes, printing presses and even more bookstores, head to what is called Kolkata’s Boi Para or College Street. Before digging my way through these books, I walked down from College Street to the mythic café- Coffee House to pay homage to the great Adda culture. This place is a symbol of ‘Calcutta’ heritage amidst change. However, the cheap, dishwater coffee is not the attraction. This unpretentious high-ceilinged place was once a meeting hub of freedom fighters, bohemians and revolutionaries. So come here for the nostalgia of the intellectualism of the bygone past, the bohemian rhapsodies of the 80’s, the zeal of the Naxals and moreover, to just fuel up your tank before you hit the mighty book market.I then hit the road, which is dotted with endless numbers of book shops. The maze of bylanes offer mainstream textbooks, guide books, pulp bestsellers and what not. You will come across enthusiastic shopkeepers who will show you what you want. In case you are having trouble finding a particular book at a specific shop, the shopkeeper will also find and get it for you from another shop. So this saves you from pounding the pavement to search for your book.
Larissa D'sa
Ayushee Chaudhary
Baidehi Ghosh
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.