College Street or the Boi Para

College Street is the narrow stretch of road between Bowbazar and Mahatma Gandhi Road, which leads to Hatibagan and Shyambazar further north. A tram line run in the middle of the road and the sidewalks on both sides are crowded with makeshift bookstalls constructed with wood, bamboo, sheets of corrugated tin and canvas.

Meeting Places and Old Neighbourhoods
  • Coffee House
  • College Street
  • Kumartuli

    Heritage Tour
  • Academic Buildings
  • Administrative and Judicial Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Museums and Monuments
  • Parks
  • Religious Buildings
  • Residential Houses
  • Sports Arena and Clubs
  • This neighbourhood, often referred to as the Boi Para (boi: book, para: neighbourhood), and sometimes also College Para, is the location of Kolkata's most renowned academic institutions like Presidency College, Kolkata University, Kolkata Medical College, the Sanskrit College, Hare and Hindu School.

    Not surprisingly, the book stall owners find ready clientele in this neighbourhood. Students in search of reference and text books, avid readers of every genre, book-lovers in hopes of finding a hidden treasure are more often than not rewarded with a rare find at a throwaway price. Kolkatans are well-known for their interest in books of all kinds and many visit this area once in every week, even daily if only to spend a couple of hours browsing through piles of second hand books displayed at the stalls and perhaps strike a good bargain. Some stall owners are very knowledgeable about books and can even tell you immediately whether a particular book can be found at all.

    Renowned writers, intellectuals, artists and other celebrities have often spent a lot of time hanging out in this area and in the famous Albert Hall(Coffee House) which is located just opposite the Presidency College. There are also some old bookshops on the northern end of the road in the same block as the Coffee House. Indeed it is hard to imagine College Street without the book stalls. A city wide drive to evict hawkers operating on the pavements at various places in city a couple of years ago was carried out successfully. But the Boi Para was, as a matter of policy, left untouched. No doubt these booksellers enjoy the patronage of Kolkatans at every level of the society.

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