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Royal Mansions, Bookstores & Kosha Mangsho: Explore North Kolkata’s Main Artery, Bidhan Sarani

Sayani posted on 13 March

Ten-Second Takeaway

Remember Cornwallis Street? Ah yeah, the one we now know as Bidhan Sarani. With one end stretching from College Street to the other end opening on to Shyambazar crossing, Bidhan Sarani is undoubtedly one of north Kolkata’s longest roads. Take walk around to explore historic buildings, prestigious and some of the oldest educational institution in India, museums, legendary food joints, theatres, markets and lots more.

Heritage Buildings – Old and Restored

It’s common knowledge that north Kolkata is full of old heritage buildings whose history is as rich as its architecture. Bidhan Sarani has its own share of heritage buildings that line its hood. The first one that you’ll come across is, of course, the Laha Bari, the grand mansion boasting of colonnade pillars and stained-glass windows that once belonged to Raja Kristo Dass Laha. Walk a few yards down from the Laha Bari to take a look of the palace of Dwarka Nath Dutta of Thanthania. While both these houses are famous for their Durga Puja, it’s a good idea to visit them on a regular day to take in their grandeur without the hustle bustle of a crowd.

The restored family mansion of Vivekananda will woo you with its simplicity. Standing at the corner of Gaur Mohan Mukherjee Lane, Vivekanada’s house has been restored and transformed into a museum and an institute of learning by the Ramakrishna Mission.

Besides this, don’t miss out on visiting the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj hall {a meeting place of Brahmos, built in 1878} and the Arya Samaj Temple. Another iconic temple worth visiting is, of course, the Thanthania Kali Mandir that draws in hundreds of devotees and visitors every day.

Religious Establishments

17, Bidhan Sarani, Manicktala, Goa Bagan, Shobhabazar, Kolkata

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Eat Till You Are Beat

If you think College Street is the hub of good food {of course, besides the books}, then you need to think again. When in the hood, you can nomnom your way to happiness — from the legendary Golbari’s mutton kosha to Kapila Ashram’s sherbets, Bidhan Sarani boasts of some of Kolkata’s best food haunts. Get your fix of Bangali khabar at Bhojohori Manna and Koshe Kasha or your favourite dose of biryani at Arsalan. For idlis, dosas and upmas head to New Madras Tiffin near Hatibagan. And then, of course, you have Blossom’s roll and Lakshmi Narayan Shaw’s telebhaja and Basanta Cabin’s kabiraji and Amrit’s misti doi and Girish Chandra Dey’s chocolate sandesh—the list is long and has probably left you drooling already!

Casual Dining

79/3/4, Bidhan Sarani, Near Star Theatre, Hatibagan, Kolkata

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Shop Till You Drop

If shopping is on your cards and you’re wondering if Bidhan Sarani has enough to offer, then let us tell you that you’re so in the right place. When the Hatibagan Market is close at hand do you need to worry at all? From clothes to home utilities, accessories and jewellery—everything on your list is available just right here. And if fresh veggies are what you are looking for then hit Mechua Bazar for just the right pick.

 

Street Stores

Machuabazar, Kolkata

    Head To Hedua To Swim

    Summers are already in the coming and cooling off is just something we are all looking forward to. Beat the heat with a dunk and a lap in a pool, and what better place to do it than in Hedua’s swimming pool. With both morning and afternoon shifts operative the whole of summer, waste no more time and enrol before the queue sets in. And if a stroll= is what you are looking for in the balmy evenings then the Hedua Park is just the place to do it.

     

    Parks

    Azad Hind Bhag, Manicktala, Hedua, Kolkata

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    Iconic Movie theatres

    When all else is done, then watch a movie to relax the stress out. Are you wondering which multiplex to choose? How about going back to the basics and choosing one of the iconic cinema halls that used to dominate old Kolkata’s imagination for years? Give it a try at Darpana or Mitra or at the famous Star Theatre built in 1883. This heritage building has also seen the birth of Bengali cinema — it was one of the places that screened the first Bengali motion picture. It brags of one of the best acoustics in Bengali single screens. Read more about it here.

    Movie Theatres

    79/3/4, Bidhan Sarani, Beadon Street, Sovabazar, Goa Bagan, Kolkata

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    Old Bookstores And Prestigious Institutions

    Boi Para’s {aka College Street} streak of prestigious educational institutions has continued its journey across the road, right into Bidhan Sarani. While Presidency, Calcutta University and the Medical College crowd the Boi Para, institutions like Bethune College and school, Vidyasagar College, Khudiram Bose College and Scottish Church School line the stretch of Bidhan Sarani. A stone’s throw away are the old and legendary bookstores such as Das Gupta &  Co — one of the oldest in India, it has witnessed two World Wars {read about them here}, Manisha Granthalaya which stocks a range of out-of-print books from the erstwhile USSR {read about it here}, and the studio-bookstore Boi Chitra {read bout it here} where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Rajendra Prasad have had their pictures taken.

    Book Stores

    54/3, College Street, College Square, Kolkata

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