Kolkata, West Bengal: College Street, also known as “Boi Para” (Book Mart), is a 900-metre long street, located at the central Kolkata in West Bengal stretching from B.B. Ganguly Street crossing (Bowbazar) to MG Road crossing (Barna Parichay Market) via Dr. Lalit Banerjee Sarani crossing and Colootola Street/Surya Sen Street crossing. It is the world’s largest second hand book market and India’s largest book market.
The place derives its name from the presence of so many colleges including presidency University, The sanskrit college and University, City college of commerce and Business administration. The College Street is most famous for its small and big book stores, which gives it the nickname Boi Para (Colony of Books). People from the whole city and different parts of the state gathers here for their books. Many bigwigs of the Bengali publication industry are situated here.
The history of the place goes back to the time when David Hare established the Hindu College in 1817. The road where the college was located was once known to be ‘The Great Arterial Road‘ which was later called ‘College Street‘ for the presence of the Hindu College. Babu Buddinath Mukherjee along with the support of the Chief Justice, Sir Edward Hyde East, and some European and Hindu gentlemen helped Hare to establish the college. With unanimous approbation finally Hare successfully established the Hindu College with twenty scholars.
It was under the Governance of Lord Wellesley, that the approval of the building came in. He even took the charge of planning and construction of the roads around the area. the Street has always been one of the famous landmarks for Kolkata.
However, its prestige was further enhanced when it made it to the Time magazine’s ‘Best of Asia’s‘ list. The place is not just a book mart for the people of the city. The street even houses many centres of intellectual activities, including the India Coffee House (a famous cafe of Kolkata). It has been the rendezvous place of many illustrious and notable personalities like Rabindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose, Satyajit Ray, Manna Dey, Amartya Sen, Mrinal Sen, Shashi Kapoor and Aparna Sen etc.