Rich in history and culture, our country has a lot to offer for those who seek. And what better to hold the myths, legends, and facts of times old than books!
As a book lover, the smell of old books and the excitement of getting your hands on a rare book is beyond any joy.
With a change in reading habits and the availability of free downloads, not everyone gravitates toward the paper prints but there’s still some stores that have stood the test of time.
Here are 8 of India’s Old and Unique Bookstores.
Gulshan Books, Srinagar
Surrounded by mountains on the beautiful Nehru park island is a cosy little book shop cafe that offers more than just an amazing view of the Dal lake. It houses more than 80,000 books and has been mentioned in the Limca Book of Records.
A shikara ride is the only way to reach India’s only bookstore on an island. Over five generations of the family have been running the business since pre-independence.
One can find rare books on Sufism, and Shaivism, including books written pre-independence at Gulshan Books.
Maria Brothers, Shimla
Take a walk down Shimla’s Mall Road and you will come across a quaint little store painted blue with the sign ‘Maria Brothers’ outside. It is said that the bookstore, set up in 1946, has one of the 27 copies of the American Declaration of Independence printed in June 1776.
A peek inside and you can see books stacked from floor to ceiling, giving the place an ancient aura.
Shimla houses many bookstores, however, Maria Brothers is the place to go when you are hunting for that one particular rare book.
Cambridge Book Depot, Mussoorie
The hills have inspired many great literary works with authors finding their inspiration and home in these hills.
Opened in 1952, Cambridge Book Depot houses everything one needs to make their stay in the hills magical. It is said that Bond can be found reading there on most Saturdays.
Rachna Books, Gangtok
Founded in 1979 by Rajiv Shankar Shresta, an IAS officer, Rachna Books is an independent bookstore that has become a cultural landmark. Third-generation owner Raman is committed to introducing customers to classics and lesser-known novelists instead of bestselling authors.
The bookshop also has a cafe and a bed and breakfast for anyone wanting to stay among literature.
Ram Gopal Sharma & Sons, Delhi
The first lending library in Delhi is a book lover’s paradise.
Established in 1952, Ram Gopal Sharma & Sons is the best place to go for second-hand books. The shop boasts of having the largest collection of the Mills and Boons romance series.
They started an online portal for renting out books aptly named ‘bookmeabook.com’.
Bahrisons Booksellers, Delhi
Located in Khan Market this bookstore has become a landmark in the capital city.
Almost as old as the market, the store has made a name for itself as one of the most reputed book establishments and expanded into publishing as well.
The collection at Bahrisons is one of the best in Delhi, who deliver pan-India as well.
Faqir Chand and Sons, New Delhi
Another gem in Khan Market is Faqir Chand and Sons. Run by the fourth generation whose ancestors came to the country post-independence, the store houses thousands of books and is possibly the prettiest little shop out there.
Which bookstore do you plan on visiting?
Stay tuned for our second list of bookshops because there can never be enough books!