Kolkata, erstwhile Calcutta, is one metropolis that that has captivated people since its inception in the late 17th century. It has a history of epic proportions and an old world charm that few cities can boast of. It would require a whole treatise to discuss this city in details and hence we will restrict ourselves only to the shopping destinations that this metropolis has to offer.
But one prior warning to the readers: if you are expecting description of the latest malls and shopping complexes that Kolkata has to offer, then do turn for guidance elsewhere. Since here, we will give you a glimpse of some of the iconic street shopping destinations in the city, some of which have an equally intriguing story to tell like the great city itself. These are the quaint places that people headed to for shopping before the onslaught of the shopping malls which have turned out to be more a bane than a boon of present times.
1. Lindsay Street
While Chowringhee Road may be stealing all the footage what with all the movies, songs and books written on it; we have mentioned Lindsay Street here for the sole reason that it is on this street that the oldest market of Kolkata is situated. Formerly known as Hogg’s Market, New Market is the most well-known shopping destination of Kolkata. In spite of being burnt down once, it was rebuilt and now features more than 2000 stalls. If you are a sucker for bargaining, then New Market is the place for you to be. Although you can literally find everything under the sun here, the market is especially famous for the flowers, crockery, saris and confectioneries. It is especially during the festive seasons, whether Christmas or Durga Puja, that Lindsay Street can be seen in all its glory with people buzzing like ants all around you.
2. College Street
Since we wanted to make sure that this list had something for everyone, we made sure to include the iconic College Street which is a haven for sworn bibliophiles like me. While it is an education hub with the Presidency University, University of Calcutta and the Medical College and Hospital of Kolkata situated here; it also boasts of the famous Indian Coffee House which has been a meeting point for the intellectuals of the city for ages. But it’s the lines of book stalls selling anything from the stale exam materials to antique coffee table books that make College Street a book aficionado’s paradise. Where else can you expect to find the complete works of Shakespeare for a couple of hundred bucks or even less, albeit second hand?
3. Chandni Chowk Street
While its more distinguished cousin in Delhi may always have been in the spotlight, Kolkata’s Chandni Chowk has had its own fame or notoriety, as you may please. While on one hand, there is hardly any electrical or electronics component invented by man that you won’t find in one of the innumerable number of stalls that line this street; the street is also avoided by the gentlemen, the erstwhile Babumoshais, due to the hawkers that stalk you intermittently to sell pirated DVDs of movies and porn. Nevertheless, if you ever find yourself in Kolkata and are in need of some cheap electronic gadget, don’t think twice before heading straight to Chandni Chowk Street. For the self-proclaimed brand conscious aristocrats, you can head to the E-Mall nearby instead.
4. Gariahat Road
Gariahat is a shopper’s paradise which is located in South Kolkata. It is a long stretch of road lined with stalls and street-side hawkers selling anything from bags and cutlery to doormats and clothes. The two famous landmarks in this road are the Ballygunge AC Market and the Dakshinapan Shopping Center. If you are a lover of artefacts or want to grab some decent non-branded clothes, you must head once to the open air complex, Dakshinapan Shopping Center. Apart from the government emporiums, it also boasts of the famous Dolly tea-stall which is every tea lover’s delight. Besides, if you want a taste of true Bangaliana, you can also head to the Gariahat fish market nearby.
5. Camac Street
For all the high end buyers who must have been knotting their eyebrows at the mention of fish and economy clothing till now, here is something to cheer you up. Camac Street is a much more recent phenomenon compared to the shopping destinations that came before in this list, but has quickly grown into a commercial and shopping hub; thanks to its proximity to Park Street, Middleton Street and Shakespeare Sarani. While there are quite a lot of small to medium sized stores including an outlet of the retail chain Pantaloons, Camac Street is especially famous for the Fort Knox mall and Vardaan Market. While Fort Knox is a jewellery hub, Vardaan Market includes stalls selling anything from ethnic wear to jewellery to cosmetics in its three floors.
1. New Market at Lindsay Street: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/37/New_Market,_Kolkata,_2011.jpg