Last weekend we headed up to the College Street area of North Kolkata, to find some Bengali cookbooks and soak up the atmosphere. This academic area includes the Medical College (opened 1837), Calcutta University (1857), Sanskrit College (1824), Presidency College (1837) and Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (1897). Calcutta University was the first modern university in India.
I found two good books at Das Gupta's, open since 1886. The bookstores and stalls are not designed for browsing, you basically tell the salesperson what you are looking for and they will find it. The most popular book subjects in the stalls (at least the ones in English) seemed to be medicine, information technology and English literature.
We then stopped in at the Indian Coffee House on College Street for coffee and onion pakora. This coffee house is famously known for being the meeting place for academics and artists, including Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose.
The menu. In case it is blurry, each coffee was 8 rupees (17 cents) and the pakora was 10 (22 cents).
Some other sights around College Street:
Large empty water tank that looks like it used to serve as a pool with a diving platform.
A snack stall
Hauling empty mustard oil cans