Of all the centers of learning located in the College Street vicinity, the Presidency College is the most respected. Established in 1817, it’s one of the oldest and most prestigious academic institutions in India and the place where filmmaker Satyajit Ray attended university. Directly across the street is the nationally famous Indian Coffee House, where students and Bengali intellectuals cram each night for heated debates over a cup of coffee.
Unfortunately, the tiny stalls with piles of old tomes are giving way to modern book malls filled with new or nearly new publications, making it more difficult to hunt down rare volumes. Now is the time to visit this quickly changing neighborhood while it still retains some of its old charm.