shopping in Kolkata: part I

I think this blog is evidence enough that I love to shop. Then again, so do a decent majority of other 21 year old girls. So it isn't that big of a surprise that one of my favorite parts of India were the street markets.

While we did do some shopping in Mumbai and Goa, Kolkata was my personal favorite. Probably because a) I'm pretty fluent in Bengali so the communication barrier wasn't too bad b) my parents are familiar with the markets so they were the perfect navigators (most of the time) c) I'm just partial to Kolkata in general since I have roots there.

The street markets were something I cherished as there's nothing I've been to in the US that's comparable. You can find practically everything there. From saris, electronics, fresh produce, school supplies, you name it-- you can probably find it. The fruit sold are soo fresh and unbelievably sweet. They had the best mangoes I've ever had. It's a struggle to eat mangoes in the US now because they're not even half as tasty!

Gariahat: I don't understand how this place only has 3 reviews on trip advisor cause this market is huge! My parents did the majority of our grocery shopping here, as it was very close to our flat, buying tons of fresh fruits and fish daily. Let me just say, the stereotype that Bengalis loooove fish (or maach) is very much true. But if you're brave enough to wander into the fish market, hats off to you for tolerating such an abhorrent scent. Aside from food you can find everything else I mentioned up above-- clothes, electronics, etc.

College street: As a self proclaimed lover of books, it was necessary that I visit the largest second-hand book market in the world. If you think the Strand in New York is impressive, you ain't seen nothing yet. The way the smaller stands are able to cram a large amount of books into such a small space is a wonder in itself. I have fond memories of visiting here when I was younger, picking out as many Tintin comic books as my mom would allow.

If you don't plan on leaving empty handed, I would recommend knowing what book you want beforehand. It isn't really a place to leisurely browse. If you're looking for something akin to a trip to your local Barnes and Noble, you should visit the iconic Oxford Bookstore on Park Street, which has been around since 1919.

As you can see, I have so many pictures just from two of the markets. And this is after cutting some out. So I decided to keep the rest for a second post. Until then!


  1. Mili, your Kolkata posts are making me so sad that I'm stuck in East Coast suburbia. I've wanted to visit ever since we did the city's unit in our Social Studies class when I went to school in India.
    Your photos bring me back to my childhood visits to the markets in Hyderabad -- there is this one area of the city that is just markets upon markets and we would go there for literally EVERYTHING.
    Sigh, now I miss it so much.
    Lovely photos as per usual!

  2. This seems like my type of place! I absolutely love open-air markets and exploring different cultures.
    You captured it all beautifully and it seems like you had a lot of fun. XOXO

  3. I absolutely LOVE markets and taking photos of the different stands. Yours are gorgeous and I'm sure the whole area was bustling!

    xo Jackie

    Something About That

  4. You always take such amazing pictures! They're always so colorful and full of life! The flowers in the second picture are beautiful and I would love to walk into that book store!

  5. The markets of India truly are a magical place. I hope you get to visit Kolkata one day :)

  6. I know what you mean, the markets near where I live are pretty lame compared to some of the European ones I've visited in the past. I've been longing for a vacation but mostly longing to rummage through a bustling market place looking for awesome vintage stuff. I'm in awe over all those book and the vendors themselves. How do they keep track of their stock!?


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  8. Love the photos dear! so inspiring to look at

    New style post now posted sweetie!

  9. What a great pictures dear!


  10. wow such stunning photos! the market looks so lively and fun :D

  11. oh my gosh, all those books :O pretty incredible! and definitely the most books I've seen at once. oh and all the fresh goodies look delicious! you totally made me want some mango now :P

    Part of me

  12. Ahh the markets are so cool. And the bookstores totally remind me of the rental ones I used to frequent in Malaysia 20 years ago (I'm old hahaha). You used to get to rent them out and there was always a nice indian guy who manned the front desk. Ah the sights and colours and smells of Asia.. I miss!


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