|Indian Coffee House,. Kolkata www.skyscrapercity.com|
|Indian Coffee House,Kolkata. sks360degrees.wordpress.com|
Entrance to the historical old Kolkata Coffee House is deceptive and not impressive, but the interior place is remarcably catchy and one will be struck by the contrast...........
Can you imagine a coffee house in Kolkata that is 300 years old, surviving various periods of political upheavals in pre and post independence days and still carrying on the old glory and charm? It is a perfect place for the people of Kolkata, where without any interference or inhibition, they can discuss and exchange ideas on a variety of subjects over a fine cup of hot coffee in a casual, relaxing atmosphere. Surely, the hot brew served there will rejuvenate the people who visit this place for fun and causal chat. The entrance to the coffee house may be disappointing and deceptive, but the old building has an inspiring interior and when you come out of the place, the old spell-binding charm will haunt you for some time.
Located in the midst of academic institutions at the junction of Bankim Chatterjee Street and Baithakkhana Road on College Street in North Kolkata (Calcutta), college students and ex-students of the Presidency College, University of Calcutta, teachers, office goers and other people make a beeline to this historical coffee house and continue to patronize it. The term ''Adda,'' meaning light hearted exchange of views, etc., is closely associated with this coffee house which provides a perfect ambiance for a variety of people. It used to be a favorite hang out for young poets, painters, aspiring writers, playwrights and filmmakers.
|Indian Coffee House,Kolkata. www.flickr.com|
The building, where the coffee house is functioning, was the residence of the great Bengali Philosopher and social reformer Shri Keshab Chandra Sen. Later it was named "Albert hall" in honor of Prince Albert Victor of Wales. After independence in 1947, the Central Government changed the name to “Indian Coffee House” where a coffee joint had been functioning since 1942. In 1958 the management, for unknown reason, decided to close down the Coffee House for good. However, the workers' association took a decision to run the coffee on their own and since then the "Indian Coffee House" has been under the management of the "India Coffee Board Worker's Co-operative Society Ltd." This place offers a variety of snacks both vegetarian and non vegetarian and the prices are quite reasonable. The place is still busy and one has to wait for a few minutes before being seated.
The coffee house has the distinction of having been graced by such personalities as Tagore, Nobel laureate, great patriot Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, an ex ICS officer, who formed the Indian National Army (his favorite lieutenant was Muthramalinga Thevar, a rich land lord from south Tamil Nadu), Satyajit Ray, famous film director, Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate et al., and among the film personalities Ms. Aparna Sen, Mr. Manna Dey, Mr. Mrinal Sen, Goutam Ghosh and others.
This old place was renovated in 2009, except the marble table tops other items such as chairs, etc were replaced by modern stuff. Despite the new face lift, the old nostalgic charm has not yet worn out. No doubt in the year 1994, The Supreme Court of India recognized Coffee House as a cultural center of India and declared it a ''Heritage'' building.