Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A 300 year old coffee house in Kolkata!!

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.



Ref:
http://www.kolkatatraveller.com/2013/02/coffee-house-nostalgia


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_Street_Coffee_House