National Library, Kolkata: an oasis of serenity




Kolkata (nee Calcutta) used to be called the “City of Gardens”, but the green space in the city has dwindled considerably over the years. In this scenario, the National Library grounds, tucked away on Belvedere Road, are a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The National Library is situated on the 30 acre-sized Belvedere Estate. It used to be the residence of the Lt Governor of Bengal in the British era, and is now the premier Library of the country, with a huge collection of books, journals and manuscripts.

The first National Library was started in Kolkata after the amalgamation of the Imperial Library and the Calcutta Public Library, and opening of the same at Metcalfe Hall in 1903. The library in the present day premises was opened in 1953.

To have access to the National Library main reading room (Bhasha Bhavan), one has to have an approved Reader’s pass to the reading hall.

The library grounds have expansive gardens, lined by trees.The gardens are particularly beautiful in spring, when flowers are in full bloom, and provide a good venue for strolling, unwinding and recharging oneself, truly an oasis of serenity amongst the madness of the city.

Library facts and figures:

  • Collection: Over 2,270,000 books, Over 86,000 maps, Over 3,200 manuscripts
  • Over 45 kilometers of shelf space
  • Reading rooms can accommodate over 550 people

Opening time:

9 am–8 pm on all working days and 9.30 am–6.00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Government of India holidays.

Location and address, contact details:

Plot No.1A, Belvedere Road, Alipore, Kolkata, West Bengal 700027
033 2479 2968




3 thoughts on “National Library, Kolkata: an oasis of serenity

  1. Unfortunately, central Calcutta’s gardens are extremely unkept. Other than the ones privately maintained. However, you must right about Lake gardens if we are to talk about an oasis of serenity and greenery.

    Liked by 1 person

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