International Kolkata Book Fair or Kolkata Boi Mela
International Kolkata Book Fair or Kolkata Boi Mela is the festival of Books and Booklovers. The fair begins on the last Wednesday of the month of January and it continues for 12 days. It is the world’s largest non-trade book fair, Asia’s largest book fair and the most attended book fair in the world. The Book Fair has something for every generation of people books, comics, magazines, paintings, posters, DVDs, foods.
Like every other occasion, Bengalis always like to enjoy every occasion with food. So International Kolkata Book Fair hosts a large number of food stalls for the visitors. There are lots of varieties available like Chinese, Mughlai, Sweets, and tea stalls etc. It’s, after all, takes a lot of time to cover the fair and one can get hungry after all.
Like Durga Pujas, it takes a lot of time to prepare the Marquee for the Book Stalls. More popular the books shop or publisher are more beautiful is their Book Fair stalls.
Location of Kolkata Book Fair
Earlier the venue for the book fair was Maidan but since 2009 the location of the Book Fair had been changed to Milan Mela. But the 42nd Bookfair was held at Central Park, Salt Lake due to some renovation work going on Milan Mela.
To reach Central Park in Karunamayee, you can get down at Bidhan Nagar railway station and take share auto rickshaw or buses from Bidhan nagar station.
If you are coming by metro, from sova bazar you can get buses or take auto rickshaw to reach to reach Ultadanga and from Ultadanga take another auto rickshaw to Book fair in Karunamoyee.
There are other options available also, From Girish Park metro take auto rickshaw to Phoolbagan or Kankurgachi. From Kankurgachi and Phoolbagan you will get auto rickshaw to reach Book fair in karunamoyee.
If you are coming from Sealdah you can get direct buses, or take auto rickshaw to reach Building more, from building more(crossing) you can get auto to reach to the book fair.
State government has also increased the bus services to Karunamoyee, their are many buses available for the book fair.
You can get direct buses from bookfair to Howrah, Sealdah, Jadavpur, Thakurpukur, Tollygunge, Behala, Joka, Garia, Kamalgazi, Barasat,Barrackpore, Bally and many other places.
A Visit to 42nd International Kolkata Book Fair
Despite the change in location I was still interested but was confused since I last visited Central Park Mela ground in 2017 in a Bidhan Nagar fair it was quite small. The fair is one of the biggest events in the year for Bengalis. More than 600 stalls were present in the book fair this year.The focal theme of International Kolkata Book Fair 2018 was France. The timing of the fair was 12 pm to 8 pm.
To make it easier for visitors many temporary Govt. Buses were made available from all major parts of the city. The ground was renovated and the roads near the ground were widened and the entry of vehicles was stopped during the Fair hours. To make the entry easy for the visitors the Fair had 9 entry and exit gates which were well guarded.
As usual, the first thing I did is to grab the Book Fair Map, this time I got it very easily from may I help you. I started to move randomly on the ground. I can see a long queue outside some of the popular book publisher’s stalls which happens every year, so entering those stalls would have been time-consuming.
Then I moved to one of the extreme ends to get to the theme country France’s Stall Bonjour India. Bonjour India was a Digital Journey Experience in France. The stall had three section each one demonstrating the strength of our present partnerships, unveiling what France and India have in common, and shows the way to creative involvement in the future.
After exiting from France’s Stall I decided to take some fuel for my body. By fuel I meant food. I went to the food park but was disappointed not to see many options. Instead of reaching to next food park I decided to have my lunch there. The great thing was there were lots of bins available.
After refuelling myself, I kept walking and visiting the stalls. There were three halls which were named Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi Hall, Rabisankar Bal, Chandi Lahiri which had the popular bookstalls of the city.
Kolkata International Book fair is not just a place for books but also many painters had come to sell their wonderful paintings. Many artists were doing a live portrait painting of the visitors.
After covering the entire ground I was pretty sure that I had lost few pounds. It was getting darker and the crowd started pouring in and it was finally my time to head back home. I walked to Karunamoyee Bus stop on one of the exits and was happy to find my bus near the exit gate. Well, you just can get satisfied by visiting the exhibition once. So I returned back next day which was a Sunday only to find more crowds.