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The Best Libraries of India – Part 1

Written By: Siji Ram

When it comes to the best libraries of the world, India too has her share of some stunning libraries to flaunt, along with the massive libraries in Austria, USA or Denmark. It is every bookworm's dream to visit a huge library and be lost in the world of words.

On this Guru Purnima which is a celebration of knowledge and wisdom, we introduce you to some of the best libraries of India where the air you inhale and the sights you see and all books!

The National Library of India - Kolkata

The National Library of India in Kolkata
Photo Courtesy: Avrajyoti Mitra 

1. The National Library of India - Kolkata

This is the largest library in India in terms of volume. With a collection of over 2.2 million books, the National Library was initially named the Imperial Library which was formed in 1891, which was later renamed in 1953, after Indian independence.

Address: Belvedere Rd, Alipore, Kolkata, West Bengal
Opening Hours:
9am-8pm on all working days
9.30am-6pm on Saturdays, Sundays and all Indian government holidays

The visitors are not allowed into the main reading room. To enter it, you have to have a reader's pass, which is issued by the library. The library has around 45km of shelf space and has an impressive collection of many rare books and other documents.

Raza library

The Raza library in Rampur
Photo Courtesy: Ariannarama 

The Raza Library - Rampur

The Raza Library located in Rampur of Uttar Pradesh is one of the best libraries in India. It is a treasure house of Indo-Islamic studies and also has a collection of rare manuscripts, miniature paintings, specimens of Islamic calligraphy, historical documents and other illustrated works in Persian and Arabic languages, apart from its collection of books.

Address: Hamid Manzil Qila, Rampur, Uttar Pradesh
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm on all days except Fridays

The library also contains works in Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Pashto, Tamil and Turkish.

David Sassoon library

The David Sassoon Library in Mumbai
Photo Courtesy: Joe Ravi 

David Sassoon Library - Mumbai

Located in Kalaghoda in Mumbai, David Sassoon Library is one of the best libraries in India. Built in 1870 by Albert Sassoon, the library is dedicated to his father David Sassoon who was a famous philanthropist. The library has a vast collection of some of the very old books, because of which you will find a lot of senior citizens happily reading inside the library.

Address: 152, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Off David Sassoon Library Marg, Opposite Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Opening Hours: 8am-9m on al days

Photography is not allowed in this library. The library offers facilities like additional lights for individual reading, electric points for mobile/laptop charging, Wi-Fi access at an extra cost, a garden with chairs for the readers, etc.

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