Books galore, Gulshan Gulshan
While walking in down town Srinagar, I espied a charming looking book store on Residency road by the name of Gulshan Books, and immediately popped inside to browse as the shop window beckoned me with its beautifully bound tomes.
It turned out to be a quaint bookstore built of wood with one stair going up and another into the basement. It was teeming with some gorgeous books on Islam, Sufism, Urdu Poetry, Rumi and Kashmir – all printed locally under their own aegis.
Though I was particularly charmed by their collection on Rumi but couldn’t settle on any one particular to buy. So ended up buying some postcards and a journal while chatting with the sweet ladies who managed the shop.
I fell in love with the hardbound classics as well but these are really expensive on the pocket. I was very happy to note such a lovely bookshop in Srinagar and earmarked it for my next visit too.
Then I found out they have opened another store a year or so back in a popular tourist spot of Nehru Park on the Dal lake and also have a coffee shop there.
This store turned out to be “The” bookstore to visit, not only in Srinagar but in India.
Situated on the famous Dal Lake, this wooden building houses the book store on first floor. I entered and was instantly in love with the huge square room which was so full of books, that it seemed as if the walls were made of them.
Beautiful Kashmiri carpets graced the floor, where cosy seating arrangements were spread around for patrons to lounge with a book and brew to browse at leisure.
Gorgeous Kashmiri touches could be seen in the decor – hand carved fascia of cashier desk, a rustic samovar nestled in another corner, a majestic wooden houseboat replica sat atop a book display island while a Shikara graced another book filled corner. I loved the antique gramophone too.
A huge surprise (and delight for me) was the cafe on the verandah outside which had book-lined walls and huge openings on two sides to let one view the gorgeous view while breathing in the fresh Kashmiri air. One could again sit here and browse the books at leisure.
And with such a gorgeous view – the backdrop of snowbound mountains while shikara ply softly on the calm waters of Dal lake – how can one not enjoy reading a book with a hot cup of deliciously made coffee (strong and bitter- just the way I like it)
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- Gulshan Books has a store on Residency road, Nehru Park and the airport as well
- The Nehru Park one has a cafe which serves the bare minimum like tea/coffee and a couple of snacks.
- The timings for Nehru park bookstore are 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
- Gulshan Books delivers books all over India free of courier charges.
Read about other posts in #KashmirTravelDiaries 2017