By Sharukh Vazifdar August 2010 How many bookshops are there in india that cater exclusively to the seeker? Small but enticing, the Chetana Bookshop at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai From leather-bound classics to new eco-friendly ebooks, the written word has changed many avatars, but it still remains the preferred way to hand down our human heritage and timeless wisdom from generation to generation. As I moved into spirituality, I found myself drawn more and more to books that spoke to my soul; to stories that don’t just entertain us, but help us find new depths and greater heights to our self; to self-help guides that form the steps to a new and happier self and where just a change in perspective opens up doors to a world greater than we could have even imagined. I set out to discover bookshops that exclusively cater to this need and here is what I came up with.MUMBAIChetana Book CentreWith the vision to promote and propagate India’s rich spiritual and cultural heritage, Chetana Book Centre is Mumbai’s best known repository of books on philosophy, religion, arts, culture, as well as on health, well-being and alternative medicine. Ranging from Vedic texts, to astronomy and astrology, to Kabir, Mirabai, Annie Besant, J Krishnamurty, they have a wide variety of books, both modern and old. They are best known for being the only shop stocking the classic Nisargadatta Maharaj book, I Am That.Kala Ghoda, MumbaiPustak BharatiPopularly known as Bhavan’s book store, this bookshop has a pleasant blend of old and new. With a variety of books on Vedanta, Hindu mythology and books by various gurus and saints, they also stock New Age authors such as Paulo Coelho, Robin Sharma, and Eckhart Tolle.Chowpatty, Mumbai Motilal BanarasidasProbably the leading bookstore on Indology, they have a wide collection on various aspects of Indian culture, mythology, beliefs, religion. Here you could find books that aren’t available in any other bookstore. Located in a bylane in Mumbai, this bookshop is home to a large collection of books, including some on Tibetan culture and beliefs and even Chinese herbology.New Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Patna, Bangalore, Chennai Surrounded by books at the Motilal Banarasidas bookshop in Mumbai DELHIPiccadilly Book ShopA small stacking area full of bookshelves touching the roof it is among the few bookshops that specialise in subjects like Tibetan art, tantra, yoga, occult, Buddhism, Vedanta, Hindu philosophy, magic, tarot, astrology, music, dance, Indology, etc. Initially,the bookshop stored general books, but the visit of Baba Ram Das (from USA) changed the whole outlook to that of spirituality. Their visitors’ book sounds like a ‘who’s who’ of spiritual and intellectual leaders from not only India but across the world. The names include former prime minister Indira Gandhi, Maa Nirmala Devi, Chidananda Swami, Pilot Baba, and many more renowned personalities. Proprietor Narender Choudhary believes that with the blessings of these mystics and the type of books in stock, this is not merely a bookshop, but a ‘book temple’.Shankar Market, New DelhiIndian Books CentreThe Indian Books Centre, an exporter and publisher of Indian books, publishes books under the imprint, Sri Satguru Publications. They publish books on various aspects of Indology such as religion and philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, yoga, alternative medicines, Jainism, ayurveda, herbal and Tibetan medicines, Unani, arts, archaeology, history, languages and sociology.Shakti Nagar, New DelhiFull CircleIf you love glossy coffee table books and enjoy browsing through rare books on art or philosophy, this is the ideal place. The Full Circle Book Shop is a charming bookshop specialising in coffee-table books as well as on inspirational topics such as philosophy, religion, new age, and culture. Books written by Bejan Daruwala, David Frawley, Dada Vaswani, Kahlil Gibran, Osho, Thich Nhat Hanh as well as many other Indian authors can be found here and browsed through at length.Khan Market, New Delhi Chinmaya Mission BookshopThe Mission has published about 600 books in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. Their topics include Gita and Upanishads, Vedanta, meditation, bhakti, self-discovery, culture and children’s books. They also have a good range of audio tapes, bhajans and chants.Lodhi Road, New Delhi; Powai, MumbaiCHENNAIGiri Trading AgencyWith shops in a wide range of cities, their large range of books has something on almost every topic. From acupressure to astrology, from ayurveda to feng shui, from meditation to chakras to yoga, from philosophy to prayers and mantras, from self-development to temples to scriptures, they have a corner of the religious and spiritual market.Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Madhurai, Coimbatore, Secunderabad, KanchipuramPersonal Book ShopFounded in 1953 by V Sadanandan, a freedom fighter and close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, it initially stocked technical and scientific books. Later, they switched their focus and now stock only spiritual books. Among their authors are Ramana Maharishi, Sri Aurobindho, Swami Nithyananda, Sadhu Vaswani, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Saint Eknath. Their publishing unit, Samata Books, has published many books of which The Complete Works of Adi Shankaracharya is one.Mount Road, ChennaiSri Ramakrishna MathBooks are available on a wide range of spiritual subjects, which include life and teachings of the holy trio, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, yoga, philosophy, meditation, Hinduism, saints and scriptures, Vedanta, stories for children.Mylapore, ChennaiHYDERABADSree Sai Laxmi Book DepotThey sell books on new age and alternative beliefs, spirituality, reference, dream interpretation, magic studies, meditation, mental and spiritual healing, witchcraft and wicca. They also stock books on social sciences such as anthropology, archaeology, folklore, mythology, oceanic studies, regional studies and women’s studies etc.Vanasthalipuram, HyderabadKOLKATA Mahesh Library Here’s a bookstore that specialises in books on subjects such as spirituality and astrology. If you are interested in learning about fascinating myths and fables, then Mahesh Library has a surfeit of books on mythology as well as astrology. They also have books on divinity and religion for your spiritual queries. While the majority of books stocked here are in Bengali, you will find some books in Hindi and English.College Street, KolkataBanaras Mercantile Known to pundits, astrologers, tantrics, research scholars, this bookshop is more for practitioners of astrology and the likes than to the casual seeker. Publishing in three languages, Sanskrit, Hindi and English, they have books such as the Hanuman Chalisa, Bhajan Sangraha, Arati Sangraha, Sandhya Vidhi and many others too. They also have pooja CDs and pooja articles.MG Road, Kolkata Inputs from Ranjini Banerjee and Rima Anand
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