If you are a book lover like I am, it is unlikely that you haven’t heard of Higginbothams. If you are a bibliophile and haven’t heard of this name, crawl back under that rock, you!
Long before familiar sounding bookstores like Landmark made their presence felt, Higginbothams was already a 100 years old. Yes, this iconic store on Mount Road was founded in 1844, making it 175 years old this year!
The bookstore in Chennai is the oldest standalone bookstore in India. Added bonus, it is housed in a building that is classified as a heritage structure, which means it stays as it does.
Higginbothams was founded by an English Librarian, Abel Joshua Higginbotham. When the British arrived in India the store was appointed as official booksellers to the Prince of Wales.
The store may be 175 years old, but it keeps up with the times. You’ll find a large collection of the latest books here, even the ones you may not find in any other bookstore. If you’re looking for Children’s Book this is the place to head to, as you are sure to be spoilt for choice. A large collection of Tamil Books and Magazines were an impressive find.
Don’t miss the beautiful checkerboard floor and the 100+ year old Grandfather Clock in perfect condition.
If you ever visit any one in Chennai the ice breaker for a conversation is most likely to be the Heat. The locals rarely realise just how much they tend to talk about the heat!
‘It’s sooo hot this year!’ is something you’ll hear often. ‘Even A/C not helping ma!’, is another refrain. The conversation will proceed to how hot it used to be in the past and hot how it will probably get in the future.
If I remember my Geography lessons from school well, Chennai has always been a hot and humid place. Even if I don’t remember them well, the past few years have made me realise that the only seasons in Chennai are Hot, Hotter and Hottest.
I am usually a mute listener to these conversations as at such times I have just one question in my mind, ‘When has Chennai ever been a cool place?’ (no pun intended, hand on my heart!)
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