Find a copy of The Bhagavad Gita for Rs 35,000

The costliest the cheapest the rare Guess whats on offer in Bengalurus book shopsPixabay
news Books Thursday, May 05, 2016 - 18:22

By Sahana Maddali

At 1:00 pm, 32° Celsius, Bengaluru’s heat feels more like 40°C, but Church Street’s cozy book shops are haven from the sun. And they’re a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, especially if the shop is air conditioned. 

Several of the book shops on Church Street sell both second-hand and new books and the owners and staff of each know their books. Some of staff can even give you good recommendations on which authors are better for a particular subject that you’re interested, and which authors you can get second-hand and which ones you will have to buy new editions.

And when we say, they know their books, they can tell you off the top of their heads which ones are the most expensive, the cheapest and the most rare.

Here’s what they have:

(And read to the bottom for an urban legend about banned books)

The Bhagavad Gita,

Nightingale Paper Products

Rs 35,000

Gangarams is one of the air-conditioned shops, sitting on floors 3A and 3B of #3, Church Street above Blue Frog. Prakash Gangaram will always greet you with a smile and ask if he can help you in any way.

You can look up and down for the book for days (that’s how long it’ll take to go through their inventory), priced at a whopping INR 35,000, but you'll never find it. This edition of The Bhagavad Gita, the awe-inspiring brain-child of Nightingale Paper Products, is bound in red with gold embossing. With acid-free paper and eco-friendly inks, the edition is guaranteed to last 250 years.

It’s only made to order. Much like a Rolls-Royce.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare

In Blossoms Bookhouse you can play the guessing game, for there are towers and towers of books from many ages. Mayi Gowda likes to keep his single-most expensive book right behind the front desk: The Complete Works of Shakespeare. And it is a truly beautiful book, reading which, is likely to be unmatched by the digital experience.

The two copies of the book (one was sold) may be some of the most tattered volumes at Blossoms, providing serious competition to second-hand ones. Published in 1865, compiled by J.O. Halliwell, this book is complete with intricate lithographs preceding each of Shakespeare's works.

Bangalore Through the Centuries

Rs 5000

Now this is a rare book. Bookworm is so lined with books, that they almost spill over onto the parking lot. Its owner Krishna pulls out a an edition of a copy of Bangalore Through the Centuries by M. Fazull Hasan. It is old, with beige-coloured and wood-smelling paper, a delight that only a bookworm can understand. The only authoritative record, he says, of Bangalore's history is in this book.


Rs 10,000

Goobe's Book Republic takes reading very seriously. You just might walk right past the shop – its located in the basement of a building. But to make sure it grabs eyeballs, the owner often has witty signs posted outside “You just walked past a book-store... What's wrong with you?”

The shop sold its most expensive book-set a week ago: Sandman comics. But now, costliest book here is a picture book with matte-finished pages, Taj Mahal by Raghu Rai.

All the shops have one common book that is the easiest on the pocket: back issues of Tinkle.

Urban Legend: One of Bengaluru’s book shops (not any of those listed here) have access to a copy of a book banned in India. It’s apparently available for Rs 10,000, but if you know the right people, they can get it for you at discount of Rs 3,000.          

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