The largest library in India, National Library is located on a scenic 30 acres Belvedere Estate, 4 km from Esplanade
. It is under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India. This library was formed by joining the Calcutta Public Library and Imperial Library in 1903.
The building, which houses the present library, was previously the Vice-Regal House (during the early eighteenth century). It has a high arched gateway, sprawling lawns and ornate halls. There is a molded figure of a lion on the main entrance of the library. Two cannons, once used by the East India Company, can be also seen in the premises.
The library is spread over in three separate buildings with a preservation laboratory. At present, it contains almost two million books and five billion manuscripts. The newspaper and magazines division of the National Library is located at Esplanade.
The northern entrance of the library is on the Belvedere Road, a little south of the famous Alipore Zoo. The library is a mere 10 km from Howrah Railway Station and 20 km from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.
National Library of India is open from 09:00 to 20:00 hrs on all the working days and 9:30 to 18:00 hrs on Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays.