If you are headed to Shimla for summer vacations, there is a good chance you might pass a quaint little eatery called the Book Cafe right above the famous Ridge. Not unlike cafes across the world, it serves a plethora of delicious snacks and beverages and offers a breathtaking view of the mountains.
You should probably also know that the cafe is run by four convicted criminals currently serving life term at the Kaithu jail near Shimla.
The cafe has been funded and run by the state’s tourism department in a bid to rehabilitate inmates and also give them a chance to be productive in society. The cafe that was constructed for ₹20 lakh, can seat about 40 people. And it serves its customers some delicious cookies and pizzas made by the inmates.
Jai Chand, Yog Raj, Ram Lal and Raj Kumar were trained by professionals in making and serving the food offered in the menu and they couldn’t be happier with having given this chance to show the world they have changed for the better.
Photo source: Twitter
Jai Chand has been quoted by the Business Standard as saying, “This cafe has given us the chance to connect to the world. This is being run by four of us independently. Even the visitors, the locals, don’t show any apprehension while interacting with us. Indeed, they are keen to know more about our radical transformation.”
Inaugurated recently by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the cafe is open every day from 10am to 9pm. Upon closing, the inmates are taken back to their cells.
— IPR, Himachal (@dprhp) April 11, 2017
As the name suggests, the Book Cafe is stocked with books of all genres, including ones from authors like Jules Verne and Nikita Singh and offers free Wi-Fi.
The cafe can be reached at: Takka Bench, Ridge, The Mall, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh: 171001