Acquisition of rare publications, some over 200 years old, is a special function of the library; the collection number over 1,000 volumes. Kala Nidhi has acquired some important titles published in 18th & 19th centuries, most of which have been digitised.
Some of these books are illustrated with sketches, drawings, lithographs, etchings, wood cut etc. throwing clues on the art, architecture, and culture of the bygone era. A fascinating aspect is the collection of travel literature dating back to 18th and 19th century offering first-hand accounts of European’s understanding of the regions of India in terms of their commercial, colonial, and recreational interests.
The contributors of the publications were chiefly the members of British army and navy, surveyors, engineers, medical staff, travelers etc. The rich intellectual content of some of these books reveals to the readers the condition of the society when the country was passing through a transition phase as a result of cross cultural currents. Some books from 18th to 20th centuries with fascinating illustrations include-
- Travels of Sir John Charlin (1688)
- Ceremonies and Religious Customs of Various Nations of the Known World (1733-77) by Bernard Picard
- Considerations of Indian Affairs (1772) by William Botts
- The History of Hindostan (1795) by Thomas Maurice
- A journey from Bengal to England from Northern Part of India, Kashmire, Afganistan (1797) by George Foreste
- History De l’Empire de Mysore (1801) by J. Michand
- The Costumes of Hindostani (1804) by Balt Solvyns, The History of Jawa (1817) by T.S. Raffles
- Historical Fragments of the Moghul Empire of the Mora-Hoes and of the English Concerns in Hindustan from the year (1825) by Robert Orme
- The History of British India (1826) by James Mills
- The Oriental Annual or Scenes in India (6 Volumes from1834-1839) by Hobart Caunter, Benaras (1905) by E.B.Havell
- Portfolio of Illustrations of Sind Tiles (1906) by Henry Cousens
- Archaeological Reconnaissance in North-Western India & South-Eastern India (1937) by Aurel Stein
- Elura Cave Temples (1972) by Dr.James