The Jewish Synagogue in the Jew Town of Kochi is a popular attraction in Kerala. More than a hundred years old, the synagogue houses many rare antiques. The place of worship of Jews is remarkable for its fascinating history, architecture, and charm that attracts visitors. It is built on the place gifted by the erstwhile King of Cochin. It lies adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace. A visit Jewish Synagogue in Kochi will mesmerize you.
Timing of Jewish Synagogue
The synagogue is open every day except Fridays, Saturdays, and Jewish holidays.
Timings: 10 am to 12 noon, 3 pm to 5 pm.
History of Jewish Synagogue
The Jewish Synagogue is one of the oldest of its kind. Built-in 1568, almost 1500 years back, it is the origin of the Jewish connection with Kerala. The land for the holy place of worship was given by the then King of Cochin to the Jew community. The name 'Paradesi synagogue' also has a fascinating history behind it. The word Paradesi means foreigner in many Indian languages. So it refers to the white Jews, the early settlers in Kochi, a mixture of Jews from Kodungalloor, the Middle East, and Europe.
Architecture and Ambience of Jewish Synagogue
The Jewish Synagogue is an exciting landmark. The spectacular display of artifacts and rare treasures leaves visitors in awe of the place. Enter the building, and the marvelous construction of the synagogue arrests your attention. The large main hall is designed with splendid pillars. The display of rare antique objects adds to the grandeur.
The large open windows are an intriguing design. The light through the windows adds to the beautiful sight of chandeliers and lamps. The spectacular glass chandeliers dangling from the ceiling belonged to the 19th century and were imported from Belgium.
The floors are itself an attraction. These ceramic tiles were brought from Canton, China. In the 18th century Ezekiel Rahabi, a renowned Jewish businessman, contributed these magnificent pieces to the house of worship. The floors are paved with hand-painted blue willow patterned tiles. Each tile is different from one another in its design. Yet, it never fails to capture the admiration of the visitors.
Elements of Jewish Synagogue
A pulpit with brass rails is built in the center of the room. An exclusive gallery for women with gilt columns, a carved teak ark, etc., can also share space in the synagogue. The teak Ark treasures four scrolls of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) encased in silver and gold. Also, two gold crowns presented to the Jewish Community by the Kings of Kochi and Travancore are kept here.
Another prized possession of the synagogue is the copper plates belonging to the 4th century with inscriptions in Malayalam. The inscriptions describe the privileges granted to the community by the then-ruling Cochin king. It is written in kannadiyezhuthu script, also known as mirror image writing. An oriental rug gifted by the last Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie, is also kept here.
Ceremonies of Jewish Synagogue
Due to the diminishing population of Jews in Kochi, it is challenging to complete the holy ceremonies. A minyan (the number of men required to sustain a synagogue) is often not possible. The synagogue service is conducted only when a minimum of ten male members are present.
It is one of the prime tourist attractions in Kochi that you can add to your Kochi trip. If you want any additional information, you can contact our tour experts, and you can also book your tour with us. We at Indian Holiday provide customizable tour packages to make your journey smooth and comfortable.