Israel has a very rich history and culture, making it among the most popular holiday locations globally. Also recognized as the “Holy Land,” it’s where Christianity–the world’s biggest religion, representing a 3rd of the world’s population–was born and established. This is why many complete Jewish heritage tours include journeys to numerous synagogues in Israel, typically in Safed and Wadi Qelt. Where do jewish worship? Well, the answer is simple; the synagogue.
Apparently, the population of Jews in Kerala has decreased rapidly after the foundation of the Jewish State of Israel, the Jewish inhabitants moved out of India to settle there. Currently, the Jewish citizens form a minority section in the state of Kerala with a count of 17.
Earlier, it is believed that only 7 Synagogues entered Cochin, the Jew Town, although now known as the Jewish Synagogue or “Pardesi” is the only surviving Synagogue functioning till date. It depicts a recollection of the colonial times and is of immense historical value to Cochin’s history. This synagogue was built in the 5th or 6th century and it is one of the most former ones around the world.
It’s interesting to see that located in the center of Kerala, where a thriving Jewish community still resides. The Synagogue was raised by these Jewish inhabitants. Thus, this place is worshiped them and it was otherwise called as Pardesi Synagogue by the locals, which means a synagogue belonging to foreigners or outsiders. Pardesi means Foreigner in Hindi language. The synagogue still shelters the Old Testament and the ancient copper plates that are registered as the grants of opportunity left by the rulers of Kochi.
Unfortunately, the synagogue was partly ruined in the 1662 AD wars, however was afterward reconstructed by the Dutch. The clock tower from the 18th century is standing tall within the premises and the exquisite hand printed blue Chinese tiles offer a notable sight. This famous synagogue also houses several finely wrought silver and gold crowns presented by the respective patrons of the nation. This place is a unique blend of religion and architecture and hence, many people are interested in visiting this pilgrimage.
The Jewish Synagogue stays open from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 3 pm to 5pm daily and stays closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. This place has become a significant place of worship for Jews across the world. The visitors or devotees are expected to come in the Jewish Synagogue shoeless. There is a strict dress code being followed full shirts and diligently – trousers for men and women have to wear skirts that are long covering the knee. Video cameras are not allowed.
How to reach
It is located in a small town by the name Mattancherry and hence, is also known as Mattancherry Synagogue. This town is at a distance of around 10 km from Emakulam. There are regular bus and boat services from here to reach Mattancherry. There are regular train services that connect Ernakulam with different parts of the state.
The nearest airport is the Cochin airport. There are various tour operators in South India, which provide packages and give information regarding places to stay. Tourists can arrange e-tickets from home by visiting the sites of tour organizers. If you are not able to register online, then you can contact any good car rental company in Bangalore to get complete package for this destination.