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Jewish Synagogue in Kerala

Constructed back in 1568, the Jewish Synagogue has the eminence of being the most ancient in the common wealth countries. The port city of Kochi is rich in historical attractions. The Jewish synagogue is one of them and one of the most frequented too. One unique feature of this old building is its 200-year-old tiles (no two of which are alike). Standing for so many years, the synagogue is proof to the fact that India exemplifies communal harmony. While you take a sightseeing tour around the Jew Town (the area around Mattancherry occupied by the Jews), you get an opportunity to experience more of the Jewish culture and interact with the people of Jewish community residing in Kochi for years. The Jew Town also features a string of colonial buildings, designed on the lines of Dutch, Portuguese and British styles of architecture.

Visit Timings
The Jewish Synagogue at Kochi in Kerala remains open for visiting between 1000 hours and 12 hours in the morning and between 1500 hours and 1700 hours in the evening.

Historical Background
In India, the Jewish Synagogue happens to be the oldest. Originally erected by the Jewish community, the synagogue was given a reconstruction after its structure was partly damaged in the war of 1662. The clock tower was added to the structure later. To make the building appear more elegant, its floor was decorated with hand-painted tiles; these blue willow tiles were specially imported from China. It is interesting to note that each one of these willow tiles is dissimilar to another. The synagogue also received great patronage from the maharajas of Kochi.

Ancient Relics
Preserved inside the synagogue are the great scrolls and the Old Testament, the major attractions at the place. Since the rajas of Cochin supported the Jewish Synagogue immensely, they also presented gifts. These include copper plates that record what rulers of Kochi granted to the Jewish community. Wrought gold and silver crowns, presented by various well wishers during that time, are also a must-see at the synagogue.

Reaching the Synagogue
The city of Kochi is one of the most well connected in Kerala. So, whether you wish to fly to Kochi or undertake a train journey, you can access the city easily. The Cochin International Airport offers frequent flights connecting to all the major cities in India and outside. Railway network and road links are also quite well established. Kochi lies at 218 km from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala’s capital city. The backwater town of Kozhikode is at 223 km from Kochi.

Useful Tip : During your holidays in Kochi, you can also visit the Dutch Palace, the Bolghatty Palace and the St Francis Church. In addition, you can view the very exclusive Chinese Fishing Nets. Do not miss a scenic houseboat cruise along the backwaters of Kerala