Paradesi Synagogue

Detailed Information

The Paradesi Synagogue, also known as the Mattancherry Synagogue, is a historic synagogue located in the Mattancherry neighborhood of Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India. It is one of the oldest active synagogues in the Commonwealth of Nations. Here is some information about the Paradesi Synagogue:

History: The Paradesi Synagogue was built in 1568 and is believed to have been constructed by Spanish-speaking Sephardic Jews who settled in Kochi. The synagogue has a rich history and is closely associated with the Jewish community that thrived in Kochi during that time.

Architecture: The Paradesi Synagogue showcases a unique blend of traditional Jewish and Kerala architectural styles. The structure features a gabled roof, ornate chandeliers, intricately hand-painted tiles from China, Belgian glass chandeliers, and a central pulpit. The interior is adorned with ancient artifacts, Jewish religious items, historical documents, and a collection of copper plates inscribed with the synagogue’s history.

Jewish Heritage Museum: Adjacent to the Paradesi Synagogue is the Jewish Heritage Museum, which provides insights into the history, culture, and traditions of the Jewish community in Kochi. The museum houses a collection of photographs, religious artifacts, historical documents, and exhibits that showcase the Jewish legacy in Kerala.

Visiting the Paradesi Synagogue: Visitors are welcome to explore the Paradesi Synagogue and the Jewish Heritage Museum. It is advisable to dress modestly and remove footwear before entering the synagogue. The synagogue is typically open for visitors during specified hours, except on Fridays, Saturdays, and Jewish holidays when it is reserved for worship.

Jewish Quarter: The Paradesi Synagogue is located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter in Mattancherry. The area surrounding the synagogue is known for its narrow streets, antique shops, spice markets, and historical buildings, offering visitors a glimpse into the multicultural heritage of Kochi.

The Paradesi Synagogue is not just a place of worship but also a significant historical and cultural landmark in Kochi. It attracts tourists, history enthusiasts, and those interested in exploring the Jewish heritage of Kerala.

Paradesi Synagogue Architecture

The Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi showcases a unique blend of traditional Jewish and Kerala architectural styles. Here are some architectural features of the Paradesi Synagogue:

1. Exterior: The synagogue has a simple and unassuming exterior. It features a white facade with arched windows and a sloping gabled roof. The roof is covered with red tiles, a characteristic feature of Kerala architecture.

2. Interior: The interior of the synagogue is adorned with intricate details and beautiful craftsmanship. One of the prominent features is the central pulpit, known as the bimah, which is raised on a platform. The bimah serves as the focal point for prayers and readings from the Torah.

3. Ceiling: The ceiling of the Paradesi Synagogue is adorned with ornate chandeliers that hang from the wooden beams. These chandeliers, along with Belgian glass lamps, provide illumination to the space.

4. Hand-Painted Tiles: One of the highlights of the synagogue is its collection of hand-painted tiles that line the floor. These tiles are believed to have been imported from China in the 18th century. Each tile is hand-painted with intricate designs, featuring floral motifs and biblical scenes.

5. Ark: The Ark, also known as the Holy Ark or Aron Kodesh, is an important feature in the synagogue. It is a decorative wooden cabinet that houses the Torah scrolls. The Ark is located on the eastern wall, facing Jerusalem, and is adorned with carvings and decorative elements.

6. Windows: The windows of the Paradesi Synagogue are large and feature stained glass. These stained glass windows add a vibrant touch of color to the interior, creating a warm and inviting ambiance.

The architectural style of the Paradesi Synagogue reflects the influences of both Jewish and local Kerala traditions. The synagogue’s simplicity, combined with intricate details and local materials, creates a distinctive and harmonious architectural expression. It stands as a testament to the multicultural history of Kochi and the coexistence of diverse communities in the region.

Paradesi Synagogue Timings

The general visiting timings for the Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi are as follows:

Sunday to Thursday: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: Closed for worship

It’s important to note that the synagogue may have specific timings for visitors, and these timings are subject to change. Additionally, the synagogue may be closed on Jewish holidays and other special occasions.

To obtain the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the visiting timings of the Paradesi Synagogue, I recommend checking the official website or contacting the synagogue directly. They will be able to provide you with the current timings, any changes, and any additional information you may need for planning your visit.

Paradesi Synagogue Entry Fee

The Jewish Synagogue entry fee is free of cost.

Contact Information
Mattancherry, Ernakulam, Kerala, India

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