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Palace and Jewish Synagogue (Mattancherry) or the Paradesi Synagogue is an important place of worship for the Jewish community and one of the important monuments in Kerala.

Paradesi Synagogue

Fast Facts

Location Mattancherry, Cochin, Kerala
Nearest Airport/Railway Station The Cochin Airport / Ernakulum Railway Station
Nearby Attractions Mattancherry Palace Temple
Best Time to Visit December to May

The Jewish Synagogue of Mattencherry is one of the oldest working Synagogues in the Commonwealth Nations. The Synagogue is located at a tranquil countryside in Cochin district of Kerala. The Synagogue is also famous by another interesting name - Paradesi Synagogue. The word ‘Pardesi’ stands for foreigner, and is used in a number of Indian languages. There is an interesting story behind this name. The monument was named as Pardesi Synagogue, because it was built and used only by the Jews who were white, who were settlers from Cranganore, the Middle East, and Europe. Most of the Jews were exiles from their native countries. During the earlier days after the construction of the Synagogue, the converted Jews were not allowed inside the premises of the Synagogue. Only Jews who were not converts were allowed inside.

The beautiful Pardesi Synagogue is a wonderfully crafted piece of architecture. It was built in the year 1568 by the Cochin Jewish Community. The synagogue is located in the older fraction of Old Cochin, which now is popularly referred to as the ‘Jew Town’. The structure of the monument is an accumulation of four buildings, which gives the Synagogue its current form. The synagogue is built just adjacent to Mattencherry temple. In fact, the synagogue and the temple share a common wall. The land, on which the synagogue stands, was gifted to the Cochin Jewish Community by the then contemporary king of Cochin Raja Varma.

The Jewish Synagogue at Mattancherry is the reconstruction of the older Synagogue, which was destroyed in sixteenth century during the Portuguese persecution of the Malabari Jews of Kerala. The second synagogue which stands till now was constructed under the guided protection of the Raja of Cochin and the Dutch patronage. The Synagogue completed its four centuries of existence, in the year 1968. The ceremony was attended by Indira Gandhi, who was the Prime Minister of India at that time. The Synagogue has seen a number of small battles for succession, but altogether it has seen a number of peaceful years in the history.

The Jewish Synagogue is built with a mixture of European and the traditional Kerala architectural style. A number of artifacts and relics are preserved in the chambers of the monument. A number of Scrolls of Law, several gold crowns, Belgian glass chandeliers and a brass railed pulpit have been stored in the chambers of the Synagogue. The flooring of the monument is adorned with hundreds of Chinese porcelain tiles, which have been beautifully hand-painted.

The most admirable part of the synagogue is its clock tower inside the premises of the Synagogue. The clock tower, which stopped working, has been repaired under the direction of World Monuments Fund. A medieval tablet from the old Synagogue is placed on the outer walls of the Synagogue. It bears an inscription in Hebrew.

How to Reach

By Road

Reaching the monument by road is easiest if you take the public transit from the nearby town of Ernakulam, a regular bus service to and from Mattancherry. Private transport like taxies or hired vehicles is readily available.

By Air
The nearest airport is The Cochin Airport, from this airport you can take a flight to any major city of India.

By Rail
Ernakulam railway station is the nearest railhead from the Monument and one can easily get a train from here to any other major Indian city.

Alwaye Palace | Bolghatty Palace | Cheraman Juma Masjid | Paradesi Synagogue | Koyikkal Palace | Krishnapuram Palace | Mattancherry Palace | Padmanabhapuram Palace | Poonjar Palace | Sakthan Thampuran Palace

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