Synagogue, Jewtown, Cochin, India

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Pardesi Synagogue

Top choice in Kochi (Cochin)

Originally built in 1568, Mattancherry's synagogue was partially destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662, and rebuilt two years later when the Dutch took Kochi. It features an ornate brass bimah, elegant wooden benches, and elaborate hand-painted, willow-pattern floor tiles from Canton, China, added in 1762 during major remodelling under Ezekial Rahabi. It’s magnificently illuminated by Belgian chandeliers and coloured-glass lamps. The graceful clock tower dates from 1760, with inscriptions in Malayalam, Hebrew, Roman and Arabic script.

There's an upstairs balcony for women, who worshipped separately according to Orthodox rites. The majority of Kochi's Pardesi Jews have emigrated, but the synagogue remains excellently preserved. No photography.

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