BethEl Synagogue

Kolkata (Calcutta)

Literally meaning 'House of God', this atmospheric synagogue's front facade looks a little like a 1930s cinema. Within the building (dating back to 1856), there's an impressive colonnaded interior and some fascinating stained glass. Service in this synagogue is no longer held, but the chequered marble floors and sundry precious paraphernalia are all impeccably maintained. Bring your passport as proof of identity, and sign on a register at the entrance. Photography is allowed inside.

If you're coming in a group and wish to pre-arrange admission, you'll need to contact the Jewish Community Affairs Office.

Opposite the synagogue is the decrepit Pollock St Post Office, once a grand Jewish school building. Walk a block north and Pollock St narrows into a very colourful market alley full of balloon, tinsel and plastic-plant vendors.

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