India | Kerala | Kochi

Paradesi Synagogue

The Jewish Synagogue, constructed in 1568, is named after the 'Paradesi' (meaning 'foreigners') who are the 'White Jews.' These were a mixture of Jewish exiles from Spain and Portugal. Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest synagogue built in the former British Empire. Among the seven synagogues built in the 'Jew Town' in Kochi, only the Paradesi Synagogue is in use at present. 1600 year old copper plates on which the community charter of independence and the privileges granted to the Jewish community are inscribed, are kept in the synagogue. Besides this, there is a rich collection of items such as Torah scrolls crowned with solid gold and set with gems given as gifts by rajahs, and a beautiful carpet gifted by the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. The original building was destroyed by shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662 and was rebuilt two years later.

This Jewish Synagogue in Kochi stands out as a testimony for the communal harmony in the state for centuries. The synagogue has hand-painted, willow patterned floor tiles brought from China and a clock tower at the top of the building. The visiting hours are from 10:00 to 12:00 hrs and 15:00 to 17:00 hrs except on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. There is no entrance fee.

Updated on 7th August, 2023
District: Ernakulam
Location: Kochi    


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