The earliest Jews in India and their history starts from 587 BC, some Jewish exiles came to Cranganore, an ancient port near Cochin, now Kodungallur. The Paradesi Jews settled in the Cochin region in the 16th century and later built the Paradesi Synagogue and White Jew town here.
Text of Ancient Jewish Synagogues in Kerala and History
History Starts from King Solomon's Time The earliest Jews in India were sailors from King Solomon's time. It has been claimed that following the destruction of the First Temple in the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BC, some Jewish exiles came to India. But it was after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE that there are records of numerous Jewish settlers arriving at Cranganore, an ancient port near Cochin. Cranganore, now transliterated as Kodungallur, but also known under other names, is a city of legendary importance to this community. They known as the Malabari Jews, they built synagogues and Jew Town in Kerala beginning in the 12th and 13th centuries.
A Jew Family in Kochi - An Old Image
The Paradesi Jews, also called "White Jews", settled in the Cochin region in the 16th century and later, following the expulsion from Iberia due to forced conversion and religious persecution in Spain and then Portugal. The Paradesi Jews (also called White Jews) built one, the Paradesi Synagogue and White Jew town here.
The sleepy bylane of Burgher Street in Fort Kochi
Pardesi Synagogue lane in Kochi
Old style shops in Pardesi Synagogue lane
Old style buildings in Pardesi Synagogue lane
Street leads to Pardesi Synagogue
A Jew House in the Street
Mrs. Selam her name was, and she was Cochin Jew herself. Many of the Jews went back to Israel and some even chose to move to America. The Jewish population in Fort Kochi now number less than a hundred, and the Cochin Jews could very well be an extinct ethnicity in a few years time.
A Sign Board in Street
At the Entrance of Pardesi Synagogue The Paradesi Jews, also called "White Jews", settled in the Cochin region in the 16th century and later, following the expulsion from Iberia due to forced conversion and religious persecution in Spain and then Portugal. The Paradesi Jews (also called White Jews) built one, the Paradesi Synagogue and White Jew town here.
A native Kerala guy standing near Pardesi Synagogue
Jewish Clock Tower with Pardesi Synagogue
One of the gate outside Pardesi Synagogue with Jewish Symbols
Inside Pardesi Synagogue
Ancient Inscription on the wall of Pardesi Synagogue
Pardesi Jewish Synagogue Interior
Pardesi Jewish Synagogue Interior
Torah scroll in Pardesi Jewish Synagogue
Tombstones displayed at the courtyard of Pardesi Jewish Synagogue
Another Ouside View to Pardesi Synagogue
There is a 'Gate of Faith' in Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, located within the campus of Tel Aviv Univerisity in the northern suburb of Ramat Aviv has magnificent display of 18 miniature synagogue reproductions from across the Jewish world. This one is the miniature of Paradesi Synagogue, Fort Kochi
synagogue in Mattanchery
Handicrafts shops near Pardesi Synagogue
Warning Board about Handicrafts Sales Men
Antiques, Jew Town, Fort Kochi
Tree Park near Pardesi Synagogue
Mattancherry Dutch palace
A Dutch cemetery in Fort kochi
Backwater side view in Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi Beach
Chinese Fishing Net in Fort Kochi, an ancient and traditional way of fishing followed by natives here.
The cool thing here is that you can buy fresh fish from the fishermen, then take it to select restaurants and ask them to prepare it as you wish
Ferry Service to Fort Kochi Island
By the 18th century, there were 8 synagogues in five different Kerala towns and villages: 3 in Cochin, 2 in Ernakulam and one each in Parur and 2 other towns. Next some of the preserved Synagogues in Kerala. >>>
1. 'Chendamangalam Black Jewish Synagogue' in Ernakulam
Recreated Women gallery in 'Chendamangalam Black Jewish Synagogue
The Chendamangalam Synagogue built in 1614 AD was restored and opened for visitors in February, 2006. The Synagogue opened as a museum with an exhibition on the Jewish culture and heritage .
The ark in Chendamangalam Synagogue
Tomb Stones in Chendamangalam Synagogue
Jew Families photos in Chendamangalam
2. Parur Synagogue, 1615
The collonaded walkway in the Parur Synagogue
Women Gallery of The Jewish Synagogue in Paravoor
3. Kadavumbagam synagogue, Mattancherry
Interior of Kadavumbagam synagogue
4. Mala synagogue near Cochin
Mala synagogue, located in the Kerala State of India, near Cochin. On December 20, 1954, 300 members of the Jewish community in Mala moved en masse to Israel. Control of the Synagogue was given over to the local municipality, with the agreement that it would be maintained, and not used as a slaughterhouse, or as a house of prayer. The building has been readapted as a venue for cultural, educational and communal functions. The furnishings and religious artifacts have been lost.
Mala Jewish Cemetery
Mala Jewish Synagogue Interior
5. Kadavumbagam Synagogue, Mattancherry Kadavumbagam Synagogue was constructed in the medieval period in the port town of Cranganore to the north of Kochi.
Kadavumbagam Synagogue Interior, Mattancherry
A Malabari Jewish narrative goes that the Tekkumbagam Synagogue was constructed in 1200 after some of the community, seen as competitors in the lucrative spice industry, were forced out of Cranganore in 1154 by the powerful Moors. 6. Tekkumbagam Synagogue, Ernakulam
Interior of Tekkumbagam Synagogue, Ernakulam
The Kerala Jews lived in safety, but it seems that most opted to emigrate to Israel after the new state was established in 1948. Some 75,000 Indian Jews left their homes, synagogues, schools and cemeteries behind; few families remained to look after...