Paradesi Synagogue was built in 1568 and is rated as the oldest active synagogue in all the 53 member-countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. Renowned as Cochin Jewish Synagogue or the Mattancherry Synagogue, this synagogue was constructed by people of Cochin Jewish community (Malabari Yehuden). In Hindi, Paradesi refers to the people from foreign land and this synagogue was named Paradesi as it was once used by the White Jews. These White Jews were the mixture of Jews from Cranganore, from the Middle East and the European exiles. Located in Jew Town of the Kochi city, Paradesi Synagogue is the only active one of the seven synagogues in the area. The land, on which the synagogue stands, was gifted to the Malabari Yehuden community by Raja Varma. This synagogue had three classes of members, namely White Jews, Black Jews and Meshuchrarim. White Jews were full members as they belonged to the high-class, while Black Jews were only allowed to worship and were not admitted to full membership. Meshuchrarim was the lowest class of members, as they were a group of freed slaves. These people had no communal rights and sat on the floor or on the steps outside the synagogue. Objects of antiquity of this synagogue were the Scrolls of the Law, several gold crowns received as gifts and Belgian glass chandeliers. The synagogue also houses a brass-railed pulpit and copper plates given to Joseph Rabban, who was the earliest known Cochin Jew. The Chinese hand-painted porcelain tiles in the floor of the synagogue are also the major highlights.
Synagogue Lane, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002, India
4 Nights / 5 Days