Cochin Jewish Synagogue.
The Cochin Jewish Synagogue is also known by the name Paradesi Synagogue or Mattancherry Synagogue. It is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations and one of the best places to visit in Kochi. The synagogue is situated in the Jew Town area of Kochi. In the year, 1567 this synagogue was built. The Cochin Jewish Synagogue is one of the seven synagogues of the Yehundan Mappila or Malabar Yehudan.
The walls of this synagogue are attached to the Mattancherry Palace that was constructed by the Spanish-speaking Jews. Hence, this synagogue is reckoned as Paradesi, which means foreigners. In 1662, this synagogue was destroyed by the Portuguese, and later it was reconstructed after two years by the Dutch.
The first synagogue was constructed in Kodungallur, in the 14th century. But in the 14th century, when the Paradesi Jews moved to Kochi, they made a new synagogue there. In the 16th century, the first synagogue was destroyed by the Portuguese affliction of Jews. The presently existing synagogue is the second one that was constructed adjoining to the Mattancherry Palace. It was created on the land, that was approved to the Jews by Raja of Cochin.
In the Cochin Jewish Synagogue, there are three classes of members. One is White or Paradesi Jews who are the posterities from Portugal, Netherlands, and Spain. The second is Black or Malabari Jews, who are the actual settlers of Kochi. Though they were permitted inside the synagogue, still, they did not get the full membership. The third one is Meshuchrarim; the freed slaves. These freed slaves only had the allowance to sit on the floor inside the synagogue and the outside stairs.
Presently, all the worshippers and devotees are permitted to step inside the synagogue, but there are separate sections for men and women. But all have to enter inside the synagogue barefoot. The Cochin Jewish Synagogue is a mandatory place in Kochi tourism.
The Cochin Jewish Synagogue is getting popularity among the KOCHI TOURIST PLACES, particularly for its architecture. The architecture of the synagogue will make you spellbound. This synagogue is decorated with rare antique pieces, clock tower, brass railed pulpit, amazing chandeliers, Chinese hand-painted tiles and many more things. This wonderfully structured synagogue has four buildings. The best attraction is the floor of the synagogue, for its stunning painted floor tiles. To experience this beautiful architecture, you must add the Cochin Jewish synagogue in your KERALA TOUR PACKAGE.