Take a peep into Yiddish culture, walk through the streets of Jew Town! Located in Jew Town in
Mattancheri, which is part of the Old Kochi, the Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest one in
Commonwealth Nations. The Synagogue which was built more than four hundred years back has
many rare antiques on display. It adds to Mattancherry's quaint charm and woos a large number of
visitors every year.
Nearly 1,500 years after the Jews came to Kerala, the Synagogue was built in 1568 by the community
in Cochin on the land donated by the erstwhile Raja (King) of Kochi. The Synagogue shares a
common wall with the temple of the Mattancherry Palace.
The Portuguese destroyed the Synagogue in 1662 and the Dutch reconstructed the same two years
later. The objects of antiquity in the Paradesi Synagogue include the Scrolls of the Law, Belgian glass
chandeliers, a brass-railed pulpit, and several gold crowns that were received as gifts. It also houses
the copper plates of privileges belonging to the 10th century that was given to the earliest known
Jew of Kochi Joseph Rabban.
Hand-painted Chinese porcelain tiles adorn the floor of the Paradesi Synagogue. Each tile is unique.
A tablet that is installed on the Paradesi synagogue’s outer wall has an inscription in Hebrew. It
states that the Synagogue was built in 5105 as per the Hebrew Calendar. This is a perfect place to
visit during the Kerala family tour.
The best time to visit the Synagogue is end November to end January.