With three days in Kochi, you'll have plenty of time to visit colonial Fort Cochin, take a houseboat trip through Kerala's picturesque backwaters, and still have time left over to either explore the tea plantations of Munnar or the archaeological ruins of Pattanam.
Paradesi Synagogue and Jew Town
Open Sun - Thu, 10am - noon & 3 - 5pm
Jew Town Road, Fort Cochin
The original synagogue built in 1568 was destroyed by the Portuguese, and the current building with its distinctive clock tower was erected under the rule of the Dutch. Notable features include the synagogue’s floor of blue-and-white tiles, colored glass lamps, and glittering Belgian-glass chandeliers. Many tours to Kochi stop at the synagogue and Jew Town is frequently visited in conjunction with other attractions in neighboring Mattachery and Fort Cochin.
Things to know before you go
- The Paradesi Synagogue & Jew Town are a must-visit for devout Jewish travelers or anyone interested in local architecture, culture, or history.
- Make sure to come modestly dressed (no shorts or sleeveless tops allowed) out of respect for local customs.
- Note that there is a separate upstairs balcony for female worshipers.
How to get there
The Paradesi Synagogue and the surrounding Jew Town are located in the Mattancherry neighborhood of Kochi, about a half-hour walk east of Fort Cochin. To get here from Ernakulam, you can catch a ferry to the Mattancherry boat jetty, a two-minute walk from the synagogue. Taxis and autorickshaws take around half an hour to make the trip from Ernakulam Railway Station to Jew Town, without traffic.
When to get there
Jew Town is a popular spot to visit no matter what time of year you happen to be in town, but Cochin and Kerala in general is at its most pleasant in December through February, when the weather tends to be cooler and dryer. The synagogue itself is open from Sunday through Thursday, with a break for lunch in the middle of the day.
Cochin’s Jewish Community
Cochin’s Jewish population is believed to be the oldest in India, but many immigrated to Israel in the years after India’s independence and only a small population remains today. Apart from the synagogue and faded street signs, reminders of the district’s once-thriving Jewish community are few. There were once seven synagogues in this quarter of Old Cochin, but Paradesi Synagogue (also called Pardesi) is the sole survivor.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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