Synagogues in India for a Glance into Jewish Culture


Synagogues in India

There are many Jewish synagogues in India; however, most of them are currently not functional due to the thinning Jewish population in the country. Initially, a lot of Jews inhabited the country and so most of these synagogues in India date back from the 16th to the 20th century. Later most Jews migrated to Israel which is now called the Aliyah. Ever since the number of Jews has been constantly decreasing but a sizable Jewish community still remains. Most of these synagogues in India are based in Mumbai, Kolkata and in the far south in Cochin. Some are also present in Pune and a single one in Gujarat in Ahmedabad. The one located in Pune called the Ohel David Synagogue is the largest synagogue in India and is also the largest in Asia excluding Israel.

Here is the list of 17 Synagogues in India for a Glance into Jewish Culture

1. Ohel David Synagogue, Pune

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This synagogue in India was built by David Sassoon. Its a marvellous piece of architectural work and includes a prayer hall for ladies. Many foreigners visit this place for its religious & architectural marvel.

2. Gate of Mercy Synagogue, Mumbai

Also known as Shaar Harahamim and Juni Masjid, Gate of Mercy Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in Mumbai and one of the oldest synagogues in India. It was originally built in 1796 but then again it was renovated and rebuilt and moved to its new location in Mandvi in 1860. The structure can accommodate up to 300 members.

3. Magen Abraham Synagogue, Ahmedabad

Magen Abraham Synagogue is one of the very few remaining synagogues in India and the only one in the entire Gujarat state. Consecrated in 1934, the synagogue is constructed in the Art deco style all in complete marble.

4. Magen David Synagogue, Mumbai

Megan David Synagogue is situated in Byculla in South Mumbai and was consecrated in 1864. The building has been constructed in Victorian style architecture. The synagogue is one of the largest in Asia barring Israel.

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5. Shaar Rason Synagogue, Mumbai

Situated in Pydhonie, Mandvi in Mumbai, Shaar Rason Synagogue is a relatively small synagogue which was consecrated in 1843. The exteriors are elegant and the interiors are adorned with various kinds of ceiling fans, glass lanterns and lighting fixtures.

6. Jewish Synagogue, Kochi - One of the most important synagogues in India

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Amongst the 7 synagogues located in Kochi, this Jewish synagogue is the only one which is in operation today. It was built in 1568 and is also called the Cochin Jewish Synagogue or Mattencherry Synagogue. Cameras and handbags are not allowed inside.

7. Knesset Eliyahoo, Mumbai

Knesset Eliyahoo, also known as Knesset Eliyahu is the second oldest orthodox Jewish synagogue in Mumbai. Established in 1884, the building is located in Colaba and the exterior facade is painted turquoise.

8. Magen David Synagogue, Kolkata

Megan David Synagogue is situated in China Bazaar, Kolkata and was constructed in 1884. The building is build in red brick in the Italian Renaissance style. It is among the most notable buildings of Calcutta owing to its striking architecture and design.

9. Bet el Synagogue, Panvel

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In the midst of a mix of rapid urbanization and village economics, in the centrally located Tapalnaka on Mahatma Gandhi Road nestles a small bit of Israel. The Beth El Synagogue is home to about 20 Bene-Israeli families in Navi Mumbai and the nearby Raigad district combined. It has been around since 1849, and is the only Jewish temple to have been so. Prayer services are held thrice a day, the first being the Arbith (Evening prayer) held after sunset.

10. Beth El Synagogue, Kolkata

Beth El Synagogue is situated at Barabazar Market in Kolkata, very close to the Maghen David Synagogue. Established in 1856, the building has marble steps leading to the arched hallway. The walls are adorned with stained glass windows. The hall also has balconies reserved for women.

11. Neveh Shalome Synagogue, Kolkata

Neveh Shalome Synagogue is situated in China Bazar in Kolkata and was established in 1831 by Shalom Obadiah ha - Kohen. The synagogue was demolished and reconstructed multiple times by the government and the Indian Jewish community. It was finally restored in 2014. Now it has simple but elegant interiors, and conducts regular prayers.

12. Magen Hassidim Synagogue, Mumbai

Magen Hassidim Synagogue is situated on Morland Road in Agnipada, Mumbai. The synagogue in India was consecrated in 1931 and is one of the biggest of its kind in Mumbai. The two-storey classical-inspired stone columns and casement windows.

13. Shaar Harahamim Synagogue, Mumbai

Shaar Harahamim Synagogue is another one of the remaining synagogues in Mumbai, situated in Masjid Bandar. This synagogue in India was consecrated in 1796 and was demolished and reconstructed once in 1860. The new building has two floors and is made of chunam, or plaster of polished lime and sand.

14. Tiphereth Israel Synagogue, Mumbai

Tiphereth Israel Synagogue is situated in Kasturba Quarters, Jacob Circle in Mumbai. It was originally established as a prayer hall in 1886. However, the increasing Jewish population in the vicinity called for a bigger building. Therefore, it was consecrated as a synagogue in 1923. It is currently one of the busiest and most active synagogues in Mumbai.

15. Shaar Hashamaim, Mumbai

Situated in Thane West in Mumbai, Shaar Hashamaim is also known as Gate of Heaven Synagogue. It was consecrated in 1879 and was further restored and renovated in 1999. After the beautification, this two-storeyed synagogue in India looks more wonderful than ever.

16. Succath Shelomo Synagogue, Pune

Situated very close to the David Synagogue, Succath Shelomo Synagogue is located in Rasta Peth in Pune and is still operational with a small active congregation. It was consecrated in 1921 and has a porte cochere leading to a painted brick and stone arched entrance pavilion.

17. Judah Hyam Synagogue, Delhi

Situated on the Humayun Road in Delhi, Judah Hyam is one of the very few Jewish synagogues remaining in the city. It was consecrated in 1956 and continues to consist of few but active member. This is one of the synagogues in India which also has an in-house library.

These are some of the biggest and most popular synagogues in India given above. Let us know in the comments below if we missed any!

This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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