Cochin Jewish Synagogue Old Print 1927
This old print of the Cochin Jewish Synagogue dates to around 1927. It measures 23 x 27 inches. Mattancherry, a part of Fort Cochin or Kochi had a rich and varied history. Originally colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch, then finally by the British. The Cochin Jews one of the most unique communities in India once had a population of thousands, now barely two or three of them are left.
From 1947 onwards they migrated to their promised land Isreal. Because of the violence and destruction of their Second Temple in Jerusalem in AD70, many Jews escaped to the Malabar coast. Settling in Cranganur or Kodungallur in 12th century. Malabar was not unfamiliar with the Jews. Since there was maritime trade between Malabar and Jerusalem from the time of King Solomon, 1000 BC.
The Jews fled Kodungallur after they were first ransacked by the Moors and later by the Portuguese. The community headed towards Kochi ultimately to settle down there through the kindness of the Rajah. And attained considerable prosperity. This is indicated in the copper plate charter granted to them by Rajah Bhaskara Ravi Varma.
The copper plate charter conferred valuable privileges to the community. The Rajah also gifted them land to build a Synagogue near the Palace. The Synagogue shown at the end of the lane in the print is from 1568 and is still standing. The Jews built their homes on both sides of the lengthy lane leading to the Jewish shrine.
Because of the emigration, their homes were sold to traders which were converted into antique shops. Today there is a row of antique shops in place of homes of the jews. Read about Jews in Kochi.
Did you know- there were two classes the White and the Black Jews. Both communities claimed to be the earliest that came to Kerala. They were bitter rivals, so much so there were regular riots between them years ago. Although in later years they settled down amicably, both gradually emigrating to Isreal.
From the collection- Dalhousie Barrack Fort William Kolkata Vintage Postcard 1900., WWI German Cruiser Emden’s Sea Route Map 1914., Antique Print Opening Of The Madras Railway., Antique Painting of Madras Fort St George