The Synagogue in Mattanchery was built by the Yehudan community in 1568 on a piece of land gifted to them by the Raja of Kochi . This is also called as the Pardeshi synagogue( Pardeshi meaning Foreigner) and the only Synagogue still in use. The synagogue from outside is just a simple building with an old clock tower which keeps ticking even now. The bell tower is above this.
This synagogue complex comprises of 4 buildings and there is a deepa sthambha just outside the main place of worship which reflects the adoption of Kerala culture by them. I am unable to bring you the pictures of the interior as the security is tightened, post 26/11 . So those who are desirous to have a look just click the Wikipedia link. to enjoy the beautiful interior, laden with hand painted colorful tiles and ceiling embellished with chandeliers. The religious texts of Jews in Hebrew in a scroll form, the brass pulpit and and crowns made of gold and silver presented by the king are the other interesting relics inside the synagogue. The Synagogue can be visited from Sunday to Thursday as Friday -Saturday are Sabbath days and the Synagogue remains closed . The Jewish community in India has dwindled and many have have left for Israel. At present only 30-40 may be present in Kochi. The Synagogue is situated in a place called Jew town and the streets there are lined up with antique shops which is frequented by foreigners and antique hunters. One can also see the beautiful houses built in European styles.
The synagogue shares a common wall with a temple and adjacent to lies the palace of Raja of Kochi which is referred to as the Dutch Palace . This was first built by the Portuguese and later renovated by the Dutch as a token of their gratitude. This palace at present serves as a museum with beautiful frescoes and antiques belonging to the erstwhile kings .The Palace is constructed in a Kerala- European style and houses a Bhagavathi temple known as Pazhayannur Bhagavathi and there is also a Siva's shrine inside this palace. Krishna's temple is outside this main building and this temple shares a common wall with the Synagogue, which shows the warm nature of Kochi people who welcomed Pardeshis with open arms.
How to reach : Kochi is well connected by air, road and rail. The nearest airport is Nedumbassery which is 50 Kms from Mattancherry. Ernakulam Junction is the nearest railway station which is at a distance of 10 Kms.
Cabs, autos and buses ply to Kochi . One can always board a Mattancherry bus from South bus stop in Ernakulam and get down at the last stop at Mattancherry. Jew town and Synagogue are at walkable distance.
Accommodation- For stay excellent hotels are available in Ernakulam and as well as Kochi
I have included pictures of Synagogue, Dutch palace, Jew town and the temple inside the Palace complex.
Pictures 1-10 is Synagogue,11-19 Palace and temple inside the complex.