Mala Jewish Synagogue, Cochin

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Jews have important participation in the building of ancient history of Kerala. Jews Town and Jewish Synagogues in Cochin are the famous heritage spots, those standing as th evidence for their participation. Mala Synagogue is one of them and now government started to renovate it associated with Musiriz Excavation Project here.

Text of Mala Jewish Synagogue, Cochin

  • Mala Synagogue
  • Mala is a developing town which is situated in the southern part of Thrissur district and lying near the north western side of the Eranakulm district. Jews have a very long history in Mala, located in the Kerala State of India, near Cochin. Some believe as early as 72 CE Jews immigrated to Mala for trade and settlement, as it was an important trading district before the time of Christ. The name Mala may have originated from the Hebrew word Mal-Aha, meaning, Center of Refuge.
  • Jewish Community in Mattanchery
  • Ferry Service to Mala, The name Mala was very popular as a water way for the business to the Musiris which was an important port of the ancient India.
  • Mala Town
  • MALA SYNAGOGUE Before Renovation
  • Since 1955, no Jews have lived in the city of Mala and that is when then Synagogue closed. On December 20, 1954, 300 members of the Jewish community in Mala moved en masse to Israel. Control of the Synagogue was given over to the local municipality, with the agreement that it would be maintained, and not used as a slaughterhouse, or as a house of prayer. The building has been readapted as a venue for cultural, educational and communal functions. The furnishings and religious artifacts have been lost.
  • It was just a parking space for the local people
  • The Synagogue is a two-story structure with a gatehouse, which served as a foyer with communal spaces downstairs and a Jewish school upstairs. It was linked by a covered breezeway (which is now filled-in) to the Synagogue. As is traditional with synagogues in Kerala, Mala Synagogue features a shallow wooden balcony in dark and teal wood, which overlooks the two-story prayer room. The faade is yellow downstairs and white upstairs, with three traditional windows upstairs. Corners of the building, plaster over stone and brick, are broken. Exterior steps (which have now been sealed closed) led to the womens gallery upstairs, which was separated from the sanctuary by a latticed screen. The twostory womens gallery is situated at the western end of the prayer room, upstairs, and features balustrades in dark and teal wood. It is accessed by a flight of stairs from inside the sanctuary.
  • Women Gallery of Synagogue
  • A view from women gallery
  • Door of Synagogue
  • Pepper drying in the Backyard of Mala Synagogue
  • Entrance to Mala Jewish Cemetery
  • Mala Jewish Cemetery
  • Ancient inscription on the tomb in Cemetery
  • Tombs in Jewish Cemetery
  • Jews played a significant role in the spice trade as early as the biblical times of Solomon (10th century B.C.E.). We know from I Kings (chapters 5 and 10) that King David bequeathed to Solomon vast lands which gave him control of the major trade routes to Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Anatolia as well as routes to the southern Arabian peninsula, where the vast majority of spices were traded from the Far East
  • Ancient Trade Route to India
  • Jews and Jewish Synagogue History in Mala 72 CE: Jews immigrated to Mala for trade and settlement 1000 CE: The wood used for the synagogue was donated to Joseph Rabaan by the Rajah of Cranganore. 1400AD: Apparently, the original 11th century synagogue was torn down for unspecified reasons and a new building was built in 1817AD: In the beginning of 1817 Missionary Rev. Thomas Dawson visited the Mala Synagogue and observed that it was still in ruins following Tipu Sultans attack during the Second Anglo-Mysore War, which took place during the early 1780s. 1792AD: Again renovated 1909AD: The Synagogue was either upgraded or re-built upon the original foundation. 1954 AD: December 20, 300 members of the Jewish community in Mala moved en masse to Israel.
  • Synagogue Now Under Renovation Process The Government of Kerala has been contemplating the creation of the Muziris Heritage Project from 2006. However, realizing its potential impact, the Government has initiated and ambitious project to encompass a larger area including North Paravur and Kodungallur Taluks, which have various protected monuments. In 1341, the profile of the water bodies in the Periyar River basin, on the Malabar Coast in Kerala underwent a major transformation. The prosperous city-port of Muziris, at the mouth of the Periyar, overlooking the Arabian Sea, suddenly dropped off the map, due to a flood or earthquake, or both.
  • Renovation of Mala Synagogue happened as the part of Muziris Excavation Project in Kerala
  • Painting and Polishing of Interior
  • Painted Synagogue
  • After Renovation Today, the interior is painted terracotta on the lower half of the walls and white above, with paned and shuttered windows, with a teal blue ceiling, and teal woodwork. The sanctuary is now empty, but once a central bema was built on a stone base and the Aron Kodesh was situated on the eastern wall.
  • Another Old Monuments Near Mala
  • Old Mosque in Mala, which is established in 640 AD (Hijra 60) is one of the oldest mosques in India
  • Pambummekkattu Mana is the most famous Serpent worship centre in Kerala. The Pambu Mekkattu (serving of snake) is spread over six acres of land with five "Serpant Kavus" (Kavu is sacred garden). The Pambummekkattu land is kept in its virgin style with huge trees and thick vegetation
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