Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, Mumbai
The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue stands out from its surroundings with its blue colour. The synagogue was constructed in 1884 by the Sassoon family, and it is built in a neoclassical style.
Unfortunately the synagogue was closed when I passed. The interior is said to be very nice with high vaulted ceiling, stained-glass windows and colourful pillars.
One of two synagogues in Bombay, the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue serves the Sephardic Jewish community of the city. It was built in 1884 by the Sassoon family, who were of Iraqi origin. The Neoclassical-style temple is painted a vivid blue which makes it stand out among the surrounding colonial buildings. When I visited in February 2009, the Synagogue was undergoing a restoration project, with the exterior being repainted a darker shade of blue. The interior was thus closed, but it seemed close to reopening. The Synagogue is located on a small street off Mahatma Gandhi Road, behind the Prince of Wales Museum.
There are a few Synagogues that are built in Mumbai ever since the advent of Jews in India many years back. The Synagogue has different aspects including the religious significance of the place for Jews. The Kenneth Eliyahoo Synagogue also stands as a symbol of Mumbai's secularity and diverse nature of the population.
TAKE NOTE: If you want to take pic inside, they will charge you Rs100 (Jun 09).
This is the oldest synagogue in the city and is a remarkable building. Its exterior, as you can see, is a lovely, albeit, dirty pale blue with some lovely architectural features. Its interior features glorious stained glass windows. It was built in 1884 by the Sassoon family who also built another synagogue in Byculla. I got a private tour around the main hall and signed my name in the visitors book.
Tucked in one of the smaller roads along the Mahatma Gandhi Road is a pale blue painted exterior synagogue and looks pretty run down. This functioning synagogue is mantained for the few surviving Jewish families in Mumbai. There is a notice board which gives you an insight into the history of Judaism in Mumbai and also weekly prayer sessions. The main hall is open for public although other parts of the building is out of bounds. The mezzanine looks like it was about to fall apart. There is a small passage that leads up but I won't advise anyone to do so unless you are dust. The synagogue also provides free accomodation for Jewish travellers.
I was surprised to find a working synagogue in Bombay (thanks to VTer aadil for leading me here), something that doesn't appear in the guidebooks. This building dates back to 1884 and is just one of several synagogues sponsored by the Sassoon family, who emigrated to India from Baghdad in the early 19th century. Bombay doesn't have a huge Jewish population anymore--most have moved to Israel or elsewhere--but they're definitely a part of the great cultural and ethnic mix that makes up this city's history.