Indian government to repair 600-year-old synagogue

The historic Kadavumbhagam Synagogue in Mattancherry had been used for centuries by Cochin Jews, but fell into a state of disrepair in recent years due to exposure to rain and other elements.

A Kochi Metro train leaves Changampuzha Park station during its trail run in Kochi, India, June 7, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/SIVARAM V)
A Kochi Metro train leaves Changampuzha Park station during its trail run in Kochi, India, June 7, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS/SIVARAM V)

The Indian government plans to conduct restorations on the 600-year-old Kadavumbhagam Synagogue in Mattancherry, the minister for museums and archaeology, Ahmed Devarkovil, said after a visit to the structure on Friday, according to The Times of India.

The historic house of worship had been used for centuries by Cochin Jews, but fell into a state of disrepair in recent years due to exposure to rain and other elements, The New Indian Express reported.

The synagogue had been passed between various owners over the ages and was most recently used as a warehouse after the vast majority of Cochin Jews emigrated to Israel in the 1950s, according to The Hindu.

The synagogue's façade collapsed during heavy rains in 2019. The building still requires extensive work, as well as a custodian and a security guard, said KJ Maxi MLA, a government official who accompanied Minister Devarkovil when he visited the synagogue, the Times reported.

A woman clears out the water from her flooded house at Paravur on the outskirts of Kochi, in the southern state of Kerala, India August 11, 2019 (credit: REUTERS/SIVARAM V)A woman clears out the water from her flooded house at Paravur on the outskirts of Kochi, in the southern state of Kerala, India August 11, 2019 (credit: REUTERS/SIVARAM V)

A temporary roof was completed in September, according to the Times, after repairs were stymied by COVID-19 restrictions, as well as local residents who were concerned that construction in the area would be restricted if the synagogue were declared a protected site.

During the roof's construction, workers uncovered two tombstones belonging to Cochin Jews, the Express noted.