The Jewish Tribe of India
Duration : 11 Nights & 12 Days
Destination : Mumbai – Cochin – Kolkata
Accommodation : Modern / Heritage hotels.
Best Time to visit : October to March
Journey Type : Group & Private Journey
The history of the Jews in India reaches back to ancient times.
Indian Jews are a religious minority of India. Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history. The better-established ancient communities have assimilated a large number of local traditions through cultural diffusion. The Jewish population in India is hard to estimate since each Jewish community is distinct with different origins; some arrived during the time of the Kingdom of Judah, others are seen by some as descendants of Israel's Ten Lost Tribes. Of the total Jewish population in India, about half live in Manipur and Mizoram and a quarter live in the city of Mumbai. It is believed that there are five Jewish communities currently living in India.
The Jews settled in Kodungallur (Cranganore) on the Malabar Coast, where they traded peacefully, until 1524. Jews have held important positions under Indian (Hindu) princes in the past and even after independence from British Rule, have risen to very high positions in government, military and industry.
On arrival at Mumbai airport, you will be met by our company representatives and after the traditional India welcome, transferred to your hotel.
After breakfast in the morning, we will depart for the walking tour of Mumbai covering some of the most visited and important places. In Mumbai one can see quite a few Bene Israel & Baghdadi synagogues. Afternoon visit Tifereth Synagogue and arrive for evening service at Magen David Synagogue (1830 hrs)
Optional 06.30 hrs service at Gate of Mercy Synagogue for those who observe Shabbat; independent morning.
Full day tour for those who do not observe Shabbat: Visit the Prince of Wales Museum which is Indo Saracenic architecture in keeping with the Gateway, but the dome of glazed tiles gives it a very Persian and Central Asian flavor. The museum also houses an excellent collection or jade and silver jewelry and Indian miniature paintings. On the way to the Hanging Gardens we will pass the Victorian Gothic buildings of the city, stopping at the most remarkable of them all, the Victoria Terminus built in 1878. The Hanging Gardens offer a panoramic view of the harbor and a glimpse of the Towers of Silence, the rather unusual crematorium of the Parsi community. Visit for a picture stop at the Dhobi Ghat a sight unique to Mumbai at the end.
Full day excursion south of Mumbai to the rocky outcrop, where the legend of the Israel started. The story is that 7 men and 7 women survived a shipwreck in the time of Solomon. They became oil pressers and remained in the area. There are a few shuls there and still Jews doing oil pressing today. The area is also considered to be the holiest shrine for the Bene Israelites of Mumbai. This is where it is believed Saint Elijah arrived on his chariot and the mark can be seen on the rock.
Morning visit the Mazgaon School, which we tour and then meet with the school administrators. Later visit the ORT school in Worli.
Morning transfer to airport for your flight to Cochin. Meeting and assistance on arrival at Cochin airport and transfer to your hotel. Afternoon walking tour of Cochin including the heritage zone, which has preserved the original architecture of the city. Also visit St Francis Church and the Chinese fishing nets, which line the mouth of Cochin harbour. In the evening witness a Kathakali dance show, the traditional dance form of Kerala.
after breakfast at your hotel, visit the Jewish Community and the beautiful Pardesi Synagogue. This Synagogue was built by Samuel Castiel, David Belila, Ephrahim Sala and stands on the grounds of the Maharaja of Cochins residence. Later walk to the Mattancherry Palace, which was commissioned by the Portuguese for the raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights. The palace is two storeys high and is built in the traditional Kerala style known as nalukattu (four buildings). Afternoon sunset cruise on the backwaters of Kerala.
Morning after breakfast transfer to airport for flight to Kolkata, also known as the city of joy. Assistance on arrival at Kolkata airport and transfer to hotel.
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of India's West Bengal state. Founded as an East India Company trading post, it was India's capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. It’s also home to Mother House, headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, whose tomb is on site.
Morning visit the Neveh Shalome Synagogue, established in 1825, the first Synagogue in Kolkatta. Also visit Magen David Synagogue, built by Mr. Elias David Joseph Esra in memory of his father Mr. David Joseph Esra. It is a charming walk to this synagogue. Visit the Nahoum Bakery, owned by a Jewish family. Evening service at Magen David Synagogue.
Optional morning services at synagogue.
Explore the best of Kolkata on a private sightseeing tour and capture the best of the city if joy. Early morning the very famous flower market and later visit the Victoria Memorial, the white marble monument designed in Italian Renaissance Mughal style. St Pauls Cathedral is the original metropolitan church of British India completed in 1847. Continue the tour to visit Kumartuli, the home of the potters who prepare clay images pujas and festivals throughout the year. Visit Sishu Bhavan, one of Mother Theresa’s many homes for the underprivileged.
After breakfast proceed to visit The Marble Palace that boasts of 99 different varieties of marble. The house has an extraordinary collection of paintings, some of great value. Also visit University of Performing Art, which has a small but charming museum dedicated to the poet laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, Bengals favourite son.
Today morning Sabbath prayers and walking tour in Calcutta. Later transfer to airport for flight to onward destination.
Overnight stay at hotel.