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Kerala restores historic synagogues to attract tourists

The restoration of the first of Kerala`s five historic synagogues in…

The restoration of the first of Kerala`s five historic synagogues in Cochin and on the Malabar coast will be completed by next February as part of a state government tourism plan to attract Israeli and Jewish visitors to the cradle of India`s 2,000 year old former Jewish communities.

The work to repair the dilapidated roof, walls and ceiling of the disused Chennamangalam Synagogue was started in June 2002 and will be followed by a refurbishing and restoration of its once exquisite interior, reproduced from archival materials.

Next in line may be the Parur synagogue, which had been sold to an Indian buyer and was recently redeemed in relatively good condition by the local Association of Keralite Jews.

The remaining synagogues and adjoining Jewish cemeteries are located in Kavaumbagum, Mattancherry and Mala.

When fully restored, they will become visible reminders of India`s Jewish cultural history, Keralite sources in Israel told PTI.

Some 3,000 of the 30,000 Israeli tourists in India each year visit Cochin and its showcase synagogue in Ernakulam. PTI

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