Museum and art gallery
2 - 3 Hours
FIrst Aid kit
Chendamangalam is a historic village located about 42 Km from Ernakulam town. Chendamangalam is very much appreciated for its scenic beauty. Chendamangalam is often said to be one of the best tourist sites in Kerala. Chendamangalam is the location of the Paliam Palace, Vypeenakotta Seminary, and is also remarkable for having a Hindu Temple, Synagogue, Church, and Mosque, all within one kilometer of each other. from the synagogue in Parur just to the south, and reached by a narrow and busy north-south running main road (#14) linking a string of towns and villages throughout the length of Kerala, is Chendamangalam (sometimes written Chennamangalam). A sleepy settlement in Paravoor Taluk in the state’s Ernakulam district, it was for centuries the home to a Jewish community and a synagogue, yet by the close of the twentieth century not a single Jew resided in Chendamangalam. The Chendamangalam Synagogue sits near the center of the quiet village. The narrow lane, paved only in recent years, leading to the synagogue seems to dead end into the white-washed building, but then it splits and continues onwards along both sides of the walled compound. The immediate area of the synagogue is a neighborhood of modest homes, some once Jewish owned, and a collection of small shops selling a handful of goods.
In 1324, the Arab geographer Ibn Battuta embarked on a ten-day expedition in Kerala from Calicut (now called Kozhikode) to Kawlam (once known as Quilon, or today as Kollam) by boat along the backwaters. On the fifth day of his journey, he came to Kunjakari, and he describes this place, “which is on top of a hill; it is inhabited by Jews, who have one of their own number as their governor, and pay a poll tax to the sultan of Kawlam.” (Weil 2006: 1) The historian P.M. Jussay studied Kerala Jewish folksongs in Malayalam, and he linked Kunjakari with Chendamangalam on the basis of the summit location and the Jewish self-rule. Kunjakari has been plausibly identified with the section of the river called Kanjirapuzha to the east of the island of Chendamangalam where there was a very old Jewish settlement. (Weil 2006: 1)
In the Kerala Jewish Malayalam folksong "The Song of Evaray", the long migration of a learned Jew named Evarayi is traced from Jerusalem to Malanad, which was another name for the land of Kerala. Evarayi traveled by way of Egypt, Yemen, and Persia to Palur, north of Cranganore. Welcomed on his arrival in another place that is believed to be Chendamangalam, he set out to build a synagogue or palli, and a Nayar (high-caste Hindu) killed a deer for a nercca feat to celebrate the completion of his vow (Johnson 2004: 38).
According to a second Jewish Malayalam tune, that Evaray was requested to join the local aristocratic Nayars in a local deer hunt is interpreted as signifying that the Jews were accepted as members of the nobility. In "The Song of the Bird", another Kerala Jewish folksong which recounts the transmigration of a bird to India in search of guava fruit, the bird flies "to a green mansion…in an elevated spot", which is identified with the hill at Kunjakari in Chendamangalam (Jussay 1990). This interpretation would agree with the conclusion drawn by P. Anujan Achan, the Kerala State Archaeologist of Cochin in 1930, who believed that the Jews must have migrated to Chendamangalam from Cranganore around the mid-thirteenth century (Weil/Waronker 2006: 3). A tombstone dating from 1268 belonging to a Jewish woman named Sarah, inscribed in Hebrew, which is the oldest text in Hebrew discovered in the region to date, was restored in 1936 and can today be found just outside the front entrance of the Chendamangalam Synagogue. According to a local narrative, the stone was brought to Chendamangalam from nearby Kottapuram.
In "The Song of Paliathachan", also recited by the Jewish women of Kerala, Jussay claims that the Paliath Achan, the representative of the Chendamangalam Nayar noblemen, bestowed upon the Jews "gifts and books to all those who come, and titles to foreigners". (Weil/Waronker 2006: 3) Paliath Achans, or local chieftains and hereditary prime ministers of the Rajahs of Cochin, reigned in Chendamangalam until the early nineteenth century. Today the chieftain’s descendants remain in residence in town, although without formal power, wealth, and privilege. A popular legend holds that hillocks of the town were planned by one of the Paliath Achams who sought to have four religious faiths prominently represented in town. It is said that in the center of Chendamangalam the tolerant leader designated a site on each of the cardinal points for the construction of a palli, or religious building, for four major faiths: a Hindu temple, Muslim mosque, Christian church, and Jewish synagogue. At the crossing of the axis he set his own residence, the Paliyam Palace, on a hill – the highest point in the village.
- Food and drink cannot be brought into the Museum.
- Flash photography and video cameras cannot be used inside the Museum.
- Luggage and carry-on bags are not allowed in the Museum and they must be checked in at the entrance.
- For reservation of hop on hop off boat service at Muziris Heritage Project Mobile: +91 9020864649, 9745964649
- For reservation of Conference Hall at Muziris Research and Convention Centre, Gothuruth Performance Centre and Amphi Theatre at Kottappuram Mobile: +91 9447902348
- Nearest railway station: Aluva, about 19 km and Ernakulam, about 29 km
- Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 23 km
|January to December|
|Monday||10:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
|Tuesday||10:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
|Wednesday||10:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
|Thursday||10:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
|Friday||10:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
|Saturday||10:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
|Sunday||10:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
|Last Admission||04:30 PM|
Things to carry
Things Not Allowed