A Jewish Heritage Tour of India
15 days from £7,600 per person
Journey through India’s Jewish past and present on this special tour of her Jewish heritage hubs – Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Cochin. These vibrant cities are home to living synagogues and a handful of Jewish Indian communities who you will meet with. Guided by our top Jewish-expert guides, you’ll see the most fascinating religious and cultural sites at intervals of travel that are in accordance with the Jewish faith.
Start in Mumbai, an exhilarating city with enormous religious diversity. Visit a Jewish synagogue, a beautiful restored Cathedral and a Muslim mausoleum in which the Koran is written on the walls in gold and gemstones. The Jewish community in Mumbai comprises 4,000 Bene Israel Jews who trace their origins in Mumbai to a shipwreck off the Maharashtra coast in 175 BC and a few hundred Baghdadi Jews from Iraq. A local historian will lead your tour of the Kenesethe Eliyahoo Synagogue, Magen David Synagogue and the Shaar-ha-Rahamim Synagogue. Next head to Delhi where you will take in the capital’s finest sites – including New Delhi’s colonial-era landmarks and Old Delhi's hustling and bustling markets – as well as the Judah Hyam Synagogue.
In Calcutta explore a holy trail of religious sites around Brabourne Road – once home to Calcutta’s many immigrants including the Chinese, Armenians, and Jews & Muslims from the Middle East – with a number of different religious structures coexisting in close proximity. Calcutta has an estimated 25 Jews remaining in this city of 14 million people. Highlights here include the Magen David Synagogue and the Belur Math Shrine, which resembles a church, a temple, or a mosque depending on where you are standing.
End in the enchanting and laid-back port city of Cochin. Although there are only about 17 Cochin Jews left, Kerala’s Jewish history goes back to the time of King Solomon in 10th Century BC and there are strong remnants in the architecture and atmosphere. Jew Town is a twisting lane heaving with clothes shops and spice stalls; its treasured centrepiece is the little Paradesi Synagogue known for its hand-painted tiles and quaint Belgian glass chandeliers. Around Cochin, we will arrange for you to visit the Murziris Heritage Project’s restoration work on a number of rundown Jewish houses and three of the oldest synagogues in Kerala: the Kadavumbagam synagogue in Mattancherry, the Tekkumbagam synagogue in Ernakulam and the Pattanam synagogue. You can also view their fascinating excavation sites which are unearthing a variety of clothes, coins and agricultural tools dating back to the time of Roman traders.
15 days from £7,600 per person
- Day 1 - Taj Mahal Palace - Mumbai
Arrive in Mumbai and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of day at leisure.
- Day 2 - Taj Mahal Palace - Mumbai
Take a privately guided day trip to Alibaugh, 145km from Mumbai, to visit the Jewish synagogues and grave yard in Navgoan; en route visit a synagogue in Panvel. Return to Mumbai by ferry.
- Day 3 - Taj Mahal Palace - Mumbai
Visit the 4 important synagogues of Mumbai and the Bhau Daji Lad museum. This evening have dinner at Kenneth Synagogue with a special prayer.
- Day 4 - Taj Mahal Palace - Mumbai
Half day visit to Elephanta Caves followed by a half day tour of Colonial Mumbai.
- Day 5 - The Imperial Hotel - Delhi
Fly to Delhi and transfer to your hotel. Day at leisure.
- Day 6 - The Imperial Hotel - Delhi
Full day private sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi, including Red Fort, Jama Masjid, the bazaars of Chandni Chowk, Qutub Minar, Humanyun’s Tomb, Lutyens Buildings and India Gate.
- Day 7 - The Imperial Hotel - Delhi
Visit the Judah Hyam Hall, a centre for Jewish and interfaith studies, and the house of Mr Baruch B. Benjamin, the first President of the Jewish Welfare Association New Delhi.
- Day 8 - The Oberoi Grand - Calcutta
Fly to Calcutta. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the day at leisure.
- Day 9 - The Oberoi Grand - Calcutta
Private sightseeing including New Market area, Nahoum’s Bakery Shop, Beth-El Synagogue and Magen David Synagogue. After lunch visit Victoria Memorial and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
- Day 10 - The Oberoi Grand - Calcutta
Visit two Jewish Girl’s Schools at Park Street and Bowbazar. After lunch visit Marble Palace, Kumartuli (Potter’s Colony), College Street Book Market and Indian Coffee House.
- Day 11 - Brunton Boatyard - Cochin
Fly to Cochin. Transfer to your hotel. Day at leisure.
- Day 12 - Brunton Boatyard - Cochin
Privately guided tour of the ancient North Parur Synagogue and Chendamangalam Synagogue.
- Day 13 - Brunton Boatyard - Cochin
Privately guided sightseeing tour of Cochin including Mattancherry, the Dutch Palace, Paradeshi Synagogue at the Jew town, the Chinese fishing nets, St. Francis Church, Broadway Market and a boat trip to Fort Cochin. Evening Cultural Centre visit to enjoy a Kathakali performance.
- Day 14 - Brunton Boatyard - Cochin
Day trip to the Muziris Heritage Project accompanied by a fantastic guide and storyteller.
- Day 15 - In transit.
Transfer to Cochin airport for your international flight home.
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Anonymous, India
- Leslie Siben, India