12 Feb 2018 - 21 Feb 2018
13 Aug 2018 - 22 Aug 2018
A tour of South India offers a fascinating glimpse of a culture, cuisine and history which differs considerably from the northern areas of the country. Discover India’s Jewish Heritage in Kochi, home to the country’s longest-established Jewish communities.
Known as the Malayalam Jews, their history is vague, but evidence suggests that the earliest Jewish settlers may have arrived in India after the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
The best time to visit India is between October and March. Temperatures in southern India are pleasant and range in the 28-18 degrees Celsius during the daytime in these months, making this period a pleasant one for sightseeing.
Day 1: Monday: Mumbai
We will meet up either at the airport or at our hotel and spend the day on a city tour of Mumbai. We will see the famous Dhobi Ghat and then drive on to the Hanging Gardens and Tower of Silence, followed by a visit to the Khala Goda Art District. In the afternoon we will continue on to Mani Bhawan (Mahatma Gandhi museum) and stop at Victoria Terminal.
Day 2: Tuesday: Mumbai
Rising early, we will visit to the Sasson docks to see the activities of its fishermen. We will then visit the Magen David synagogue built in 1861 by David Sassoon), Tiphereth Israel synagogue and Kensset Eliyahu synagogue. After the tours we will visit the Crawford market, Zaveri bazaar & Colaba causeway.
Day 3: Wednesday: Mumbai
After breakfast, we will be dropped of at the Gateway of India to board a motor boat for Mandwa Jetty. After arrival we continue to Alibag to visit the Magen Avot synagogue and Jewish cemetery before continuing on to Revdanda to visit the Beth el synagogue and the Jewish cemetery. Before our return to Mumbai, we will enjoy the beaches around the Mandwa Jetty.
Day 4: Thursday: Mumbai – Kochi
After breakfast, we will visit a Dabbawallah station before setting off for the airport to fly to Kochi (Cochin). Upon arrival we will start our city tour including visiting the historic Paradesi synagogue, which today represents the last symbol of the city’s rapidly dwindling Jewish community. We will also visit the Mattancheery Dutch Palace and have some free time at to shop. In the evening, we will experience a spectacular Kathakali dance presentation. Kathakali, a classical dance drama over 500 years old .
Day 5: Friday: Kochi
Today, after breakfast, we continue to explore the Jewish presence in South India, visiting synagogues in Paraur & Chendamangalam. According to our sources, trade with the area around Cochin dates back as far as 3,000 years, and the Jews themselves settled in the area 2,000 years ago. Even before Kochi rose to prominence, Jews could be found settling in the area to the north of the city. We will spend the day learning more about the area’s Jewish heritage. We begin with a morning excursion to the Parur synagogue. Constructed in 1615, the building was used for worship as recently as June 1998. The history of the site reaches back even further as the current structure was built on the ruins of another synagogue dating 1165. Next we visit the town of Chendamangalam, boasting a unique town plan designed to symbolize the religious harmony for which the area was known. Each cardinal point contained a house of worship of different faiths, including a beautiful synagogue built in 1614.We then return to our hotel to start preparing for Shabbat.
Day 6: Shabbat: Cochin
Breakfast at the hotel. During a walking tour of Cochin, we will give you a glimpse into Cochin’s rich history and heritage, showcasing the mixed Dutch, Portuguese, British and Jewish influences which make the city unique. During the tour, we will visit the old quarter of Fort Kochi, exploring the quaint streets of this city on foot. We will also visit fort Kochi’s seaside promenade, and get a glimpse of daily life in Kochi.
Day 7: Sunday: Cochin – Munnar
After breakfast we will continue the visit in Cochin. At noon we will travel to Munnar. a town and hill station located in the Idukki district of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. Munnar is situated at around 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, in the Western Ghats range of mountains and boasts tea and spice plantations. We will visit theTata tea museum, the first of its kind in India. The aim of this museum according to its founders, is to showcase the growth of more than a century-old tea plantations in this region.
Day 8 Monday: Munnar
Our sightseeing today will include optionals - a visit to the nature reserve of Chithirapuram Nature Reserve, a hike through tea plantations and/ or spa treatments at our hotel. Before returning to our hotel we will have some free time at Munnar market.
Day 9: Tuesday: Munnar – Kettuvallam
After breakfast, we drive to Allepey & check-in at the Kettuvallam houseboat jetty. Kettuvallam: Adapted and modernized from the traditional Kettuvallam of Kerala, these houseboats transport one slowly down palm-hung waterways, past backwater settlements of thatched and tiled cottages, through a tropical paradise! Guests set their own pace: stopping where they like, resting when they choose, and indulging themselves with the freshest of foods bought from the farmers and fishermen on the banks of the backwaters. When night falls, the houseboat is tied up on the banks of the backwaters.
Day 10: Wednesday: Kettuvallam – Cochin – Mumbai – Flight Back Home
Early the next morning, after experiencing a spectacular sunrise, we will have breakfast while cruising towards Alleppey; seeing rustic life on the banks as we float by - ducks wading into the water, women, either bathing neck-deep in water or doing their laundry, rice paddy workers and goods being ferried from place to place. Returning to Allepey, we drive on to the Kochi Airport to take a connecting flight to Mumbai from where we fly home.