Home > General, Mumabi Jews, Mumbai, Mumbai Architecture, Mumbai History, Mumbai Synagogue > Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, the Iconic Blue Synagogue of Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, the Iconic Blue Synagogue of Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

The Iconic Blue Synagogue of Mumbai

Also see: Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

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Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

The Iconic Blue Synagogue of MumbaiThe Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue is the grandest of Mumbai Synagogues. Located at the heart of Mumbai it stands just behind the Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) statue and is one of the six synagogues of down town Mumbai (Also see: Synagogues of Downtown Mumbai).

Located at the cultural hub of Mumbai the iconic blue synagogue is surrounded by art galleries, a museum, warmly-lit cafes and street art.

The synagogue with its blue exterior would always stand out against adjacent structures. It blue colour will make it merge with the sky above.

The synagogue is no longer blue today it is painted with a sparkling shade of white with bright indigo boarders. This was a result of a restoration process which lasted almost two years.

The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue recently restored. The restoration  process was carried out by the Jindal South West (JSW) Group under the patronage of Sangita and Sajjan Jindal with the assistance of Solomon Sopher (president of Baghdadi Jewish community in Mumbai), Kala Ghoda Association and World Monument Fund.

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Interior of Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, Mumbai

The restoration work was carried out by conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah and Associates and the restoration work was completed in February 2019.

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Interior of Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

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Interior of Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

Today the Kenethseth Eliyahoo Synagogue is open to public. Non Jews can not only visit the Synagogue but also participate in prayer service.

The synagogue welcomes any one with a genuine interest with a valid ID proof.

Since the 26/11 incident of 2008 the Synagogues in Mumbai are under heavy police protection.

Considering the risk of terrorist attack the visitors needs to prove their identity before stepping inside the synagogues and the rule is applicable for all Mumbai Synagogues.

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Central wooden platform (bimah) of Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue (literally meaning Gathering of Elijah) belonging to the Bagdadi Jew community of Mumbai. It is the second of the two Bagdadi Jew synagogue of Mumbai, the first being the Magen David Synagogue, Byculla built by David Sassoon. David Sassoon was a Bagdadi Jew who settled in Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1832 and was a successful businessman and manufacturer.

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Decorative floor, Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue was built in 1884 by Jacob Elias Sassoon and his brothers in memory of their father Elias David Sassoon, (Elias is same as Eliyahoo), who was the son of David Sassoon.

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Torah cases, Kenseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

It was designed by the British architectural firm Gostling & Morris. The present exteriors are a combination of indigo and white and it is known as Mumbai’s Blue Synagogue.

The synagogue is a combination of Neo-Classical and Gothic-Victorian architecture. The exterior faced contains corinthian columns and triangular pediments.

The ground floor of the three storied structure is used for administrative purpose. It includes office, class room, event room, storage area and also a mikvah (ritual bath).

The double-height Synagogue occupies the upper two floors, with the women’s gallery wrapping around three sides of the upper floor.

The interiors are laid in neo-gothic style with floral stained glass windows above the arc (heckal). The floor is laid out with decorative tiles.

The central wooden platform (bimah) is fitted with brass railings and ornamentation, including brass and glass dome lights projecting from the four corners.

Several brass chandeliers lit up the interiors of the synagogue. The women’s gallery is located upstairs. Ornamental pillars with rounded metalic arches support the women’s gallery, which runs around the three sides of the upper floor.

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Arc, Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, Mumbai

The heckal (ark) is located at the far western end of the synagogue and according to convention faces the holy Jewish city of Jerusalem.  It contains a decorative wooden door leading to a open space housing tora scrolls kept in decorative silver and wooden caskets.

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Seats around the platform (bimah) of Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, Mumbai

Heckal (ark) is crowned with a grand stain glass window, the focal point of attraction of the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue. At the top of the arc lies a marble plaque containing the 10 commandments in Hebrew.

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Interior of Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, Mumbai

Since the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue is located at the heart of Mumbai it can be combined with the exploration of the museums, art galleries and other heritage buildings of the Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) area.

More on Synagogues:

Kolkata Synagogues     Mumbai Synagogues

Necessary Information:

  • Visitors are usually allowed. However the synagogue is sometimes closed, a prior appointment is advisable. Contact person Solomon Sopher (solomon.ijc@gmail.com)
  • Entry charge ₹ 300, entry and photography charge ₹ 500 and entry and video ₹ 1000

Special Thanks:

  1. A big thank you to Ralphy Jhirad, a Mumbai Jew, who took me round the city visiting the synagogues. He arranged for all the necessary permission
  2. A special thanks to my Kolkata Jew’s friends Jeal Siliman and Jo Cohen for providing valuable contacts in Mumbai

 

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