TEKKUMBAGAM SYNAGOGUE (17th century, but demolished)
Synagogue Lane / Jews Street
At one time a synagogue, the Tekkumbagam, stood in the Mattancherry area of Kochi on Synagogue Lane in Jew Town near the Paradesi Synagogue on the same, or west side, of the street. A former leader of the Paradesi Jews, S. I. Hallegua, claimed that construction of the synagogue began in 1647 during Portuguese colonial rule and was completed by the mudaliyar (the high leader of the Kerala Jews) Jacob Castiel in 1687 on property owned by Paradesi Jews. During its long history, it is unclear whether the building was ever altered or renovated, although it was in continuous use until 1955, when most of the congregation immigrated to Israel. While in operation, and during Jewish holidays and life-cycle events such as Shimhat Torah and wedding ceremonies, all the Jews living in Jew Town from both the Malabari and Paradesi communities visited the Tekkumbagam Synagogue as well as the two other synagogues in Jew Town: the Paradesi and Kadavumbagam.
When the Tekkumbagam Synagogue congregation left for India for Israel in 1955, the building and its property was turned over to the Paradesi community in Jew Town. The former synagogue sat for some time before it and its land were bought by a Paradesi Jew. Despite community misgivings about tearing down a building that was once a served a religious function, a perceived bad omen among most Indians, it was demolished to make room for a private residence Today the two story unoccupied house with its white exterior and seven rooms still stands very near the Paradesi Synagogue.
Exterior of the house where the synagogue once was