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  • Clasic India (8 Nights -9 Days)
  • Golden Triangle (5 Nights -6 Days)
  • Kashmir(6 Nights -7 Days)
  • Image of India (15 Nights -16 Days)
  • The Exotic South(20 Nights -21 Days)
  • Essence of India (5 Nights -6 Days)

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  • Golden Triangle (5 Nights -6 Days)
  • Kashmir(6 Nights -7 Days)
  • Image of India (15 Nights -16 Days)
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  • Essence of India (5 Nights -6 Days)

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JEWISH HERITAGE OF INDIA – 11 NIGHTS / 12 DAYS

Location –Mumbai-Pune-Kochi-Kumarkom-Periyar-Trivandrum-Mumbai

 

Trip Type – Special Interest Tours

Trip Duration- 12 Day(s) – 11 Night(s)

Overview

Trace the steps of some enterprising ancestors who came to India’s western shores way back in the 11th century. Explore some of the most ancient and multifaceted Jewish communities that, tradition relates, are as old as the Diaspora. This is a chance to savor some of the most stunning sights of India while also visiting the earliest synagogues that still stand well-preserved by the Jews in India. There are 1600-years old copper plates, gold and silver decorated Torah-scrolls and paintings and other relics from the fascinating Jewish past in magnificent synagogues. Tour the ancient and modern parts of cosmopolitan Mumbai, the calm colonies of Pune and the alluring backwaters of Kerala. Experience the lives of Jews settled in this part of the world, the Bane Israelis, the Jews of Cochin and the Baghdadis.

On your arrival at the Mumbai airport, you’ll be escorted to the hotel. In the afternoon, take a city tour to see the best of British Mumbai and its Gothic architecture. Start with the Gateway of India, the city’s emblem, constructed to welcome King George V in 1911. Move on to the Prince of Wales Museum that boasts of sculptures, terracotta figurines, and weaponry etc. from India’s ancient and fascinating past. Drive by Marine Drive for a sweeping view of Mumbai’s skyscrapers by the sea. Stop at the Chatrapati Shivaji Station, a Victorian giant of a building that is now a transportation hub but looks like a grand cathedral with carvings and stained- glass windows. Pick up some unique curios at the colorful Crawford market.

Have a relaxing dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Mumbai.

Start with the Israeli Mohalla where the Bene Israelis first settled. Move to Byculla where the Baghdadi Jews established their colony. The Sassoon Docks here were constructed by the most well-known Jew in India, David Sassoon. He was a Baghdadi Jew who foresaw the growth of shipping here and built the first dock in Mumbai. The Jacob Sassoon School was originally built only for the Baghdadis. Today, with non- Jewish students as well, it is the only school in Mumbai where Hebrew is taught as the second language. Drop by at the Elphinstone High School built with the generous donations made by Sir Albert Sassoon. The Jewish Synagogue here is one of the 35 synagogues that were maintained by the earlier community. Overnight in Mumbai.

Today you will visit Navagaon, the site where Bene Israeli ancestors first arrived after they were shipwrecked off the coast about 20 miles south of the island of Mumbai. This site is supposed to have belonged to the lost ten tribes of Israel. Only seven men and women survived the tragedy and the present Bene Israelis are the descendants of these 7 couples. Visit the Cemetery with two mounds believed to be the collective graves of those who drowned in the legendary shipwreck. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Board the flight to Pune. Check into the hotel and rest for a while.

Later, visit the National Defense Academy, a training ground for the 3 defense services, the Bund Gardens on the banks of the Mula River and the Snake Park with its fair collection of reptiles. A must-see is the Raja Kelkar Museum with its impressive assortment of about 17,000 artworks – bizarre musical instruments, strange locks, carved wooden doors etc. You will also visit the most important attraction of Pune, the Osho International Commune. The precincts of the Ashram house are a beautiful landscaped garden and a spacious prayer and meditation hall. Spend the night at the hotel.

Today you visit some ancient Jewish sites in the city. In the early 19th century, Bene Israel military pensioners settled in Thane and Pune. Gradually, Baghdadi Jews shifted to Pune in small numbers including the well-known philanthropist, David Sassoon. He built the magnificent Synagogue with tall, red spires that rise high above the surrounding buildings. He passed away in 1864 and lies buried in the Tomb here. Attend the prayer session and chat with the locals. Visit the Sassoon Hospital built in 1867 that still stands in its Gothic splendor.

Stay overnight at the hotel.

You will transfer to the airport for the flight to Mumbai from where you will board the plane to Kochi, erstwhile Cochin. On arrival in Kochi, check into the hotel.

Kochi is an interesting and picturesque town with a long history and quaint red-tiled roof houses. It retains most of its relaxed and quiet atmosphere with Dutch, Jewish and British houses. By swaying coconut palms, start the sight-seeing with the Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese and gifted to the King of Cochin in 1555. It has lavish interiors and a great collection of exhibits. In the evening, witness an enchanting Kathakali Dance performance. Overnight in Kochi.

This day is dedicated to the Jewish places. Of the 7 Synagogues here, the Pardeshi Synagogue is still functional. This is the oldest in India. White walled and tile roofed, it has an inner courtyard lined with ancient Hebrew inscribed gravestones. Past its ornate wrought iron gates, watch for the silver and gold decorated Torah Scrolls, an orient carpet and lots of other such interesting relics. The Synagogue is a protected monument and is guarded by an Indian Government guard. Trip down to Kochi’s twin town, Ernakulam that also once had a thriving Jewish community. Visit the Thekumbagum Synagogue on Jew Street and the Kadavumbagham Synagogue. Overnight in Kochi.

 

Visit Kumarakom, one of the prettiest places in Kerala and the heart of the scenic backwaters. Drive via Alleppy, the point from where you take a backwater trip to Kumarakom. Visit the network of canals, inland lakes and lagoons that link remote villages and islands with the main land. Cruise through these and get a taste of the peaceful life of the village folk here. Green paddy fields, tall coconut trees and the shimmering waters make for a breathtaking view. Spend the night at the hotel.

Leave for Periyar in the Thekkady district of Kerala. In these mountains is the stunning Periyar Lake and forest that shelters many an animal in its wildlife sanctuary. It is a habitat for elephants, bison, spotted deer, amber, bear etc. There are a number of birds that you can also spot. Take a boat ride on the lake. It will take you closest to herds of lounging elephants and other animals that frequent the waters.

Stay the night at the hotel.

Leave for the rolling lands of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), the capital city of the state. Check into the hotel. Experience Ayurveda, a traditional science of healthy living that was practiced by ancient physicians for sound health. Treat your body to relaxing massages done with therapeutic oils that drain toxic waste and re-balance bio-energies. Choose from various kinds of massages and elaborate rejuvenations therapies. Simply, just unwind with a good, long massage by the seashore. Overnight in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum).

Full day is at leisure.

Depart for the Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) airport for your journey back to Mumbai. On arrival, transfer to the International airport to catch flight for your onward journey.

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