The newly restored synagogue by the JSW Foundation is sure to become a new cultural landmark for Mumbai city.
The JSW Group has completed the restoration of Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, located in the heart of the art district of Mumbai. This synagogue at Kala Ghoda is a Grade IIA Classical Revival Structure protected under the Heritage Regulations for Greater Bombay 1995.
Originally designed by Bombay architects Gostling and Morris the Synagogue has been restored to its original grandeur through the collaborative efforts of JSW Group, Sir Jacob Sassoon and Allied Trust, Kala Ghoda Association, and World Monument Fund.
Noted consevartion architect Abha Narain Lambah has served as the Principal Conservation Architect of the Bombay Synagogue project. While Swati Chandgadkar has restored the stained glass panels.
The stained-glass windows rests on intricately carved screens with geometric and floral pattern on either side of the ark that houses the Torah scrolls.
The synagogue features a centralized podium from where the service is conducted. Surrounding the Synagogue’s podium are several wooden benches set on the floor which is finished in Minton tiles originally imported from Stoke-on-Trent in England. A separate seating area for women is provided by a large upstairs gallery around the perimeter of the prayer hall.
To restore the synagogue a number of interventions were undertaken ranging from roof repairs, terrace waterproofing, repair of damaged sections of timber rafters, as well as repair of structurally wooden members while adequately supporting the structure.
Several of the Synagogue’s original religious symbols – grape vines, citron fruit, and the Star of David among others – that had been obscured under years of blue paint – have also been beautifully restored back on the walls. The original colour tone of the monument, obscured under years of blue washing has also been restored along with the stencil of the motifs.
Commenting on the completion of the restoration work, Mrs. Sangita Jindal, Chairperson, JSW Foundation said, “We are extremely happy that to have been given the opportunity to restore one of the most important temple of worship that has been a significant part of Mumbai’s heritage and culture. The team working on the restoration of the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue were handpicked from India and around the world. Over the last 20 months, this team was dedicated to restoring every original aspect of the Synagogue. I hope the Synagogue will provide visitors a visual celebration of the Jewish culture in India.”
This monument is one of the most significant Jewish synagogues in India and is a place of worship for Mumbai’s Baghdadi and Bene Israeli Jewish Community. Considering the architectural beauty of this newly restored building it is likely to soon become a must-see building for visiting tourist and admirers of heritage in Mumbai.