The restored Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue in Mumbai's Kala Ghoda
The restored Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue in Mumbai's Kala Ghoda

Mumbai's Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue reopens after restoration

ANI | Updated: Feb 07, 2019 22:57 IST

Mumbai [Maharashtra], Feb 7 (ANI): Mumbai's iconic Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue was reopened for the public here on Thursday, in a ceremony which was attended by the Governor of Maharashtra, Vidyasagar Rao.
The restoration for the heritage structure is a collaborative effort between JSW Group, Sir Jacob Sassoon & Allied Trust, Kala Ghoda Association and the World Monument Fund.
"We worked on this project for 12 months and over 40,000 man days have gone into restoring the synagogue," Abha Narain Lambah, the Principal Conservation Architect for the project noted.
"We've gone back to the original 19th-century colour scheme. When we started peeling off the layers of paint in the beginning, we found a beautiful combination of Victorian green and gold which had been originally used, along with stencils that were hidden by the subsequent layers of paint. So we tried to bring those colours out again," she said.
"The Jewish community's dwindling and that's why restorations were undertaken through a CSR initiative. Not just the Jewish community, all of Mumbai is deeply attached to this 'blue synagogue' because it is an indispensable part of Kala Ghoda," Lambah also noted.
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 been restored. Furthermore, the intricate stained-glass windows were removed, cleaned and painstakingly restored by Swati Chandgadkar.
The conservation architect pegged the approximate cost at rupees 4.5 crores, highlighting, "The entire project costs approximately 4.5 crores, out of which most of the funds have been provided by the JSW foundation. The World Monuments Fund has provided the stained glass while the Kala Ghoda Association has contributed around 40 lakh rupees to the restoration," she added.
The Jewish community, which also contributed 10 lakh rupees towards the restoration, hailed the efforts, with one community member remarking, "We're very happy that we'll have such beautiful surroundings to pray in."
The synagogue was established in 1884 by Jacob Elias Sassoon, whose grandfather had immigrated from Baghdad to Mumbai, India in 1832, fleeing persecution. It was originally designed by Gostling & Morris, who gave the synagogue its landmark blue exterior. (ANI)