Chendamangalam

From Academic Kids

Chendamangalam (ചേന്ധമങലം) is a town about 42 km from Ernakulam, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It is remarkable for possessing three rivers, seven inlets, hillocks and vast expanses of green plain.

The Paliam Palace, residence of the Paliath Achans, hereditary Prime Ministers to the former Maharajas of Kochi, is one of the architectural splendours of Kerala. The Palace is over 450 years old and houses a collection of historic documents and relics.

The hillocks at Kottayil Kovilakom are unique as the site of a Hindu temple, a Christian church, a mosque and the remains of a Jewish synagogue, all within 1 km of each other. The synagogue was built in 1614 A.D and is in a peaceful wooded area. In the courtyard behind the synagogue, it is possible to find old Jewish graves, including one of a Jewish woman, dated 1264 A.D.

The Jews arrived in Chendamangalam after the destruction of the second temple and the final desolation of Jerusalem in (A.D. 69) and founded a colony. They moved to Fort Kochi in 1341 A.D after the Great flood. All the synagogues in Kerala - Chendamangalam, Mala, and Kochi - have similar traditional architectural features: a central bimah of brass or silver metal on a concrete or stone base, an ark on the western wall, a balcony above the eastern entry to the sanctuary that is used by the reader on certain holidays. Behind the balcony is the women's gallery, with a stairway leading up to it, usually from outside the building.

Also interesting, is a visit to the remains of the Vypeenakotta Seminary built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. Adjacent to the seminary is an old Syrian Catholic Church built in 1201. It is also the site of the first printing press in India. The church was later rebuilt in Portuguese style.

Chendamangalam is often said to be one of the best tourist sites in Kerala.

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