Discover Jewish India
Duration: 10 nights/11 days
Learn about the intriguing history, culture and customs of the Jewish communities of Mumbai, Cochin, and Delhi. Eat, pray, and mingle with members of the community. You will visit world-renowned architectural sites, explore famous markets that entice your senses, and experience local customs along narrow urban streets. Explore Indian history and culture and delve into 2,000 years of Jewish life in the world’s most populous democracy.
Joshua Shapurkar is a native of Mumbai and a member of the Bene Israel community. He has been a professional guide for more than 30 years.
Full of knowledge and warmth, he has a special way of leading a group and sharing information. His passion for his country and his community shine through.
Joshua’s attention to detail and love for his Jewish heritage bring to life the history of the Jewish people of India. During his career as a guide he has guided and managed important delegations for JFNA, AJC and AJDC
Day 1: Sunday - Delhi
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay in Delhi.
Day 2: Monday - Delhi
City tour of Old Delhi features Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi; rickshaw ride; and drive past Red Fort. Tour of New Delhi includes India Gate; Parliament and President’s Houses. Explore Humayun’s Tomb, said to have inspired the architectural style of the Taj Mahal, and visit to Sikh Temple. Overnight stay in Delhi.
Day 3: Tuesday - Delhi / Agra
Leave by road to Agra (4 hours). Visit the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, built by the emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. Enjoy shopping for Agra’s exquisite marble crafts. Overnight stay in Agra.
Day 4: Wednesday - Agra / Jaipur
Drive to Jaipur, En route, stop at Agra’s Red Fort and Kohinoor, a private museum with an amazing tapestry collection. Visit Fatehpur Sikri on the way. Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Day 5: Thursday - Jaipur
Prepare to be awed by the Amber Fort, the ancient citadel of Jaipur’s rulers, and ride an elephant! Stop at the city palace and the Jantar Mantar observatory. Take time to shop in this beautiful city, known for textiles, jewelry and carpets. Enjoy cooking demonstration followed by homely Dinner. Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Day 6: Friday - Jaipur / Mumbai
Fly to Mumbai and visit synagogues that reflect the thriving presence of the Bene Israel and Baghdadi Jews: Magen David and Tiphereth Israel. Tour the city of Mumbai: Marvel at the Dhobi Ghat, an immense, colorful outdoor laundry. Drive past stunning Victorian buildings. Walk through a wholesale vegetable and fruit market.
Enjoy Shabbat services and a sumptuous kosher Indian-Baghdadi dinner with the community at the Kenesseth Eliyahu synagogue. Walk back to the hotel. Overnight stay in Mumbai.
Day 7: Saturday - Mumbai
Walk to the Kenesseth Eliyahu Synagogue for Shabbat services and a gourmet kosher Baghdadi feast. After lunch, optional heritage walk featuring the David Sassoon Library and Prince of Wales Museum with its huge collections of art, archaeology, and natural history (tickets will be purchased in advance). Overnight stay in Mumbai.
Day 8: Sunday - Mumbai / Cochin
Fly to Cochin, on the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. Cochin was once home to another flourishing Jewish community. Today only 26 Jews remain.
Drive to visit the 17th-century Chennamangalam Synagogue and museum. Its close proximity to a Hindu temple, church and mosque highlights India’s religious tolerance. Stop at the Parur Synagogue, an architectural gem dating from 1616. Witness Kerala’s local life – Enjoy a backwater boat tour through local canals and observe the local way of life in Kerala. Overnight stay in Cochin.
Day 9: Monday - Cochin
Visit the dramatic Chinese fishing nets and the Saint Francis Church, the burial place of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer who discovered India. Walk along Jew Street to the exquisite 450-year-old Paradesi Synagogue in Mattancherry; explore the area’s antique shops and spice markets. Visit the amazing synagogue in Ernakulam, part of Cochin (it’s hidden behind an aquarium and garden shop). Experience Kathakali dance drama. Overnight stay in Cochin.
Day 10: Tuesday - Cochin / Mumbai
Fly to Mumbai and proceed for a tour of Elephanta Island, a 7th– century Hindu cave and World Heritage site. Overnight stay in Mumbai.
Day 11: Wednesday - Mumbai
Transfer to the Airport for flights home or post-tours.
Varanasi, one of the holiest cities of Hindus, has a fascinating array of shrines, temples and palaces rising in several tiers from the water’s edge. It is also a city of fairs and festivals, celebrating about 400 of them during the year. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the oldest living cities in the World.
Explore Indian history and culture and delve into local life in the world’s most populous democracy. You will visit world-renowned majestic Forts and Royal palaces. Enjoy village safari and Leopard Safari. Taste the authentic flavor of Rajasthani royalty and hospitality at 16th century old Baoli, also known as Step well.