Glatt kosher on the banks of the Ganges


India is surprisingly rich in links to Judaism and it is possible to see the country in kosher comfort. Must-sees include Mumbai (with historic synagogues including Magen David Synagogue, built in 1861 — a huge Gothic building with an ornate reader’s platform and ark); Varanasi, one of the oldest cities of the world and Rishikesh, the yoga capital of India, with views of the Ganges as it spills out of the Himalayas. Also not to be missed are Amritsar’s Golden Temple and Chandigarh, with its “rock garden” built from thrown-away items.

An unforgettable visual experience is a trip to the Ajanta and Ellora caves, containing ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Jain paintings and monuments. More modern sightseeing options include a Bollywood film tour and the ceremonial changing of the guard at the India/Pakistan border.

Cochin Jews have lived for two millennia on the Malabar Coast, now Kerala. Though there were once many thousands of Jews here, only about 60 remain. The 17th-century synagogue in Chendamangalam has recently been conserved and is well worth a visit.

The small town of Pushkar, meanwhile, is hugely popular with young Israeli tourists, who are welcomed with Hebrew signs, inviting them to eat falafel and to surf the Internet. The Chabad House here offers a memorable, musical Shabbat experience.

Richard Silver, the India expert at Travelink, which has just launched a kosher tour programme in the country, says: “The sheer diversity of the country is mind-blowing. The landscape varies from the deserts of Rajasthan to the trio of cities that make up The Golden Triangle, offering a chance to discover magnificent forts and palaces which date back to the Moghul era.

“In dramatic contrast to the southern beaches, the mountain scenery of the incredible Himalayas runs across the far north of the country. It is truly a beautiful country, noted for its warm and welcoming people and once you’ve been, you’re likely to want to return many times in the future.’’


Julian Pearl is marketing manager at Travelink. Its 15-day tour of India in October (limited to 20 travellers) includes kosher food and five-star hotels where available. Further trips are scheduled for November and January. Prices from £2,977 per person exc. flights,

0208 931 8000, info@travelinkuk

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