Mumbai: Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue to reopen after restoration

Updated: Feb 06, 2019, 11:20 IST | Dalreen Ramos

Two years ago, restoration at the Keneseth Eliyahoo synagogue began in lieu of cracks, damaged sections of timber rafters and the terracota-tiled roofing, and seepage through the walls

Mumbai: Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue to reopen after restoration
The renovated interior of the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue at Kala Ghoda. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The Keneseth Eliyahoo synagogue will be reopened tomorrow after restoration. It was built on a plot on Forbes Street (now VB Gandhi Marg) after businessman Sir Jacob Sassoon acquired it in 1881. Designed by English civil engineer David E Gostling, Sassoon named the synagogue Keneseth Eliyahoo [Assembly of Eliyahoo (Elias)] in memory of his father, David Elias.

Two years ago, restoration began in lieu of cracks, damaged sections of timber rafters and the terracota-tiled roofing, and seepage through the walls. Tomorrow the 135-year-old structure will be opened for public viewing. The ambassador of Israel to India, Ron Malka, will be part of the inaugural ceremony.

"It wasn't crumbling. We would paint the interiors every three years so you couldn't make out the defect, unless an architect examined it," Solomon Sopher, chairman of Sir Jacob Sassoon & Allied Trust said.

Stripped of its iconic blue colour, the building is now painted Indigo - drawn from the natural colour scheme of the era. The stained glass panels have been restored by Swati Chandgadkar. "The Victorian colour palette tended to use light colours. The only other building in which we found these painted stencil bands were in the municipal corporation building by FW Stevens," Abha Narain Lambah, principal conservation architect for the project revealed.

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