Smita Dalvi

Volume 5, Issue 2, September 2018
pp. 50 – 69

DrSmitaDalviSmita Dalvi is a founding faculty of MES Pillai College of Architecture, Navi Mumbai and the editor of Tekton. She has been teaching architecture and aesthetics in Navi Mumbai and Mumbai.

Her research areas are in Architecture, History of Art & Culture, Urban Heritage and has read and published papers and essays in conferences and several architectural and cultural journals. Her area of special interest is Islamic architecture and aesthetics. In 2007, she was awarded the fellowship of ‘Fulbright Visiting Specialist: Direct Access to the Muslim world’. Presently, she is pursuing her doctoral studies at IIT- Bombay.


Two distinct Jewish communities flourished in Bombay and the Konkan separated by their time of arrival and their social status- the Bene Israel and the Baghdadi Jews. Both built places of worship and in case of the latter many public buildings. Much of this built heritage survives today even though the population has dwindled due to outward migration. This paper attempts to examine the Jewish architectural heritage in Bombay and the Konkan with an aim to recreate their social and economic history and contribution to public life. In that, two attributes emerge which mark their presence in the social milieu of their times- syncretism and philanthropy. These are indicative of the architecture’s ability to communicate social characteristics. In the present time, how the same is perceived and sometime transformed by the community is also indicative of the changed social scenario.

Jewish Heritage, Bene Israel, Baghdadi Jew, Bombay, Konkan, Social History