Ohel David Synagogue, locally known as Lal Deval, meaning Red Walls is one of oldest Synagogue in Asia.
Built by David Sassoon between 1863-1867, this iconic red brick building is a perfect blend of religious sanctity and architectural beauty. Henry Stain Clair Wilkins designed the structure in English Gothic style architecture, and the most noticeable feature is the 90-foot high obelisk, which has a clock tower that was specially brought from London.
Not just a religious center, the synagogue is also a popular tourist spot in Pune. It holds regular prayers and holiday services conducted by congregational laymen, visiting Rabbi, or a Hazzan. This Hazzan is usually called from Mumbai to conduct prayers. The synagogue is synonymous with the Jewish identity of the town and is a perfect example of religious harmony in India.
Apart from its religious significance, the synagogue also has a mausoleum of David Sassoon, who passed away one year after laying the foundation stone. The synagogue also contains a Mikvah (ritual bath), caretaker, and community apartments that are now closed. It was designed to accommodate 100 families at once, making it a great example of Jewish heritage in India.
The Ohel David Synagogue is a hidden gem in Pune, but unfortunately, it is often bypassed by tourists. There is no entrance fee to visit, but permission is required. However, the lack of landscaping around the synagogue detracts from its architectural beauty. So, take a half-an-hour break from exploring Pune and visit this impressive structure on Moledina Road.