Aranmula Kannadi (Aranmula mirror) is one of those things that a majority of people will think of when they hear “Kerala”. This valuable piece of artwork comes from the small village of Aranmula in the Pathanamthitta district. It is located around 15 km away from Pathanamthitta town. Unlike an ordinary mirror, the mirror is a handmade metal-alloy mirror with zero refraction. Traditionally made by the skilled artisans of Aramula village, this Kannadi has received Geographical Indication (GI) in the year 2005.
The origin of Aranmula Kannadi is connected to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. A few centuries ago, experts were brought from Tamil Nadu to Aranmula for the construction of the temple. These experts made the first of these mirrors using an alloy made from tin and copper. And the craft has been passed on from generation to generation since.
Moulds of clay are used to make the mirror. The heated alloy is poured into the mould and cooled for around 6 hours. Once cooled, the mould is broken and the metal sheet that’s left is polished and shaped to look like a mirror. The mirror is then placed in an ornate brass frame. Since all these processes are done by hand, it takes a lot of effort to make one mirror. This is why they are expensive.
Though expensive, there is a lot of demand for this object as it is considered a heritage symbol of Kerala. Usually given as a gift to people, this product is also part of the Ashtamangalya set – a gift presented on auspicious occasions like a Hindu marriage.
This place is not only famous for the Kannadi, but also for the historical Aranmula Parthasarathy temple, Vastu Vidya Gurukulam, and the legendary Aranmula Vallam Kali (Aranmula boat race) held during Onam. All these make this place a cultural hub of Kerala and a must-visit place for all culture enthusiasts.