AranmulaKannadi- Kerala’s Unique& Indigenous Metal Mirrors

Aranmula Kannadi is a mirror which is made in Kerala only. Unlike other normal glass mirrors, this mirror is made from a special metallic alloy. The ingredients for these unique Kerala mirrors is an alloy of copper and tin, and it is polished for several days in a row to achieve a reflective surface. The actual components used and the production process of these mirrors is a closely guarded trade secret handed down through generations. It is still being followed today without any modifications. It is a painstaking and laborious process which needs great perseverance, creativity and dedication.

Aranmula Kannadi has an exotic legacy dating back many centuries. According to the legends, eight families who had expertise in temple art came from Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu to Arunmula (a tiny hamlet located along the banks of Pamba River) in Kerala. These artisans who built the famous Parthasarathy Temple in Aranmula discovered a unique metal alloy which had superior reflective properties while they were making a crown for Lord Parthasarathy. This alloy was then fine- tuned by the later generations to make this exquisite mirror. The process of making this mirror is unique and indigenous from beginning to the end.

These metallic mirrors are a part of a 500-year-old cultural lineage and its secret metallic composition is known only to a few remaining families hailing from the Vishwa Brahmana community in Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district.

Aranmula Mirror

Normally the Aranmula Kanandi comes in a size range of 2 inches to 6 inches – those are the most popular models. The biggest Aranmula Kannadi made currently would be 12 inches of diameter, that itself would be at least 10 kg in weight and is a huge frame size. These unique Kerala mirrors can also be made-to-order and the price ranges from Rs 800 to Rs 100,000 depending on the size.

Unfortunately a lot of fake mirrors are being produced in the market and are passed off as authentic Aranmula Kanandi. In a recent movement to protect the genuinity of Aranmula Kannadi, the Vishwabrahmana Sabha society instructed the authentic manufacturers to put a hologram to prove its authenticity. So the authentic Aranmula Kannadis which are made from 2016 come with a hologram on the backside. The older mirrors made prior to 2016 may not contain a hologram since this is a new decision was taken towards the end of 2015.

One of the simplest ways to verify if the Aranmula Kannadi is original is to keep your fingertip on the surface of the metal mirror. If you don’t see a gap between your fingertip and the reflective image that means you have an original in hand. In a regular mirror used all around us, the gap is quite evident.

These unique Kerala mirrors symbolise Kerala’s rich traditional and metallurgical arts. The mirrors are considered to be among the eight auspicious items or that make up a bride’s prized possession. This marvel of a mirror is believed to bring prosperity, luck and wealth to those who possess it. These mirrors are perfect for gifting or to take back home as souvenirs.