Take away memoirs are important for a tourist. A wind-chime, a hat, a mask or even a pamphlet announcing that you were once at a place is something most people value and adorn their homes with. But what about a tourist who was holidaying in Kerala? He might need nothing to keep the memories of God’s Own Country fresh in his mind but just in case he needs one, options are aplenty.
From miniature models of house boats to Kathakali masks and a bottle of spices to a hand woven dhoti or saree, Kerala gives you a wide variety of choice as always. But the most prized possession, the proud belonging of any person who has visited Kerala would be the Aranmula Mirror.
Aranmula is a small village in Kerala popular globally for the mirror and also the Parthasarathy temple. The making of Aranmula mirror is restricted to a family of master craftsmen who have been passed on the tradition of making this auspicious mirror by their forefathers, whose legacies dates back to the eighteenth century. What makes this mirror special or unique is that the reflective surface of this mirror is not mercury-coated glass but metal. The alloy used to make this mirror is a closely guarded secret and it is in that secret how such reflective quality can be achieved on metal rests.
Each Aranmula mirror is hand-made and would even take up to six months to get completed. The price of these depends on the diameter of the mirror. Copper and tin alloy at a high temperature is cast in clay to get the shape. It is also said that some herbs are added in the alloy and it is that which gives the alloy this superior reflective quality. The polishing process which is done very carefully and painstakingly gives the mirror the attractiveness that makes anyone want to possess one. The temperature, the correct mix of metals and herbs, the secret purification process that the metal undergoes and the polishing all add to the charm and magnificence of this unique artefact.
Owing to the high demand of Aranmula mirror many fake mirrors are available in market today. Always buy these mirrors from Government Authorised dealers like SMSM Institute and Kairali handicraft shops. When you touch a glass mirror, there will be a gap between your finger and its reflection on the glass. But in the case of an Aranmula mirror this gap does not exist. This is how a genuine Aranmula mirror can be identified. These mirrors have been given Geographical Indication making it popular all over the world and an object that can be rightly said to be owner’s pride and neighbour’s envy.