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Aranmula: A heritage village with interesting legends and craftsmen

Overview: We normally don't care much about the quality of mirrors we buy. But when we went to this small beautiful village of Aranmulla, we realised that mirror making is an art and some people have mastered it over generations.
On the banks of the river Pamba and next to the Parthasarathy temple dedicated to Sri Krishna, are a few houses where these craftsmen manufature these mirrors. These mirrors are created out of rubbing of metal on the surface until it brings a shine, and this is a true reflection of image as opposed to the cheaper and common glass mirrors, where the bottom layer is coated with mercury.
The history of metal mirrors goes back to the Indus Valley, or Saraswathi-Sindhu civilization as it is called now. Archaeological evidences indicate the use of bronze mirrors in Harappan cities in the 2500 BCE. It is believed that the tradition ties South India and the Indus valley cities of those times.
Though the exact history of Aranmula mirror is not certain, a few historians trace its origins to Sankarankovil in Tamil Nadu, where a few artists migrated to Aranmula to participate in building of the Parthasarathy temple. There are however, many other legends associated with the mirror artists.
Apart from the mirror, the place is popular for boat race which is held annually from the temple.
Its a beautiful souvenier to be carried when one visits Kerala, or Aranmula and these mirrors can also be purchased online.

Parthasarathy temple
Aranmula Mirrors in different stages of preparation

Aranmula Mirror
Aranmula Mirror street next to Parthasarathy temple
Steeped into legends from the Mahabharata, the Parthasarthy temple dates back to 6th century CE. 
The deity of Sri Krishna in its Vishwaroopam form was consecrated by Arjuna after crowing his grandson Parikshit as the king of Hastinapura. The diety here symbolises the compassion of Sri Krishna when he tried to attack Bheeshma, breaking his own vow not to use any weapon in the war, in order to protect Arjuna, who seemed helpless against the might of Bheeshma.

River Pamba
Parthasarathy temple


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