Hopes and reflections of Aranmula kannadi

For about a 1000 years, Aranmula Kannadi, a glassless mirror has become part of Kerala's intricate culture. We at Untold spent a week with the last descendants of the town's royal family, documenting one of the more popular stories of the mirror's origin.


Aranmula, a small temple town tucked away in Kerala is home to many ancient traditions. crafts and architecture. ‘The most unique and intriguing of them all is Aranmula Kannadi’ - a metal mirror made of polished Tin and Copper without any glass or mercury.One of the popular stories of its origins says that a thousand years the artisans who came to guid the extravagant temple in Aranmula were asked to leave by the king after its completion.They pleaded his highness to change his mind claiming that they had made Aranuma home for 10 years.And that they would rather die than leave.In between the pleadings and rejections, following a divine intervention, Parathasarathy, the lord of the temple appeared in widow’s dream and told her about a magical ratio.Driven by this dream, the widow asked her brother, the chief blacksmith, to experiment with the ratio.This is what would become the beautiful "Aranmula Kannadi". The purity of its reflection and the ingenuity of the artisans won the great king’s heart.Not only did he allow the artisans to stay and practice this rare craft but he also weaved Aranmula Kannadi into Kerala’s rich culture making it a symbol of hope, faith and good luck.

  The two brothers, descendants of the royal family continue to live in the princely quarters.

 The two brothers, descendants of the royal family continue to live in the princely quarters.

  "This is the sword that has been passed on to us.”- Rajendra Varma, 69 years old

 "This is the sword that has been passed on to us.”- Rajendra Varma, 69 years old

 “I have realised that ever so often, those who have less are the ones who give more.”- Raja Raja Varma , 76 years old 

“I have realised that ever so often, those who have less are the ones who give more.”- Raja Raja Varma , 76 years old 

 His eyes speak more than he ever would.

His eyes speak more than he ever would.

Rajendra Varma’s eyes are full of glory.He shifts from the pride of his royal ancestry to his joyous animated self between conversations.

 “All the broken frames in the attic are reminders of the past, fighting to stay with us.”- Rajendra Varma 

“All the broken frames in the attic are reminders of the past, fighting to stay with us.”- Rajendra Varma 

“The remains of our past will always exist amongst us.As objects, places, people or just as stories for generations to come.Nothing is ever truly forgotten.”- Rajendra Varma