Aranmula kannadi (mirror) is a special type of mirror produced in Aranmula, a village in Alleppey district of Kerala. It is a legacy of the ancient metallurgical and craft tradition of the state.
It is believed that a royal chieftain brought eight families of craftsmen well versed in temple arts and crafts to work with the Parthasarathy Temple of Aranmula, from where this tradition originated. The uniqueness of the mirror is that it is not made of glass but an alloy of copper and tin, the actual mixing of which is a secret known only to the families who make these mirrors. It is then polished for several days to achieve the highly reflective surface. Being a front surface reflection mirror, it does not have the secondary reflections or other aberrations usually found in the back surface reflection mirrors.
The craft which was in danger of dying and leaving its makers without a livelihood, has been given a fillip since its obtaining the GI patent in 2003. It is now a much sought after gift item for tourists and foreigners, and often given as awards and felicitations. It is usually made in various traditional shapes like conch, elephant head, peacock, etc. as well as simple ornamental hand held or back stand designs. It comes in various sizes and in prices ranging from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 60,000.