This small village is world-famous for its metal mirrors with no refraction, the Aranmula Kannadi (kannadi means mirror in Malayalam). The technology for this is not used anywhere else in the world. Those of you who are artistically inclined should check out the fine 18th century murals in Parthasarathi temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, on the banks of the river Pampa.
The annual commemoration of the installation of the deity falls on the last day of the Onam Festival. It is as part of this celebration that the Arunmula boat race is held on this day.
The two day Aranmula boat race is more a water fiesta than a competition, conducted during Onam. 26 snake boats participate in the event which is marked by a colourful water carnrival – an imposing effigy of Sree Krishna is taken out in procession on the lake with children dressed as nymphs and princesses. On the second day, snake boats decorated with silken parasols, carrying helmsmen, oarsmen and singer assemble near the temples early in the morning and then move away in pairs, creating a magnificent pageant. The boat race proper is held in the afternoon.
The Vijnana Kalavedi at Arunmula imparts training in the traditional arts and crafts of Kerala. Kathakali, classical dance, classical music as well as Kalaripayattu (the martial art of Kerala) are taught here. The centre is frequently visited by a number of foreign tourists who can stay here for varying periods and have a first hand knowledge about Kerala culture.
Arunmula is also famous for its metal mirrors made of bell metal. This is a unique art which is not found anywhere else in the world. It is believed that a divine visitation inspired a widow of this village to discover a mysterious blend of bronze which could be waxed bright into crystal clear mirror. The mystery of its production is a family heirloom handed down through generations.
- Nearest railway station: Chengannur, which is about 1O km away
- Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 115 km away.