Dear members

The following mail is very interesting one. I am posting this mail contents
from my mail Inbox which is well narrated by one of my friend
who used to send mail like this.I hope all of our Forum Readers
will get relax.


Recently I read from mails about the copper content in the water of Tamraparni river
in Tirunelveli district and its naming so for the added copper content. My memories
were drawn back to olden days of copper use in day-to-day life while I was leading
a student life in Kerala. Most of the references are as such to Kerala. I am 68 years now.

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The bigger one left out was Chembu boiler. This fellow was mostly a friend of teashops.
Always water will be getting heated in the boiler and as required, tea, coffee or milk water
is prepared. One employ used to be permanent in all teashops. But in central Kerala
use of boiler in houses was uncommon in bathrooms.

In temples the use of copper was much. Normally sreekovil and Mandapam used
to have copper tops. The kodimaram of the medium temples were having only
chembu ura. Now copper with gold plating is done in most temples.

Coming to youngsters of the family we were having chembu vali.
This was also some times called Mookku. Normally Rasam, Sambar etc
were taken in these valis and served. There was a nose through which proper quantity
could be served for rasam. For sambar etc appai or thavi was used to serve.

Like chembu there was also chombu. Chombu was invariable item for all poojas.
This was considered devine. Normally for smaller poojas chombu is used for Kalasam.
Normal size of the chombu is about 4 inches by 4 inches like a ball.
Chombu as I said was never for Keeping on Agni. Chombu is still surviving
for all poojas for Kalasam including Tharpanam for keeping water.
Chombu is used to be of made of pure quality copper. Chombu never used to be tinned.
It was never used for drinking water from it.

Chombu had many miniature brothers. Among them VIP was Kasi chombu,
since these chombs were collected after visit of Kasi filling ganga water and closed
with lid and sealed. Normally every week or month they were specially washed
and kept back. The ganga water is served by all close to the person taking leave
to other worlds. Cleaning used to be done after bath and all sanctity. In all houses
there used to be one or two Kasi chombu. When once used the chombu is discarded.

Tharpana muttai and Thambalam are another two items. As the very name indicate
Tharpanamuttai is used for such functions only. Thambalam is used on all occasions
like Devine, samskaras and others. Normally in temples flower is offered during pooja
keeping on Thambalam. Praasadam is offered from Copper thambalam in temples.
Thambalam is used to keep misc items, during poojas . Dakshina with betel and
fruit is offered in Thambalam. In kanyadan Thambalam is used to receive the holy water.
However his 1st cousine Pithalai Thambalam has over took him in many samskaras.

Another young brother is Kinnams. They are also used for annual ceremonies.
Normally the Kinnams used to be kept cleaned after a ceremony and never
touched occasionally. For next ceremony only they were taken.

Though today we have copper glass and used for water therapy, I have not seen
copper glasses used for coffee or tea or water. As I remarked earlier the 1st cousine
Pithalai glass was used for those occasions.

Yes- now my Panchapathram and Uddirini. These are used on all occasions and
well survive today. Even copper Thambalam is replaced with Pithalai Thambalam.
Pancha pathram and Uddirini of copper is used for daily Sandhya, Tharpanam and
annual ceremonies. However during samskaras he is mostly replaced with
silver metal made thamballams, Pancha pathram and uddirini. Some use for
sandhya also brass made or silver made Panchapathrams.

I have seen on display gold Thambalams, Panchapathram and Uddirini in GRT Chennai.
I am not aware any body use them during Upanayanam, Vivaham, seemantham or
such occasions.

Pancha pathram normally appear the size of 3 inches diameter circular by 4 inches in height .
Uddirini will take 3 or 4 drops of water from Pancha pathram . Actually the item got the name
from the following legend. There used to have five small vessels for different Arghyams, Prokshanm,
and Achamanm etc.earlier. There was total confusion using five vessels.
Hence it was codified to use one vessel for all ( I am not sure about the codifier either
Vaisampaya, Yanjavalkya or Bodhayana?)

In addition to these copper was used for many other items. My listing is the most common
I saw in my early days. Other members can add to it.


I hope you are enjoyed to read it. You can post your experience so that the younger
generation can know history about these type of vessels or something used in earlier days and its uses.