Mannar is known as the Bell Metal Town, it is town in Chenganuur taluk Alappuzha district of Kerala state, India. It is the second biggest destination for metal products in India, after to the city of Moradabad, U.P. Mannar is situated on the banks of the Pampa River, Manimala River and Achan Kovil River.
Mannar occupied importance in the annals of Travancore history. On the northern side of the Shiva temple, known as Padanilam, a decisive war (1741 A.D.) was waged between King Marthanda Varma and the Kayamkulam Raja in which the latter was defeated and had to enter into an agreement with the former. This treaty is known as Mannar Treaty.
It is believed that about 200 years ago during the king's rule a community known as Vishwakarma was invited from Shankarankovil and Tanjavoor of Tamil Nadu to build temples. It was a tedious and time consuming process so those people got settled in Kerala. Then they started moving around to build temples in other places. Soon after, many of those people started to do works individually like making idols, bells etc. and the metal handicraft became their profession. There are hundreds of traditional 'ALA'S'(kilns or furnaces) in Mannar. There are many small-scale manufacturing establishments engaged in this business, employing traditional workers.
Bell metal, brass and bronze are called red metals also. Bell metal is a heavy metal having the density of 8.7 gm/cm3 and a very high melting point of 1500˙C. It is the mixture of copper and tin in the ratio of 78% and 22% respectively. It gives a resonating sound and this is the main reason of making bells out of this alloy. The resonating sound comes because the atoms in the crystals of the alloy can interchange their positions when we struck the bell. This alloy has a rare property of expanding slightly when it cools down. Thus the fine cracking or gaps in the mold are covered automatically. It is costlier and harder than other metals and alloys used and difficult to work on while finishing.
Some of the unique works of the Mannar craftsmen include the world class products like the world's biggest cauldron placed in an antique shop in Jew Town in Kochi, the world's biggest church lamp at Kuravilangad Church, the world's biggest temple lamp at Chettikulangara Devi Temple, the world's biggest temple bell at Shimla Temple, the world's biggest church bell at the Cathedral Church, New Delhi and the replica of the famous 'Tree of Life' and the 'Knowledge Lamp', the 17 century bronze sculptures for a museum in Chennai.