Curious Case of Kodinhi: The Twin Town of India

The best stories are heard from the road and I can vouch for it totally

The mention of Kodinhi was a chance conversation between me and a lady I met during my train journey towards Bangalore early this year. Honestly what she told me about this village left me surprised as well as in awe and I knew that I have to visit Kodinhi to see it myself, no matter what. After all, imagine yourself walking into a dusty village and no matter which direction you look in, you will get to see twins! Almost in every corner of this village….

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As I was walking through this village and getting to see the identical faces, I admit I noticed resentment on few faces as to why I am pointing camera towards them for a click. Some said that we cash on them and to respect their privacy, I decided to hold on to my camera this time and engaged in a casual conversation to know more about this village. Hence, whatever pictures I am using in this blog is surely not mine 🙂

I am writing this blog just out of sheer excitement of knowing about Kodinhi and what it is…

The Village

Kodinhi is a small town in Kerala which is now famous as the twin town of India, far surpassing the world average of twins born in a year. In a total population of around 3000-3500, I was told that the village boost a whopping number of 300 plus twins. This means a total of 600- 650 individuals with identical siblings in a single village, which by far surpasses the notion that India has a very low rate of twinning in world.

In this Twin Town, out of every 1,000 births, 45 are twins. This is an extremely high rate compared to India’s average of 6 out of every 1,000 (last shared)

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Reason behind the High Twin Rate

Medical science is trying to find out the exact reason of high twinning rate in this village but so far have not succeeded. Artificial insemination or other fertility treatments have been ruled out as the villagers are too poor to afford them. Genetic, biological, pollutants or chemical factors have been discounted as well since the effect is localized in this one village and births are happening healthy, without any defects.

The oldest twin pair that lives in the village today was born in 1949. An elder from the village told me that he witnessed the twinning phenomenon in Kodinhi around 70 years ago, when everyone thought it to be normal. But when they saw the twinning rate increasing with every birth, it really baffled them and amazingly the exact cause remains unknown.

Interestingly even those who marry outside the village and move away, display a substantially higher than normal rate of having twins. Another interesting story (though I have my doubts here) I was told was of an infertile couple who relocated themselves to this village and was blessed with twins the very same year.

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Facts

I did a little research on the twinning phenomenon around the world to understand the exact cause and found out that a similar twinning scenario is recorded in Candido Godoi, Brazil, and the researchers have established it as genetic. This Brazilian community believes in consanguinity. They inbreed, and do not marry outside their community, but in Kodinhi, it’s a different story and what’s interesting is that this isn’t exclusive to Kodinhi alone. There are several smaller neighbouring villages, like Cherumukku, Umri that show a similar incidence but in Kodinhi the rate is slight higher.

Interesting the numbers that are given by the villagers of the surviving twins is labelled inaccurate by few researchers. They have reasoned that there might have been cases of twin miscarriages, stillborns where one child would have passed away before being born or in other cases, children who died young and were not remembered. And this is posing as a major hurdle for them

The locals say that people here consume a lot of yam and root vegetables, which can be a reason for high rate of twinning while the local women believes it to be the magic of air and water.

This land has blessed an infertile couple with twins after all, I was reminded suddenly. Whatever the reason is, the fact that Kodinhi has high rate of twinning births in India has re-affirmed my belief that our country- India truly is a wonderland

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