Kodinhi is a village in Malappuram district in Kerala. The village is situated close to the town of Tirurangadi and is home to around 2,000 families. The village’s claim to fame is the abnormal amount of twins born there. Kodinhi only has around 2,000 families, yet there are 250 sets of twins officially registered there.
This is a strange phenomenon in this town and a story goes that this trend started some 60-70 years ago. Globally, twins comprise just 6 of every 1,000 live births, while in Kodinhi they comprise 42 of 1,000 live births. This is a 700% increase. This is all the more remarkable because twins are especially rare in India—on average, four out of every 1,000 Indian births are twins. In Kodinhi, the number is 45 per 1,000 births.
In 2008 alone 15 pairs of twins were born in the village out of 300 healthy deliveries and this year is expected to top that number.
Adding another layer of odd to the puzzle is the fact that even those who marry outsiders and move away from the village exhibit a substantially higher than normal rate of having twins.
Many funny stories are doing rounds in the schools about the teachers finding it difficult to identify the twins. The local people too face similar piquant situation. The identity crisis is not confined to schools alone. There are also jokes that the newly-wed couples of Kodinhi often mistake their partners for the other twins of the pairs in the beginning of their conjugal life!
Even as the researchers go back from Kodinhi with more questions than answers. Experts who have visited the remote tropical village of Kodinhi, in Kerala, have been left scratching their heads over the phenomenon that has seen almost six times as many twins born than the global average.
What is fascinating is the increasing numbers of twins with each passing year, so much so that I feel in the past ten years the number of twins in Kodinhi has doubled.’
Another factor that bucks the trend is that twins occur in women who are generally over 5ft 3in in height. The height of women in Kodinhi is around 5ft on average.’
The residents of Kodinhi, which is in the lush state of Kerala in the south of India, have even taken to calling their home ‘twin town‘ and have gone as far as to set up the Twins and Kin Association (TAKA).
‘In my medical opinion there are around 300 to 350 twins within the village boundaries of Kodinhi,‘ said Dr Krishnan Sribiju who has been studying the medical marvel of Kodinhi for the past two years.
Although 220 sets of twins have been officially registered in the village Dr Sribiju believes the real number to be far higher.
Dr. Sribiju speculates that the answer lies in something the villagers are eating or drinking, but none has been able to isolate the substance that could be responsible. Further compounding this theory is that the eating habits of the villagers of Kodinhi don’t seem to be any different than other villages in Kerala. Dr. Sribiju has said he plans to continue research in Kodinhi with more detailed biochemical analysis equipment, but for now the abnormal number of twins here remains an unexplained anomaly.