The Peculiar Locks of India

In India’s Tamil Nadu, about 260 miles south of Madras, sits the city of Dindigul. In this city of over two million people, families have slept without a worry for centuries, while thieves have been known to tiptoe around in fear and desperation. That’s because the city has a reputation for having the most skilled locksmiths in India. Close your eyes and make a wish. Ask for the most complicated lock to deter thieves and the locksmiths of Dindigul will grant your wish. The lock-making industry there is full of mango locks, drawer locks, shutter locks, bell locks, bullet locks, and many more. The smallest locks are ¾ of an inch in size, while the largest is the mango lock, which varies in size from 4 inches to 2 feet and can weigh up to 4½ pounds. The mango lock gets its name from the beloved summer fruit of India. Its mechanism is unlocked only by a key with a circular hollow opening at its tip. When inserted into the padlock, the hole latches onto a rod in the lock’s internal mechanism. It operates with three separate keys that can be distributed among family members or members of a business or social organization. All three keys are needed to open the lock, which is not only confusing to thieves, but makes it impossible for them to open one. Some locks have a button on them that need to be pushed before twisting the key, while others open with a pair of keys — a larger one and a smaller one. As many uses for a lock as you can come up with, the locksmiths of Dindigul can create a lock that's nearly impossible to crack.