The folklores and songs of Kerala mention the markets that come alive in cities and villages during the season of Onam. Even in the Onappattu that tells the legend of the king Mahabali, there is detailed description of the hopes and dreams of the buyers and vendors of the Onam markets. Earlier, it was the local markets that contributed to the trade exchange. The revenue of the government also greatly depended on such markets. The financial transactions of Onam season also centred on these trade markets.
One such market that celebrates the legacy and tradition of the old times is the Pakkil Sankrama Vanibham in Kottayam district. The trade fair extends from the first of Karkkidakam to the first of Chingam.. The rural market is set up every year without fail in the ground opposite the Dharma Sastha Temple at Pakkil.
As every tradition has a legend behind it, Pakkil also has a legend for its existence. The legend goes that Lord Parasurama had arrived at the place to set up a temple, but was unable to install the idol. Pakkanar, a character from the folklore, who was passing by installed the idol by saying ‘Ivide parkku’ that translates to ‘stay here’. In return Parasuraman allowed Pakkanar to come here every year and cut the trees from the first of Karkkidakam.
The descendants of Pakkanar is believed to have started the trade fair after offering their ethnic wares made of reeds to the temple. Pakkil Sankrama Vanibham used to be one of the largest open markets in Central Travancore.