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Samkranthi Vanibhom begins

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HOMEMADE: The traditional annual rural market, Samkranthi Vanibhom, which began at Samkranthi near Kottayam on Thursday. —
HOMEMADE: The traditional annual rural market, Samkranthi Vanibhom, which began at Samkranthi near Kottayam on Thursday. —

Staff Reporter

Traditional goods are put on sale at this annual rural market in Kottayam

KOTTAYAM: They are back. Many of them with their screwpine products; others with traditional iron implements; almost all of them with an eye on the household market. The annual Samkranthi Vanibhom, remnant of the age old rural markets that flourished all over Kerala in the past, being held at Samkranthi near here, commenced on Thursday.

During their heyday, these rural markets acted as the major commercial hub for the artisans and socially backward communities to sell their products to an agrarian community surrounding them. Screwpine mats of various types, baskets for use on different occasions, kitchen knives, axes of varying types dominated the market.

However, in modern times, while these traditional products are still on display, plastic products and aluminium goods have taken over the space.

Most of the traditional products come to Samkranthi from Vaikom and nearby places where the annual market is one of the high points of annual sales for these products, which are basically manufactured by women. They used to arrive with their wares a day in advance and stay at the homes of their relatives before they go back after selling off all their products within a fortnight. However, today they can return home every day, thanks to better transportation facilities. Moreover, the effective sales have now come down to a few days.

There was an effort from the part of the Grama Panchayat authorities to resurrect the rural market a few years back. However, it appears that revival of the traditional rural markets need a more comprehensive and imaginative programme from the part of the authorities.

Meanwhile, another annual rural market begins its functioning a few kms away at Pakkil on Friday, the beginning of the Malayalam month of Karkitakam. Those who find their sales down in Samkranthi can now move their products to Pakkil and try their luck there.

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