Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Chinese Fishing Nets or Cheenavala

Kochi: Chinese Fishing Net

Kochi: Chinese Fishing Net

Kochi: Chinese Fishing Ner

The major attractions of Fort Kochi are its beaches and the unique type of Chinese fishing nets which are dotted along the coastal lines of this part of Kochi. These Chinese fishing nets are locally called ‘cheenavala’ in Malayalam. The nets are believed to have been introduced during the 14th century by Zheng He from the court of Kubla khan. The influence of those Chinese explorers over the local fishermen in Kochi is highlighted by the fact that these nets still exist in different parts of the city and outside china this method is adopted only in Kerala.   
Basically the 'cheenavala' is a cantilever structure which consists of a huge outstretched net which is suspended into the sea. It is lifted with the help of some counterbalancing weights on the other end which requires around 6 people to pull. The fishermen lower the net around 100-200 times a day to catch fish and they also offer tourists a chance to pull the rope of weights down to lift the net from the water. The little number of fish that they catch is sold locally on the nearby street. Small food counters on the street also sell dishes of fishes. Also, fishing is done depending on the tides. During high tides, the nets are not lowered to avoid damage of the nets.
It is one of the major attractions of the city and hence is a must-see when in Kochi. The best spot to watch these spectacular Chinese fishing nets is from the Vasco da Gama square.


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