Chinese fishing nets or Cheenavala as locals call is just a stone’s throw away from private bus stand of Fort Kochi. As you walk to the beach you will notice a few tall spiderlike bamboo structures partially submerged in water balanced by large stones to the other end. These fishing nets are operational all through the day and night so you can watch them in operation anytime. If you are a seafood lover you can take home some fresh catch too.
The origin of these fishing nets in Kochi is known to be dating back to AD 1400s. They are known to be introduced to Kerala culture by Chinese traders who traveled to Kerala during those times. The Chinese fishing nets or Cheenavala has been operational in Fort Kochi for more than 500 years. It is interesting to watch the age-old simple mechanism of catching fishes. However, the popularity of these fishing nets is coming down due to its manual nature and lower catch rate.
You can find Chinese fishing nets across many places in Kerala. Most of them are made of steel pipes. The Cheenavala at Fort Kochi is made of bamboo and teak poles. Each fishing net is about 10 feet in height and spread 20 meters in water. The fishing nets can be seen submerged in water with big rocks tied to coir ropes balancing them. It can be described as a simple see-saw mechanism on a large structure. Each fishing net is operated by six fishermen. The net is lifted by lowering the stones manually. It takes four fishermen to lower the stones while the rest two collect the catch on the other side of the net. Though the catch is small in size due to the frequency of catch, it is sold off easily as the catch is fresh and free from preservatives. Some of the fishing nets have lights attached to its teak poles. These lights are used to attract fishes at night.
What else to do?
Since viewing Chinese fishing nets won’t take much of time, you can also:
- Enjoy a cool breeze by the beach
- Take a boat trip from the boat jetty
- Shop at the local market for small knick-knacks
- Watch sunset and waves play
- Eat Kerala meals at close by restaurants
- Visit Jew town, Synagogue, or Mattancherry Palace
- Simply relax
How to get there
Kochi can be connected through air, rail, water, and road. The nearest airport to Chinese Fishing Nets (in Fort Kochi) is Cochin International Airport Limited (Nedumbassery), the railway station is Ernakulam Junction. You can also take a bus to Fort Kochi or opt for a laid-back boat journey from Boat Jetty.
Best Time to Visit
Chinese fishing nets, Fort Kochi can be visited anytime as there are no fixed timings. Moreover, these fishing nets are operational throughout the day.
- Mattancherry Palace/ Dutch Palace
- Jew Town
- Paradesi Synagogue
- Fort Kochi Beach