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About Fort Kochi Beach & Chinese Fishing Nets, Kochi


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Situated along Fort Kochi in Kochi, Kerala, Fort Kochi Beach is a tranquil beach adjoining the Arabian Sea. Lined with a beautiful sidewalk, the beach also has a fort to boast of which is also a major tourist attraction of the spot. People usually visit it for routinely morning and evening walks or just to spend some quality time in solitude.

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Fort Kochi is a seaside town in the south-western part of Main Kochi which is known for its old-world colonial charm. The place still holds on to every single cultural change it has gone through over the centuries. We can see remnants of British rule all over the country. But tourists flock hear all around the year to have a glimpse of how Portuguese or Dutch colonialism affected parts of our country. The quaint city is dotted with similar structures and has an overall ambience that keeps reminding you of the colonial powers that once ruled over the place.

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The fort region of Kochi has seen the rise and fall of some European powers, mainly the Portuguese and the Chinese before that and the Dutch after, before it went under the nation-wide British rule in the 18th century. Fort Kochi is dotted with European structures, churches and other architectural buildings which take you right back to a different era back in time.

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It has that effect on the travellers, where they get absorbed by the serene surroundings and unique architectures. Unlike most forts of middle and northern India, Fort Kochi is not about historical fortifications, canons and ruins of old palatial buildings. Till date, it has the vibe of an ancient colonial city with its toy-town like streets, colourful and charming buildings and a picturesque view out at the beach - much like the small towns of southern Europe.

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The fort town of Kochi is situated along the Malabar Coast of India and offers a serene view of the Arabian Sea, especially during the sunset. The meandering streets dotted with historical structures all end up at this beach where the tourists can enjoy a great atmosphere to relax as well as have some fun. The remains of the first structure built by the Portuguese, the Emmanuel Fort, stands at the shore of Arabian Sea as a reminder of a glorious past.

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You can take a quiet walk along the sands of Fort Kochi beach, enjoy the sunset and have a look around some of the historical spots like the fort and the famous Chinese nets; or you can indulge in water activities like fishing, dolphin sighting, beach photography and more. You can also treat yourself to the delicious treats sold in the food stalls at the beach - grilled fish, shrimps, prawns there is no dearth of it. There are boat rides available to have a look around the numerous mini islands in the backwaters which separate the main city of Ernakulum from Fort Kochi.

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Don't forget to try the local cuisines of the place. And do get an experience from the fishermen of using those popular Chinese fishing nets which are fun to watch.

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Chinese Fishing Nets

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Popularly known as Cheenavala, the Chinese Fishing Nets are the most iconic and popular attractions of Kerala peculiar to Kochi located next to Fort Kochi. One of the significant cultural symbols of Kerala, the spot is also one of the most photographed places in all of town, attracting hordes of tourists and photographers on an everyday basis. The image of the beautifully silhouetted fishing nets against the backdrop of clear waters at sunset is really appeasing and makes up for a breathtakingly beautiful sight.

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The Chinese Fishing Nets are basically vast fishing nets which are fixed on bamboo and teak poles. They are then let down into the sea through unique mechanisms and by weighing them down with large stones tied to ropes. These nets are left in the sea before they are pulled back again by tugging the ropes after collecting a significant amount of catch. Considered to be the ingenious way of fishing, these majestic Chinese fishing nets are operated by four to six fishermen and watching this spectacular process is in itself a spellbinding experience.

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It is still not very clear about how the usage of Chinese Fishing Nets began in India, however, the most pertinent facts suggest that these nets were brought to Kochi by the Chinese explorer Zheng He from the court of a Chinese emperor Kubala Khan during the 14th century. A contradictory flaw to this theory is that these fishing nets are now not found anywhere except Kochi and surrounding areas; not even in China.

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It is also suggested that the fishing nets were brought to Kochi in the 16th century from Macau by the Portuguese who colonized both Macau and Kochi. The mechanisms and working of these nets was then modified to suit the depth and requirements of fishing at sea in Kochi. Facts supporting this theory are that these fishing nets are known by different Portuguese names like padrao, calusanthy, savaya, bras etc. for the same reason.

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The Chinese Fishing Nets are usually 10 metres in height and can spread around 20 metres over the sea. They have got the look and feel of traditional hammocks and are suspended by wooden poles made of bamboo and teak. Counter-weighted by huge stones and fishing boulders, the nets are let down in the sea for five to seven minutes before they are tugged back with the help of ropes. Over four to six fishermen operate one fishing net and the catch however, small or big is sold off immediately at the shores itself. Fishing through these Chinese Fishing Nets is one of the oldest and the ingenious ways in Kochi. Different nets have different limits of operating depths and they are used as per the tidal state at the time. All in all, the entire process of letting the majestic nets down and bringing them up again is a spectacular sight and an enchanting experience to gain.

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1. You can stand on the platform and watch the fisherfolk in action from as near as you want. However, the local fisherfolks may ask you to tip them later. Make sure you make it clear beforehand and settle this conversation before you volunteer to stand on their platforms for watching the spectacle. Sometimes you can also stand on the plank and try out the process yourself.

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2. You can choose from the fresh batch of fish caught in the nets, buy them at the spot and even have it cooked for you. With a view of the sea in front, you can savour the delicious freshly caught fish in front of you.

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3. Lately, the shores and sea is getting increasingly littered. Most of the fishing nets bring up garbage and waste along with the catch. In case you are willing to buy these fish for consumption, check the fresh batch carefully.

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4. The shores also have make-do stalls and shops selling handicrafts, souvenirs, knick-knacks etc. You can also find local women and men going around offering to braid your hair with plastic spaghetti or wool.

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The best time to visit the place is during monsoons. The rainy season is also a good and profitable time for the fishermen because the catch is generous and the nets are let down inside around 300- 400 times.

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Places to visit in Kochi

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