Many cities require a geographic genius to identify them from just one photo, but exceptions like Paris, famously known for its Eiffel Tower, exist. Kochi, Kerala is not as renowned as Paris, yet this iconic and rustic image is recognizable to millions of people living there.
Chinese fishing nets, also known as Cheenavala, are a type of fishing net that are found in Kochi, Kerala. They are an iconic symbol of the city, and have been used for centuries by the local fishermen. The Chinese fishing nets were first introduced to Kochi by traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan in the 13th century.
They are also known by another name, ‘stake-held lift nets’, as they are operated using several poles. The nets are fixed to the ground, and are then lifted and lowered in the water by the fishermen. The nets are still in use today, and are still a major source of income for the fishermen in Kochi. The nets are typically used in the shallow waters of the backwaters of Kochi, and in the lagoons, although they can also be used in deeper waters.
The Chinese fishing nets require a lot of skill and expertise to operate, and the fishermen of Kochi have spent generations perfecting their techniques. They are an important part of the local culture, and a symbol of the city’s rich maritime history.