Legend has it that the famous Chinese explorer, Zheng He, introduced the Chinese Fishing Nets to the fishermen in Kochi over 500 years ago. Even though he’d leave, these would become staple sights in these parts. The Chinese fishing nets, or Cheenvala for the locals, have attracted visitors in the Fort Kochi area for centuries. Most tour guides swear that the Vasco da Gama Square is where one can get a wonderful view of these massive structures.
Dawn and dusk is when one can see the Cheenvala in action. Over four fishermen operate one of these nets which are constructed of bamboo and teak poles. Their design is unique, enabling only one person pulling at the main plank to be able to drag it into the sea. Certain teak poles have lights on them that are supposed to attract fish. Watching these majestic nets being suspended in mid- air, row upon row, is a truly spellbinding experience.