Anyone who goes to Kochi would take time off to visit Fort Kochi, to see the famous Chinese fishing nets. On my first visit six years ago, since our schedule was packed and we had just about an hour to spare, and we couldn't spend much time there. We had just enough time to visit the St. Francis Church, and pose for a few photos with these nets in the background! And I remember planning then to make a second visit soon.
The next time we were in Kochi, we rectified our earlier mistake, and spent a considerable amount of time just walking about Fort Kochi. I wanted to see how these unique contraptions work. The history behind these installations is not very clear, with theories that these were introduced by early Chinese traders, or sailors from Kochi who traded with the East, or it might have been the Portuguese settlers too. And these continue to be used even today.
How it works: Heavy stones are tied to the nets. The nets are submerged in water for 20-30 minutes. Following this, three to four men pull up the nets. Watching them work is wonderful. If someone wants to know what co-ordination means, they have to learn it from them.
The haul: Each time they pull up the nets, an assorted catch is up for grabs. The haul is not very much, and I still wonder how feasible it is to use these nets. Apparently, the catch varies with the tide.
Live seafood experience: The other most important thing (or rather experience) I wanted to do, being a self-proclaimed seafood lover, was to buy fresh fish and get it cooked live. There are a number of stalls that sell all varieties of fish. A bit of haggling is required. We opted for white pomfret and a couple of tiger prawns, and got it "grilled" at a small eatery nearby (grilled = he still added liberal amounts of oil!). It was extra tasty, simply because it was bought fresh and cooked. We rounded off the evening with an amazing view to behold.