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Vellavali, Kumarakom Overview

Vellavali, a method of fishing used to catch Karimeen (Pearl Spot) is quite common in Kumarakom. This method requires expertise in fishing and swimming.

First, a piece of coir rope, about a km long, is shaped into an inverted U. Tender palm leaves are attached to the rope and then two fishermen tie the ends of the rope to their waists while standing in water in bright sunlight. The men then walk through shallow water using poles. The palm leaves tied to their waists shine in the water. The light reflected from the leaves scares the Pearl Spot and they hide in the muddy areas. At this time, expert swimmers, who have been following the two men in country boats, dive into the muddy water and catch the prized fish with their bare hands.

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