INDIA. Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala: My cab driver got very well acquainted with my habit of frequently stopping, going out, and shooting. Hence, as we approached Thiruvananthapuram town from Varkala beach, he mentioned Shankumugham Beach and checked if I would want to shoot a unique activity of fishermen coming back from dee seas after fishing, pulling their nets, collecting and dividing the catch.
This, kind of ignited a new hope in my mind of capturing a new story and I quickly agreed, and we took a diversion towards Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and headed for Shankumugham Beach, located on the western side of the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. I was stunned to see the vast stretch of white sand and the serene atmosphere. There was no crowd as the beach was away from the city. And I guess that was a reason the beach is not well maintained, with garbage littering the entire area. The area though had all the ingredients for relaxation, eating kiosks and an open-air theatre with car parking facilities.
The main attraction of the beach beside a number of fishing boats parked on the shores was the 23 meters long sculpture of Sagarakanyaka – a Mermaid. This voluptuous mermaid, sunbathing at the Beach was created using concrete in 1990 by award-winning sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman. Another attraction on the beach is the Star-shaped restaurant.
Shanghumugham beach is considered as ‘Arattukadavu’ of Sri Ananthapadmanabhan – The presiding deity of the city and is very holy in the Hindu heritage of the area. Two festivals are organised every year in the main temple of the city, Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple and during the festival, god is taken in a procession to Shanghumugham beach for a holy bath. Thousands of Hindus perform ‘Bali Tharpanam’ here and also Ganesh Nimarjan takes place here at the time of Vinayaka Chathurthi.
I was here to watch and shoot fishing, a major activity. And we spotted a few boats coming towards the shore and also a few locals rushing towards them. My driver advised me to get ready and witness an extraordinary activity.
The locals carried bundles of ropes with them and as soon as the boats pulled up at the shores, they tied up the ropes to the fishing nets, and action stared.
It was an amazing experience watching those groups of fishermen pulling the ropes, coiling them and this went on for more than an hour. I might not do justice to the activity by just writing it down, so I will leave it to my readers to have a look at the images and see what actually goes on during such an activity…
Fishing Activity at Shankumugham Beach.
Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria
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