The beautiful Pulicat Lake, spread over an area of 350 square kilometres, is the second largest salty lagoon after Chilka Lake in Orissa state in India. The lake is about a million year old and is separated from the Bay of Bengal by an inland split called the Sriharikota Island. The lake makes a fantastic relaxation place and a picnic spot for those who like to spend time amidst the nature.
The water is shallow with an average depth of about 5 feet with clear water at some spots. It has a rich marine life, as the water is a combination of fresh water as well as the sea water. The main source of fresh water is overflow of three seasonal rivers that open into the lake. The atmosphere around the lake is also favourable for a variety of migratory birds that flock here.
To escape from the hustle-bustle of life, you can come here for a tranquil atmosphere and enjoy the boat ride. As such this place is not a tourist spot, you cannot find motorised boat rather, you have traditional punting or flat-bottom boats called as thoni in local language. You can hire one, for about 3-4 hours, from the local fishermen for Rs.500/ or less if you can bargain. Most of the things here are environmental friendly, which you can witness as you take a ride. You can watch various species of birds like waterfowl, notable pelicans, herons and flamingos, shorebirds, gulls and terns.
Sailing slowly across the lake you come across another beautiful landmark - the lighthouse. For more adventure, if you move on towards northwards about 5 kms, you come to the lake s mouth where you have deep bumpy waters. Just opposite to this lake-mouth you have a small village Karimanal that is a historical site. This is the place where the Dutch and the British tied their ships. If you move further north about 35 kms, you come to densely wooded island of Sriharikota.
Even here, you can watch thousands of large water-birds that stopover especially during winter. All-in-all, to get a real feel of the life at the lake, with overloaded ferry boats transporting fisher folk to the villages on the other side, boats landing fish-catches, tribal women picking prawns in the lake with their hands, bullock-carts crossing the water towards dusk to reach their destinations, visiting this place offer some of the rare and fascinating sites to be enjoyed.