A Sudden Plan
This was a suddenly planned trip during our stay in Chennai. One a cloudy saturday afternoon, after having a sumptuous lunch, when we were rolling over the bed discussing about our last bike trip to Mahabalipuram, suddenly my husband presented this nice idea of a bike trip to Pulicat. We sprung up immediately from the bed as it was already 2PM and got ready for a bike trip to Pulicat.
Pulicat is a historic seashore town in the Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu, about 60kms north of Chennai.The lake is a shallow salt water lagoon which stretches about 60 kilometres along the coast making it the second largest in the country. Sriharikota, the rocket launching island, separates the Pulicat Lake from Bay of Bengal.
Being a historic seashore town, Pulicat has witnessed a lot of traders including Portuguese, Dutch and British who have left their trails through the beautiful forts, churches and cemeteries scattered all around the place. The place also has a bird sanctuary which attracts thousands of migratory birds, with flamingos ruling the area.
The Bike Trip
The distance was covered in 2 Hours following the this route:
After you overcome the city traffic and hit the Ponneri Highway, you may encounter an endless line of trucks near the tollgate. Bike was quite easy to pass by the trucks.
The overall road was quite okay though the roads inside the Pulicat town was full of mud and dust and not an enchanting one.
Its better to ask out some locals rather than following your GPS for the lake direction as we were lost at some point of time after entering Pulicat.
Rather than Pulicat, I found the journey more scenic. You will cross numerous small villages with lush green paddy fields occasionally abrupted by some mud huts with thatched roofs and some lakes/ponds fully covered by water hyacinth.
As you will reach near the lake, you may find boatman waiting by the road to get people lured into boating. Boating is through the fishing boats and nothing done by government tourism. As such there is no notable presence of promoted tourism apart from a couple of signboards showing directions and a few welcome message. Strong fishy smells has filled the air all around. Boats, fishermen and sea all over the place.
You can take a half an hour of boat ride to Pulicat beach. The ride is quite enjoyable and scenic and you can sight many water-birds. First you will pass the narrow lanes across the fishing hamlet followed by the bigger part of the lake.
The beach is relatively fresh and clean - almost like the Paradise Beach of Pondicherry though much narrower with water on either sides giving you a 360 degree view of the sea with crabs crawling all across the beach.
You can visit the nearby lighthouse and dutch cemeteries. There was a church as well which was not in a good condition.
A sunset by the backwater can be a treat for the photo-enthusiasts.
After spending a couple of hours enjoying a crimson sky and the sun falling inside the backwater, we headed back to Chennai following the same route and drenched by sudden summer rains.
The place can be good for a day trip but definitely not a must-go place. Though the place has its own rustic charm, but it could have been a potential tourist destination of the south if maintained properly and promoted by government.
Photo credits: trawell.in,thehindu.com,travel-india.co.in, google.com and my own Camera Phone