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Pulicat Lake

Pulicat Lake is one of the popular destinations of tourists, who love to be with nature. This lake shares its boundary with two states, namely Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, in southern India. It is 60 kms away from the Tamil Nadu capital city, Chennai. Pulicat Lake covers an area of 450 square kms, of which, a sixth portion lies within Tamil Nadu. The surface area shrinks to about 250 square kms during summer. Maximum length is 60 kms and maximum width is 18 kms. This lake contains brackish water, meaning the presence of salinity in it. Thus, it is not a typical sweet water body. This lake is second largest of brackish water lakes in India. The island of Sriharikota works as a barrier, separating the lake from Bay of Bengal. Since this lake is adjacent to the ocean, it can be also called as a lagoon.


Pulicat Lake is located on the eastern part of Indian coastline, along the water body of the Bay of Bengal. This lake’s northern boundary falls in the state of Andhra Pradesh and southern boundary falls in Tamil Nadu.


Three rivers that pour into the lagoon are Arani, Kalangi and Swarnamukhi from southern, northwestern and northern directions respectively. Two channels, one each at northern and southern contours of the lake forms the exchange points with saline water of Bay of Bengal. The water quality of the lake fluctuates very widely through time periods of the year. Summer, pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon witness marked difference in depth and width of lake mouth.

Salinity of water in the lake varies from near zero in the monsoon period to reach values of super salinity in subsequent periods. The bottom habitat of this lake is classified into three zones as per characteristics of the bed composition. Southern zone is having sand as a major component with some admixture of mud. Northern zone is predominantly muddy. Remaining areas form third zone, where sand and mud are present in equal proportions and have weeds growing all over. This zone provides the right environment for biodiversity. Very diverse species of organisms are found in the lowest levels of the lake bed.


The rich flora diversity exhibited.


This lake provides right environmental conditions for the development and sustenance of many varieties of birds and fish. Even some rare variety of green sea turtles is also located at Sriharikota beach.

Avi Fauna

Birds of many varieties add beauty to the lake. The shallow waters of the lake are responsible for subsistence of many birds. It is also stopover for many migratory birds, particularly between months of October to march. In fact the portions of the lake, falling in Tamil Nadu, are declared as bird sanctuary. Many birds are found here at right seasons. Flamingoes form a major attraction. Kingfishers, pelicans, herons and storks and many more species visit this lake.


Many people around the lakes periphery have fishing as main source of livelihood. Mullets and Catfish are found in abundance. Tiger prawns, jellyfish, finfish and green crabs are also found in the lake.


Tourists visit this lake mainly to watch the beautiful site of thousands of birds flocking the lake. The flamingos give a touch of pink to the surrounding areas. People can also visit the 17th century fort built by the Dutch.

Best Time to Visit

Mid December to January is time for a Flamingo festival. For general birdwatching, any time between October to March is good for a visit to the location.

How to Reach

By Train

Pulicat Lake is 60 kms away from the city of Chennai. The nearest suburban railway station is Ponneri, which is about 18 kms from Pulicat. Chennai is well connected to all metro cities in India, through network of railway.

By Air

Chennai serves as a nodal point for all international and domestic tourists. Convenient flight schedules serve as relief for frequent flyers.

By Road

All roads in Tamil Nadu are well maintained. Any form of road travel by bus or by taxi is convenient.

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