Pulicat Lake

Pulicat Lake

Infobox lake
lake_name = Pulicat Lake
image_lake =
caption_lake =
image_bathymetry =
caption_bathymetry =
location = Coromandel Coast
coords = coord|13.56590|N|80.17478|E|type:waterbody_region:IN|display=inline,title
type = brackish
inflow =
outflow =
catchment =
basin_countries = India
length = 60 km
width = 17.5 km
area = from 250 km² to 460 km²
depth =
max-depth =
volume =
residence_time =
shore =
elevation =
islands =
cities =

Pulicat Lake ("Pazhaverkaadu" in "Tamil") is the second largest brackish-water lake on the Coromandel Coast of southeastern India. It lies at the border of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states, 60 km north of Chennai. The barrier island of Sriharikota separates the lake from the Bay of Bengal. Sriharikota is home to the town of Pulicat.

The lake is 60 km long and varies from 0.2 to 17.5 km in width. It is the second-largest brackish water ecosystem on India's east coast, after Orissa's Chilka Lake. The lake is shallow, and varies in area with the tides and seasonal rainfall, from 460 km² in high water to 250 km² in low water.

The shallow lake is known for its diversity of aquatic birds, and is an important stopover on migration routes. Approximately 15,000 flamingos visit the lake each year, along with pelicans, kingfishers, herons, painted storks, spoonbills and ducks. The beaches of Sriharikota are an important nesting spot for sea turtles.

A legend goes that the Dutch and the British berthed their ships on the "Karimanal" Village, right opposite the mouth of the lake, from where the name 'Coramandel' was coined.

The Pulicat Town is an interesting spot, with the First Dutch Cemetery with 22 protected tombs (1631 to 1655 AD) and another Landmark Dutch Cemetery with 76 tombs and mausoleums protected by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), a dilapidated Dutch Church and a Dutch Fort in shambles, dating back to 1609. The tombstones in both the Cemetries tell us the story of the Pulicat, from 1606 to 1690 AD. History tell us that the Dutch had a fort by the name "Geldria" at Pulicat, from where they traded with the British East India Company.

Behind the market place, there are streets with dilapidated masonry houses once occupied by ethnic Arabian Muslims. A few families are still left over and they possess a document with them in Arabic which says that during the 13th Century, they were banished from Mecca, in four boats, for refusing to pay tributes to a new "calif".

One of those four boats drifted towards Pulicat. In 1606 A.D. when a Dutch ship ran aground on the Pulicat shores these Muslims offered food and help to the Dutch and struck a trade partnership with them, to procure and supply local merchandise for the Dutch to trade with the East Indies.

Although much of the lake is protected as a wildlife sanctuary, proposals for a petrochemical complex, power plant, and a satellite port on Ennore creek have raised concern about the continued ecological health of the lake.

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