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Old 30th December 2013, 17:37   #1
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Default A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

This is my first thread on team bhp. i hope it is interesting for everyone.

I live in pondicherry and have been to quite a few places around here. However I had never been to pulicat lake.
There are a lot of negative reviews online including some on team-bhp about pulicat lake. Most complaints are "we didnt see any birds", "unsafe", "no water'. "no food" etc.

I had a pretty awesome experience. so ill detail it out here.

pondy-tindivanam-chennai bypass-minjur-pulicat
My wife couldnt come for this as she is a doctor and unlike me has a lot of work to do. So, I got one of my jobless bangalore friends to come with me while he was visiting pondy. We set off at 4:30 am in my 2 year old electric red i10 sportz via the tindivanam-chengelpet route towards chennai.

We reached Perangalathur by about 6:30 am. there was some traffic at Melmaruvathur but otherwise traffic was less. We took the by-pass towards the north and at the intersection of the by-pass with the chennai-guntur highway, we took a right, towards Minjur.

The roads on this section were not that great and there were a lot of shipping-crate carrying trucks blocking the road. We passed Minjur at around 7:30 and reached Pulicat village at 8 AM.

Boating in Pulicat
At Pulicat, we took a left towards a place marked as "Jameelabad" on google maps, because we saw a board saying "Boat Station". This is basically the land that is to the north-west of the pulicat bridge
Here we found a friendly fisherman who was willing to take us around for Rs.1000 which seemed ok to me. So I parked my car and we were off on the boat.

there were buffalos walking around in the lake. so the lake was about a buffalo deep.
We saw a few pelicans, painted storks and a fox! but that was it.

After about an hour and seeing just a handful of birds, our boatman was disappointed that he wasnt able to show us much and so were we. So, to compensate, he took us to a small beach-island that is outside the southern tip of the sriharikota island. This too was nothing great as the approach is dirty thanks to irresponsible tourists. the beach has very coarse sand. We also saw a jellyfish here.

Pulicat - Sriharikota
Anyway, we headed back and decided that we will try and go to sriharikota. the "pulicat bird sanctuary" was marked on the SHAR road.
We left at around 11 AM.

We used google navigation to help us get out towards Sriharikota. Initially it took us through some really small village roads but finally the road was pretty good, winding through some farms before reaching the chennai-guntur highway

Flamingos
By around 1230 PM we were on the almost straight SHAR road. and suddenly we spotted flamingos on both sides.
There were 100s of them! It was a sight to behold. They were all busy eating from the water.
We didnt have a great lens on our camera but took a few pictures nevertheless.
After an hour or so, we decided to leave. But right at that time, the entire flock started flying away and then some of them came back, formed a small group and performed the beautiful flamningo mating dance. this went on for about 15 minutes. They moved right, then left and then turned away and danced away into the distance!

This was everything we came for! We were overjoyed. We then headed for sriharikota and saw a few more painted storks and pelicans. At the space center, they didnt let us proceed, so we headed back.
We had lunch at a hotel in Sullurpetta at about 2:30PM

At around 3PM, we left and headed straight back to Pondy. We took the NH-5 till chennai and then down via the bypass and the tindivanam road. We had to stop a few times to have "Degree Coffee" as the lack of sleep was getting to us. Finally reached pondy at around 7PM.

A great drive and a great experience. We saw so much wildlife and it was beautiful.
If you are in chennai/pondy and have a day to spare, do check out pulicat this flamingo season!
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Old 31st December 2013, 16:19   #2
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Default re: A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

Lina,
You are quite lucky to spot so many birds.
Nice one for a first travelogue, Thanks for sharing.
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Old 31st December 2013, 17:32   #3
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Default re: A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

What better way to have a first post on TBHP!
Can you also please mention the location on maps, the arrow straight road you have mentioned and also in pics I guess is the SHAR - Sullurpeta road . Also till which point on the road were you allowed.

Also, can you please let know which lens were you using. Just to get an idea of how close the birds were.
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Old 31st December 2013, 17:40   #4
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Default re: A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

hey, where was that shot of your car on the road with water on both sides taken?
also, next time, you might want to check out the dutch cemetery there!
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Old 2nd January 2014, 11:30   #5
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Default Re: A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrive View Post
Lina,
You are quite lucky to spot so many birds.
Nice one for a first travelogue, Thanks for sharing.
yes, definitely lucky. especially with the flamingo dancing bit. there are just a bunch of videos on youtube and almost none taken from pulicat
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Old 2nd January 2014, 11:39   #6
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Default Re: A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
What better way to have a first post on TBHP!
Can you also please mention the location on maps, the arrow straight road you have mentioned and also in pics I guess is the SHAR - Sullurpeta road . Also till which point on the road were you allowed.

Also, can you please let know which lens were you using. Just to get an idea of how close the birds were.
thanks!
yes that is the road and that is almost the exact spot where those pictures were taken
We were allowed to just enter the sriharikota island. there is a big circle there. had to take a round around it and get out because they dont allow cameras and mobiles beyond that circle.
They said that wednesdays visitors are allowed but again with special permission. I am not sure of the type of permission but I am guessing it is mainly educational. You can call them up via numbers on the isro website

Lens used was canon 18-200. and all the flamingo photos were taken at full focal length.
If I am allowed to post flickr links here, I could probably do that after i upload them, so that you can get all details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
hey, where was that shot of your car on the road with water on both sides taken?
also, next time, you might want to check out the dutch cemetery there!
road was Sullurpet - SHAR road, see link above.
yes, I should have. we didnt want to waste time in order to catch the birds. I read today that even the pulicat lighthouse has been opened.
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Old 2nd January 2014, 11:42   #7
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Default Re: A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

Another point for anyone following this thread.

The fishermen told me that from any point on the lake, you can watch launches from Sriharikota very well.
There is the GSLV launch happening on January 5th 2014 at 4:18pm.
So, you could probably go there in the morning, watch some birds and then catch the launch before heading back.
It would be a great trip.
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Old 7th January 2014, 21:54   #8
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Default Re: A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by lina View Post
We were allowed to just enter the sriharikota island. there is a big circle there. had to take a round around it and get out because they dont allow cameras and mobiles beyond that circle.
.
Thanks for the update. I keep visiting Chennai once every two months, hope to visit the place soon. Another reason I asked about the location was to see if it will be possible to view any launches by ISRO from that road.

I had seen the same query in another thread (guess places around Chennai thread), but there was no reply to the same.
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Old 7th January 2014, 22:00   #9
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Default Re: A Trip to Pulicat Lake (Tamil Nadu), December 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Thanks for the update. I keep visiting Chennai once every two months, hope to visit the place soon. Another reason I asked about the location was to see if it will be possible to view any launches by ISRO from that road.

I had seen the same query in another thread (guess places around Chennai thread), but there was no reply to the same.

Yes, you can see launches from this road. you can also see the launches from pulicat village according to the fishermen there.

the aerial distance from that point to the launchpad is probably just 5km.
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