Pazhaverkadu aka Pulicat Lake Part I (Thiruvallur - Tamil Nadu)

Pulicat lake or Pazhaverkadu as it is called in Tamizh, was one place where I wanted to go so badly. And finally, on one Saturday, I declared, “Tomo, I’m going there”. My mom said that she would love to come as well. Why not, the more the merrier. Next day, early morning, we took off at about 7:30. From Chennai, Pulicat cannot be reached in a single stroke. A couple of breaks are necessary, if public mode of transport is opted for.
It was 11 by the time, we reached Pulicat. An important tip here, the local people do not relate to Pulicat, do if you’re asking the locals for direction, refer to the place as Pazhaverkadu, not Pulicat. As soon as we reached the first thing I spotted was the Dutch Cemetry.
Just as the name suggests, the Dutch Cemetry was created by the Dutch indeed. During the colonial period, though a major part of India was under British Raj, there were some places which were under French, Portuguese, Dutch etc. And this part of India, in and around Pulicat were under the Dutch Rule. So out of the several things, left behind by them, the Cemetry holds a great importance.

Presently this place is under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The gate was closed and locked. So we enquired the nearby shop about the whereabouts of the key and surprisingly it was with him. The door was opened for us esp, and we went in.
The gateway was an arch and on either sides was a pillar with a skeletal shaped relief. Inside there were a few large domes and several engraved plates and head stones. 

Any Dutch here to translate these? Or any present Dutch people, who are planning to visit here, whose grandparents or great grandparents rest in peace here?
Soon, we came out of there and headed to the lake right ahead of us. A boatsman came to us, with a proposal to go the islands in the locality and a beach on the other side of the island. Ofcourse, we had to bargain. The prices are anywhere from 450 bucks to anything upwards. The price varies with the number of people, and the age-group. For a gang of friends its higher than family, even if the number of people might be the same, coz they might booze and go out of control. The cost given, is not just for the boat, but also the risk taken by the boatsman. For higher number of people, he’s accompanied by an assistant. In case of any mishappening, it is he who rushes first to help out the people and save them.
Soon we headed off to the sea in our boat. We were given an option of having or not having a life jacket. Another tip here, go for it. Yes, the boatsmen here, do not give the option immediately. It’s given only when asked for. It was Rs.30 per piece. But it’s definitely worth it, than to risk your life.
From there, we boarded the boat and took off to our first stop. Or rather, we diverted a bit to check out Annamalaicheri. This place can be reached on road, from a few stops ahead of Pazhaverkadu, but much after Ponneri. Better still, it can be reached on boat. So why to reach there? For a visual delight, might be an apt answer. This is the very place where heck a number of birds come over on migration. We didn’t plan to visit Annamalaicheri, as this would be a very wrong season to venture there. We thought of coming here, just to visit the birds, once again in season (November-February).


However, our dear Ilayaraja, the boatsman, was nice enough to show us a teaser of the place. We just checked out the starting point of Annamalaicheri. Just there at the starting point itself, in an absolute off season, I was lucky enough to spot a couple of flamingos, a few painted storks some pelicans, several cormorants and darters. Awesome! I was lucky, I must say...
Any guess what this construction is? Any wild guesses? This is the toll gate where the Dutch collected taxes for the incoming ships.
Then we diverted to check out our first stoppage. The island beach. This was on the other side of the island, and the sweet Mr.Ilayaraja offered to accompany us there.
I’ll stop here for a break. Part 2 is coming soon...

TO GET THERE:
From Chennai – Koyembedu to Redhills (18.5km) to Ponneri (20km) to Pulicat (18.5km).
From Bangalore – Bangalore to Kolar (67km) to Chittoor (112km) to Puttur (67km) to Ponneri (85km) to Pulicat (18.5km)

TO STAY:
The Government’s Forest Guest House is available at Pulicat. But it has to be reserved in advance from the Wildlife Warden in Chennai or Bangalore.
Several small to medium end hotels are available at Ponneri & Red Hills.
Contact of Wildlife Warden, Chennai: +91 44 2432 1471

Contact of Boatsman /Fisherman Mr.Ilayaraja: +91 98425 86363 / +91 89397 24227
Contact of Keyholder of Dutch Cemetry Mr.Hussain: +91 97868 67210
Season for Bird Watch: October to February

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

21 comments:

  1. hi bushavali

    nice place to visit...

    thanks for sharing...

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  2. Awesome place , would love visit some day .

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  3. Have heard a lot about this place. Would definitely head there the next time am in Chennai.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.com/2011/07/sunset-over-indian-ocean.html

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  4. Bhusha you are a traveler, i am just a nomad. :)
    Wonderful post, just loved reading it.

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  5. I was in Tamilnadu last month and i must say that the place is so awesome and beautiful. And the pics are so beautiful loved them so much.

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  6. Wonderful images of Cemetery and the lake.

    Check out Arjunas Penance - Mahabalipuram

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  7. I have seen some old British graves in my home town- Bellary. Well built, I wanted to speand time time photoraph and put up in case some one is searching for them. I hear somebody doing it already.

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  8. @Krishna,
    Thanks dear.. :)

    @Team G & Raj,
    Do visit and am expecting your version of the writeup on this place.. :)

    @Naveen,
    And I expect a great blog filled with several trips of the nomad. :)

    @Pooja,
    Glad you liked my state.. :)
    Thanks for the appreciation love.. :)

    @Rajesh,
    Thanks dear.. :)

    @Sudhir,
    I'd love to visit Bellary to see this place I'm just hearing about thru you. Do put up the pics in your blog and I'll be delighted to see them... :)

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  9. hi bushavali,

    thanks for the info!!!!!

    providing boatman's ph no was very useful!!!!!

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  10. thanks for the info!!!!

    Providing boatman's ph no was very useful!!!!

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  11. @Bharath,
    U r welcome. Hope you enjoyed Pazhaverkadu. Do share your experiences!

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  12. Replies
    1. Glad to know that! Welcome to my blog!

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  13. worth reading and informative travelogue intending to go this weekend, will contact the boat man.

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  14. Hi bhusavali...its good here that you were in Pulicat which is my mom native place and there is more histoy behind of the shipslist and the kings who ruled pulicat ...there was a fort called Geldria opp to the cemetry which was later demolished by british...if u want to know more about pulicat...pls browse the site Aarde foundation

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    Replies
    1. Oh. I didn't know about the fort! Thanks for letting me know! :)

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  15. Guys any one having the boat man contact number? We are planned to go for this weekend.

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  16. Hi, you have missed to mention there is also a Lighthouse situated there but people are not allowed to get in also with a wonderful sea shore..
    One more main thing is it is very much famous for sea food industry most of the sea foods in chennai are from Pahavarkadu,,, But u should be good in bargaining to get a better price.

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  17. One more info, there is no much medical facility there, one more wonderful info is there is some people who can cook wonderful seafood lunch for money, try that too..

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