Pulicat is a historic seashore town in Thiruvallur District, of Tamil Nadu. It is about 60 km north of Chennai and 3 km from Elavur, on the barrier island of Sriharikota, which separates Pulicat Lake from the Bay of Bengal. Pulicat lake is a shallow salt water lagoon which stretches about 60 kilometers (37 mi) km along the coast. With lakeside and seashore development as well as several SEZs including a US 1 billion dollar Medical SEZ, coming up in nearby Elavur, the land prices in the area are in the upswing.
The Portuguese established a trading post in Pulicat in 1502 with the help of the Vijayanagar rulers. They built a fort there and held this fort until 1609 when they were defeated by the Dutch. The Dutch occupied Pulicat fort in 1609. Between 1621 and 1665, 131 slave ships were deployed by the Dutch to export 38,441 Indians captured on the Coromandel coast and transported from Pulicat to be sold as slaves to Dutch plantations in Batavia. Pulicat was till 1690 the capital of Dutch Coromandel. It repeatedly changed possession, until finally occupied by the British in 1825. It became part of the Madras Presidency, which later became Madras state in independent India and renamed Tamil Nadu in 1968. The Dutch church has been built over several times and is rather dilapidated today, and the Dutch fort has fallen into ruin.
The old lighthouse still stands at the opposite bank of the lake. The cemetery dating to 1622 has been taken under the wing of the Archeological Survey of India and so has survived the passage of time. The grand, Dutch inscribed tombs and graves, carved with skeletons rather than the cross, have been quite well preserved. The cemetery lies behind the market and visitors often don't know that it is there. Many thousands of visitors per year come to the area which is renowned for its history and natural beauty. Modern Pulicat is a model for religious unity. Every year April Month, people of pulicat irrespective of religion celebrate "Kottaikuppam Madha Thiruvizha" Kottaikuppam - Kottai means Fort & Kuppam means group of people live. Madha Thiruvizha means Festival for Lord Mary.
Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish – water lake or lagoon in India. It straddles the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu states on the Coromandal Coast in South India. The lake encompasses the Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary. The barrier island of Sriharikota separates the lake from the Bay of Bengal. The island is home to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
In the 1st century, the anonymous mariner who wrote Periplus of the Erythraean Sea listed Podouke (Pulicat) as one of the three ports on the east coast of India. In the 2nd century, Ptolomey's list of ports on this coast included Podouke emporion.
In the 13th century, Arabs migrated to the shores of this lake in four boats after they were banished from Mecca for refusing to pay tributes to a new calif. Streets with dilapidated masonry houses, once occupied by these Arabian Muslims, are still found in the area. Some remaining resident families claim records in Arabic testifying their migration to this area.
The next recorded history of foreign colonizers is that of the Portuguese. In 1515, they built a church dedicated to Nossa Senhora Dus Prazeres (Our Lady of Joys), which is now in dilapidated condition. The Portuguese were followed by the Dutch.
Dutch people drifted to this lagoon as their ships got stuck on the shores of the Karimanal Village, on the opposite side of the mouth of the lake, from where the coast line got the name 'Coramandal'. During the Dutch rule Pulicat was known by the name Pallaicatta Pulicat today bears testimony to this fact (period 1606 to 1690) with the Dutch Fort in ruins, dating back to 1609, a Dutch Church, Dutch Cemetery with 22 protected tombs (1631 to 1655) and a Dutch Cemetery with 76 tombs and mausoleums protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The Dutch built Fort Geldria at Pulicat, from where they transacted business with the British East India Company and other countries in the region.
A scientific study of the palynological characteristics of the lagoon was conducted by taking sedimentary soil samples from four test pits.
Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary
Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary is a famous 481 sq km Protected area in Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu state near Elavur and Nellore and Chittoor districts of Andhra Pradesh in South India. Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish-water eco-system in India after Chilka lake in Orissa.