It was a hot sunday. The stars seemed to be with me, for the disinterested became suddenly interested and 4 of us set out in search of pulicat ( not that it was much of a search). It was a 2 hour drive, the last 19 kms very bumpy. The road directly leads you to a small market patch and there the lake lies ahead of you.
The sight before me was a let down. A dirty water front, a group of fishermen hounding you with boat rates, a lake with a depth that buffalos pull carts across and an island on the other side filled with buildings, all of which did not quite sum up to the 'idyllic beautiful hamlet and lake ' scene conjured up by The Hindu. The first thing that came to my mind was 'Whats the big deal??'... While the remaining day was much better, first impressions did color the entire experience....
We eventually did fix up a boat for 450 bucks to take us to the estuary or the mugadwaram... Once you move into the deeper waters, you can start enjoying the lake.... The water a beautiful mix of blue and green... wind blowing through you hair.... 30 mins and we reached the estuary... and o my o..The sea is beautiful... a deep beautiful blue ... The patch of land by the estuary is quite small, but clean nevertheless... and certainly the most ideal place for a peaceful , away from the maddening crowd picnic... This stretch is the highlight of pulicat. One should ideally go early in the morning, hit this spot, take a dip in the sea enjoy a nice breakfast and hit mainland before the suns blazing guns. The other nice thing to do would be to get a huge beach umbrella and hire a boat for a day and float about in a quiet corner of the lake.
We saw quite a few sail boats - but they are for boating on the sea and these fisherman dont really take us with them. The casurina groves or saukuthoppu and dutch cemetry are quite a waste of time. And too many fishermen who dont necessarily add to the joy pf the day. Plus, the afternoons are scorching ( which is what we found out first hand).. and the boatmen dont take you after 5... so mornings are the best times! Beware slighting one boatmen for another, u might end up with a punctured tire like us. And remeber to ask for Pazhaverkaadu as very few in this area know it as Pulicat
The unexpected suprise of the trip was the temple we chanced upon.. Its fascinating...Here in the south, in a human forsaken land there might not be water, but you'll certainly find god in a temple .. and if the pipes work, water in there!! This temple was about 1000 years old and built in the honor of lord shiva. The temple grounds were huge and the temple quite simple. Except for the iyers and a lady there was no soul around. Lord shiva in this temple resides as an 'aathma lingam'. The lingam was initially hidden in a tree, which was discovered by a king. Hence, the entrance to the temple too is set in a hidden way. This is one of the places were Maanikavasagar sang his songs. The walls are covered with inscriptions in Granth.
The quite breeze, oil lamps in the dark, the smell of karpuram and the slow vedic chanting was soothing to the mind and soul , and we left pulicat quite satisfied.