Pulicat Lake, a good 100 km from Chennai towards the North bordering Andhrapradesh on the NH5, is a bird sanctuary worth seeing not just for the migratory birds but also for the landscape. A brackish sea water lagoon, off the Bay the Bengal, surrounds the Sriharikota Island to the west. Many migratory birds nestle here during the winter months. The Greater Flamingos and the Pelicans are the popular ones and not to mention the scores of ducks paddling across the lake. It is good to carry a pair of binoculars, as the birds are nestled on the mud patches further away from the commuter roads. The ducks however, reach close to the roads and it is a pretty sight.
The landscape during the summer months is quite surreal. Miles and miles of dried up lake bed and sand is what you see with no trees amidst gales of sea wind. The vast emptiness is quite unreal for anybody who is coming from the city for the first time. There is a single storey watch tower, which gives a good glimpse afar. Nevertheless, it makes a good day trip from Chennai and if you are bringing children, it will be all the more fun. The closest town is Sullurepeta, where you can have your afternoon lunch, if you are not packing.
It is good to plan your day for a visit around the time when there is a rocket launch happening at Sriharikota. The rocket lift off can be seen as well from the many vantage points, off roads near the lake. It is said that the next rocket launch will be in the month of June, 2015.