Cirrus cloud measurements over the tropics are receiving much attention recently due to their role in the Earth's radiation budget. The interaction of water vapor and aerosols plays a major role in phase formation of cirrus clouds. Many factors control the ice supersaturation and microphysical properties in cirrus clouds and, as such, investigations on these properties of cirrus clouds are critical for proper understanding and simulating the climate. In this paper we report on the evolution, microphysical, and optical properties of cirrus clouds using the Mie LIDAR operation at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, Gadanki, India (13.5°N, 79.2°E), an inland tropical station. The occurrence statistics, height, optical depth, depolarization ratio of the cirrus clouds, and their relationship with ice nuclei concentration were investigated over 29 days of observation during the year 2002. Cirrus clouds with a base altitude as low as 8.4 km are observed during the month of January and clouds with a maximum top height of 17.1 km are observed during the month of May. The cirrus has a mean thickness of 2 km during the period of study. The LIDAR ratio varies from 30 to 36 sr during the summer days of observation and 25 to 31 sr during the winter days of observation. Depolarization values range from 0.1 to 0.58 during the period of observation. The ice nuclei concentration has been calculated using the De Motts equation. It is observed that during the monsoon months of June, July, and August, there appears to be an increase in the ice nuclei number concentration. From the depolarization data an attempt is made to derive the ice crystal orientation and their structure of the cirrus. Crystal structures such as thin plates, thick plates, regular hexagons, and hexagonal columns are observed in the study. From the observed crystal structure and ice nuclei concentration, the possible nucleation mechanism is suggested.