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Being one of the most beautiful places on this earth Tamil Nadu amazes all of us every time we visit this enticing place. From lush green valleys of Valparai to the beautiful eastern Gold coast the state has everything. While the tea estates, beaches, valleys, and hills have always been the main attraction but mangrove Forest of Tamil Nadu too is the new tourist place which is booming very fast.
The Pichavaram Mangrove forest which is located in the Cuddalore district is famous for its Mangroove forest and backwaters. The Pichavaram mangrove forest is not only beautiful but also holds a record of being the second largest Mangrove forest in the world.
Spread across 1100 hectares plus the area the Mangrove forest here is a visual treat. There are around 40 different islands that combine and make this beautiful forest. The flora and fauna too of this forest are really unmatched. Local birds like Snipes, egrets, and pelicans make this forest extremely diverse. Here are around 117 different species of birds that are present here in the forest.
The backwaters here in Pichavaram is one of the most enchanting ones. The narrow canals which take you to the breathtaking sceneries lands you on another planet. You will witness some of the most amazing and beautiful life forms which are here in the area.
Things to do in Pichavaram Mangrove Forest
Boating in Pichavaram
The backwaters of Pichavaram offers you this beautiful opportunity of boating and paddling. The narrow canals all around takes you one of the different islands which are here. There are various boats like cruises, speed boats, pedal boats, etc there. You can get normal 4 seater boats for like 300 rupees an hour and if you want like 6 seater big boats then it will cost you around 1500 rupees for 4 hours.
You will be with a local guide which will be with you and show you the places around. I will suggest you take the smaller paddle boats as they easily go through narrow canals and you will have your own private journey with your loved ones.
Explore the flora and Fauna
The Pichavaram mangrove forest is one of the densest and varied forests in India. The flora and fauna of this place are unmatched as you will see such varied species here. There are around 177 species of birds which are varied in 15 orders and 41 families. Keep in mind that these facts are only of recorded ones many are there which are not recorded.
Migratory birds from all numerous destinations come here especially in the months of November to January. Birds and animal like the habitat of this beautiful place. There are various types of habitat which range from creeks, channels, mudflats, gullies to even sand falts. This habitat thus is very suitable and favorable for different types of birds and animals.
My Experience of Pichavaram Mangrove Forest
We did not go to the mangrove forest very early as we knew that it is going to be very hot in the day. The late evening is the perfect time to feel the breeze and see what this place has to offer. I would say our decision to go in the evening was very fruitful.
The ride was pleasant and beautiful. The forest is open from 9 am to 6 pm. While it seems that it is enough time but believe me you will say it is not close. You always want to explore here more and more. TTDC here conducts guided adventures. Bird watching is one of them. It is a nice activity to do around.
In the vicinity of the mangrove forest, there is a Natarajar temple. The temple is highly revered and a sacred temple. It is an ancient temple which is very famous for its architecture. The nearest town is Chidambaram. And you must explore the beautiful ancient temple of Lord Shiva. The Chidambaram temple is an example of a beautiful ancient Indian architecture style. The temple is one of the most beautiful temples you will see.
Where to stay?
While Pichavaram is one of the most beautiful places in Tamil Nadu but it only has one lodge. The forest department guest lodge is the only option to stay. While the lodge is only a basic one. You will get all the basic amenities there nothing fancy. Breakfast, dinner, and a bed to sleep. While it is a bit costly when you compare price to facilities being provided. But all this fades away when you see the magical morning from the lodge.
The nearest big town from Pichavaram is Chidamabaram. Chidambaram is where you will get all the options. From luxury to basic there are many hotels to choose from. Find a full list of accommodations on the Tamil Nadu Government website.
Best Time To Visit Pichavaram Mangrove Forests
The best time to visit the mangrove forest is during the winter season from months of November to February due to cool weather and low humidity levels. In winter months only the place is host to countless migratory birds during that time, providing a blissful experience which is second to none.
While if you go in summers it will be extremely hot. Pichavaram receives a good amount of heat in summers and during this time if you visit the area you will feel tired rather than happy. Birdwatching, exploring, boating nothing seems perfect under the hot sun.
Pichavaram receives a good amount of rainfall too. While in monsoon you can expect a decrease in heat but rain will ruin your adventure experience. The magical sight of birds too is not visible.
How To Reach Pichavaram
Reaching By Air
The nearest airport from Pichavaram is the Pondicherry Airport. This airport is around 75 km away from this forest. The airport is well connected to cities around the area. While if you are looking for an International airport then the Chennai airport is the best option.
From both of these airports, you can get a direct cab to reach Pichavaram. Also, you can get a bus to Chidambaram from where you can further continue your journey.
Reaching By Rail
Chidambaram being the nearest big town is the main town that connects Pichavaram. The nearest railway station from Pichavaram is also located in Chidambaram only. The railway station in Chidambaram is located at a distance of about 20 km. You can easily get trains to reach Chidambaram. Then you can take a taxi till Pichavaram and than you will need a boat from the last road near Pichavaram to reach its mangrove forest.
Reaching By Road
Pichavaram is well connected to nearby cities and towns via road also. The nearest town being Chidambaram you get buses and taxis from major cities to reach here. Pondicherry is also not too far hence you can get the bus and taxi from there also. But keep in mind that there are certain areas of its mangrove forest and other islands which can only be accessed by boats and ferries.
Some Important tips
- Operation time of the forest is from 9 am to 6 pm
- Try to convince the local boatmen as they know some of the best routes and a few extra rupees can take you to fascinating unexplored tunnels.
- Try eating local Tamil cuisine which is extremely tasty. You can find sambar, Dosa, Idli very easily here
- The local TTDC restaurant also offers North Indian foods like Chicken curry, Paneer, and other Chinese dishes.
- Opt for paddle boats as they easily go around the narrow channels.
So when are you going on this beautiful journey to the beautiful Pichavaram Mangrove forest? I am sure you will be mesmerized to see such a beautiful offering of Tamil Nadu. Do let me know when you take this adventure. Comment down below about your adventure, trekking experience, and stay there.
While if you love adventure and travel around Tamil Nadu then do check my other blogs on Tamil Nadu tourism. From road trips, beaches, to exotic destinations like Danish colonies everything is covered.
Also If you love unexplored places than do check my series of Unexplored places in India. I cover some of the most beautiful yet unexplored places here. From Forts, waterfalls, ancient routes, trekking destinations, hill stations there are a lot of places.