Pichavaram mangrove forest, about 250 KM from Chennai, is located near Chidambaram town in the Cuddalore District of tamilnadu, a state of India. Pichavaram, an ideal picnic spot for a holiday or a weekend, is a place not many people know. I live in Chidambaram and I have visited the place several times. I also visit the place alongwith friends/and or relatives whenever they come Chidambaram to my home- and still every time I feel excited to visit.
It is sleepy village (14 KM from Chidambaram), a home to the second largest mangrove forest in the world and a magnificent bird shelter to local and migratory birds of many kinds. Even getting to Pichavaram either from Puducherry via East Coast Road and thereafter from Chidambaram is beautiful. It is 15-20 minutes drive from Chidambaram, the nearest important town, through narrow albeit nice road with beautiful green paddy land stretching away on either side.
One has to cross the village of Killai, the final human habitation before the Pichavaram Mangroves. A villager manning so-called “Toll gate” just before Pichavaram collects toll from a car with a proper receipt and the revenue is used to keep the environs clean.
A short walk from the car to the jetty (managed by Government) brings us an incredible view of backwaters (interconnected by the Vellar and Coleroon river systems). There are two types of boats: Power boat is Rs 1000/- for 40 minutes (capacity-10 people) and rowing boat is Rs 150/- for one hour. Additionally, there are different options of boat ride to suit our budget. The ideal time to visit this place would be morning between 9 am to 12 noon.
A gigantic area of water stretches up to beach of coromandel coast under the cloudless blue sky and the surface rippled with tiny waves. Rising out of the water are several islands inhabited thick and glistening trees. Pichavaram consists of approximately 3000 acres of wet lands that lie between the land and the sea. A network of in-numerous gently flowing canals loop around nearly 1200 islands of dense mangroves.
Boating in Mangrove forest: Pichavaram offers boat rides in backwaters between and under the mangroves. The boat journey first starts from a larger water surface like a lake and then goes into the narrow lanes inside the mangrove forest. The green forest around us is beautiful. When we get close to island areas, the most strangely beautiful mangrove views appear- the trees are permanently rooted in a few feet of water. Thickly leaved trees grow tall and strong with their dense roots firmly wedged in water. The boat ride is a really scenic and exhilarating experience.
Two varieties of mangrove trees, Rhizophora and Avicennia are predominant here. These two types of plants together have made the place unique and exquisite with their roots.
Pictures are worth a thousand words. I present a few awesome images of boat ride in backwater of Pichavaram forest.
A mangrove forest is a delicate system in our fragile ecosystem. Mangrove shelters fish, birds and a varieties of other marine life. Mangroves form a buffer that defends coastlines from erosion, deluge and tsunami. During tsunami 2004, Pichavaram was acted as an efficient obstacle of gushing water in saving many villagers. It is a must visit destination for researchers including nature lovers!!!