Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

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Pichavaram is located near Chidambaram in Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu, in South India. Pichavaram Mangrove Forest near Chidambaram is the world’s second-largest mangrove forest and there are two more mangrove forests in India one called Sundarbans National Park situated in West Bengal and the other as Bhitarkanika located in Odisha. Mangroves are salt-tolerant plants of tropical and subtropical intertidal regions of the world and these specific regions where the plants occur are termed ‘mangrove ecosystems‘. These are highly productive but extremely sensitive and fragile.

"Pichavaram Mangrove Forest is a famous year-round destination amongst tourists and travelers (all adventure seekers & nature Lovers) for its mangrove forest and its incredible biodiversity. The biotope consists of species like Avicennia and Rhizophora and it also supports the existence of rare varieties of economically important shell and finfishes. The mangroves also attract migrant and native birds including snipes, egrets, cormorants, storks, herons, spoonbills, and pelicans. About 177 species of birds belonging to 15 orders and 41 families have been recorded in this area and there are also around 20 different varieties of trees in the mangrove forest as well."

Pichavaram (Feature Img)The mangrove forest at Pichavaram is spread over 1,100 hectares and joins the Bay of Bengal, where it’s separated by lengthy sandbanks. Apparently, the forest has quite 50 islands of varied sizes and 4,400 big and small canals. Astonishingly the small canals are sun-flecked tunnels of roots and branches, some hanging so low that there’s hardly any room to pass through. Except for the swish of paddles, the sound of birds, and the roar of the sea in the distance, all is silent and still.

History of Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

Pichavarm mangrove forest was originally referred to as Thillai Vana and features a significant role in the area’s heritage. It is said that Lord Shiva entered the forest in the form of a handsome but simple merchant, where a group of rishis (sages) lived and practiced magic. He was accompanied by Lord Vishnu in his alluring female avatar, Mohini, and these rishis were enraged when their women became enchanted with Lord Shiva. They invoked snakes, tigers, and demons to destroy him and obviously, it didn’t work. In the end, Lord Shiva disclosed who he really was and performed the Ananda Tandava (the blissful cosmic dance) in his form of Nataraja. This made the rishis realize that God could not be controlled by magic rituals that are contrary to their belief.

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How To See It

The mangrove forest can be explored by a rowboat or motorboat. Motorboats are ideal for sizable groups, and you’ll be able to go all the way to the beach through the mangroves for a couple of hours. However, these boats are too big to fit inside the narrow canals. If you’re interested in venturing deep inside the jungle, you’ll need to take a rowboat. It’s worth it.
Boats operate from around 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It gets very hot in the middle of the day though, so it’s recommended that you go early in the morning or late afternoon. Boating is not strictly regulated. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and Tamil Nadu Forest Department conduct official boating activities but local non-government boatmen are also available. Various packages are offered with costs based on boat type, the number of people, distance, and attractions covered. For an individual per hour, you have to pay ₹1,700 for a motorboat, and ₹350 for a rowboat to explore the mangrove jungle.

Places To Visit Nearby Pichavaram

Chidambaram is renowned for its Shiva temple, it is an ancient 10th century Nataraja Temple one of the few temples in India where God Shiva is worshipped in his dancing incarnation form called Nataraja and the temple is distinguished by its Vedic rituals, set by the sage Patanjali. This is unlike other Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu, whose agamic rituals are based on Sanskrit scriptures.

Best Time To Visit Pichavaram

November to February is the best time, particularly for bird watching. For a peaceful experience, avoid weekends and public holidays because it does get busy then. Also avoid visiting during the scorching summer months April to June, as the high humidity is extremely uncomfortable.

Where To Stay


Most of the hotels, cottages, guest houses, and homestays offer budget accommodation.


How To Reach


Pichavaram is just a 74.8 Km drive from Pondicherry (or) Puducherry through NH37 and about 16 km from Chidambaram.


The nearest railway station is Chidambaram which is almost 16 kms away. From Chidambaram, one needs to cover the distance by road either by hiring cabs or private vehicles to reach Pichavaram.


The nearest airport to Pichavaram is Pondicherry (PNY) Airport which is 80 km away. Other nearby airports include Tiruchirapalli (TRZ) (138.8 km) and Madras (MAA) (177.2 km).

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